The contempt of court case filed against Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) President Dr.Anuruddha for allegedly undermining the Court of Appeal judgment delivered in respect of the SAITM issue was yesterday fixed for inquiry by Court of Appeal.
Accordingly, President of the Court of Appeal Justice Arjuna Obeysekera and Justice Mayadunna Corea fixed the matter for inquiry on March 3.
At the outset the court was informed through defence counsel Ravindranath Dabare that his client is currently undergoing self- quarantine.
On an earlier occasion, the Court of Appeal decided to overrule the preliminary objections raised by Dr. Padeniya, and said that the Court observed that there are sufficient materials to issue a rule against Dr.Anuruddha Padeniya in respect of a charge sheet filed against him over certain contemptuous statements made by him.
A charge sheet was also served on GMOA President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya by Court of Appeal for allegedly undermining the Court of Appeal judgment dated January 31, 2017 which was delivered compelling the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) to register the MBBS graduates of the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine Limited (SAITM) provisionally, as medical practitioners in terms of the Medical Ordinance.
Responding, Dr. Padeniya through his lawyer had informed the Court of Appeal that his client was not pleading guilty to the charge sheet read out by the Court stenographer.
The Court of Appeal had also issued an Interim Order (IO) preventing GMOA President from making or publishing further contemptuous statements/articles scandalising the Court until the final determination of the contempt of court action.
Two civil society activists Prof.Sarath Wijesuriya, the Convener of National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) and Gamini Viyangoda, the co-convener of Puravesi Balaya Social Movement had filed contempt action naming GMOA President Dr.Anuruddha Padeniya as the respondent.
The petitioners stated that upon the delivery of the said judgment by Court of Appeal, the GMOA has condemned and openly criticized the same demanding an annulment or setting aside the said judgment.
The petitioners further stated that in this backdrop the GMOA headed by Dr.Padeniya has called for a national front and trade union action against SAITM following Court decision that SAITM medical graduates be registered with the SLMC.
The petitioners stated that on or about April 7, 2017 the GMOA had organised an island -wide trade union action against SAITM, halting all health services including private practice and private health services to exert pressure on the Government to abolish SAITM.
The petitioners stated that the contemptuous statements and comments demonstrate the blatant hatred of the respondent and publication of the same in the said speech undoubtedly disturbs the Court process and hampers and undermines the authority of the Court of Appeal in respect of the administration of justice especially in view of the fact that the said speech was published and telecast on several media and has been uttered by the respondent at a public meeting held under topic of “Abolish the SAITM” on April 4, 2017.
The petitioners are pleading that Dr.Padeniya be charged for the offence of Contempt of Court of Appeal under Article 105 (3) of the constitution of the Republic of Sri Lanka.
They further urge to impose a sentence on the respondent as provided for in Article 105(3) of the Constitution.