Three judges on the seven-member bench appointed by the Chief Justice to hear petitions filed against President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to dissolve the Parliament, had earlier withdrawn from the fundamental rights petition filed by Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
The three judges are, Priyantha Jayawardena, Buwaneka Aluvihare and Murdu Fernando.
In 2015, Gotabaya Rajapaksa filed a fundamental rights petition in the Supreme Court requesting the court to issue an injunction preventing the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) from arresting him in relation to several investigations conducted by the FCID. An interim order was granted the very first day the petition was taken up, and the abovementioned judges and Eva Wanasundara withdrew from the case citing personal reasons.
When the petition was taken up on May 13, 2015, Buwaneka Aluvihare withdrew from the case citing personal reasons; and on May 25, Eva Wanasundara had informed the Supreme Court that she too intends to withdraw from the case due to a personal reason. Citing personal reasons, Priyantha Jayawardena and Murdu Fernando also withdrew from the case on January 28, 2016, and on June 1, 2018, respectively.
Petitions against the dissolution of Parliament were initially considered by a three-member judge bench headed by the Chief Justice. After taking into account a motion submitted by five persons including Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Chairman Prof. G.L. Peiris, the seven-member bench was appointed.