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Therefore it is clear that it was not an ordinary contempt of Court charge, but a charge based on the uncivilized and high handed behavior challenging the authority of Court.
Under Article 34 of our constitution the President is vested with the power to pardon any offender convicted of any offence in any court. Such an important discretionary power is vested in an authority with the trust that the authority will use this power only for the purpose for which this power is vested in the authority and it will not be used for collateral purposes.
The release of the convict after serving just a few months out of the sentence of six years imprisonment that was imposed on the convict and which was endorsed by the Supreme Court is in fact an insult to the Judiciary and an action in contempt of the Judiciary. The action of the President is perhaps the most serious act if contempt of Court committed in the history of our judicial system.
The power to grant the pardon to an offender is conferred on the Head of State under many constitutions in the world but taking into consideration the political culture of our society demonstrated in recent times, where conventions and traditions are not respected, it is appropriate to consider whether such a power should continue to be vested on the President in our constitution.
‘Lawyers for Democracy’
Lal Wijenayake, J C Weliamuna PC, K S Ratnavele, Lakshan Dias, Sudath Neththesinghe, Prabodha Ratnayake, Harishka Samaranayake