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Sunday, June 23, 2024

SC Directs FR Petition Against Pastor Jerome Fernando to CJ-led Bench

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The Supreme Court has directed a Fundamental Rights (FR) petition filed against Pastor Jerome Fernando to be considered by a judge bench presided over by the Chief Justice.

This directive came during the hearing of the petition before a three-member Supreme Court bench, including Justices Murdhu Fernando, Kumudini Wickremasinghe, and Janak De Silva today.

The petition, filed by several religious leaders, seeks prosecution of Pastor Jerome Fernando under the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) for derogatory statements about Lord Buddha and other religious figures.

President’s Counsel Sanjeewa Jayawardena, representing the petitioners, informed the court that three religious leaders involved in the petition expressed readiness to withdraw it.

Senior Deputy Solicitor General Dileepa Peiris, appearing for the Attorney General, informed the court that all investigation reports conducted under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act regarding Pastor Jerome have been submitted in compliance with previous court orders.

After reviewing the details, the bench decided that since the petition had previously been considered by the Chief Justice, it is appropriate to refer the case to a bench chaired by the Chief Justice.

Consequently, the Supreme Court directed the petition to be revisited by a bench led by the Chief Justice on July 22.

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