Presidential Pardon – Duminda Silva


Former Member of Parliament Duminda Silva was sentenced to death along with four others in 2016 for the murder of former Member of Parliament Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra and three of his supporters in 2011 received presidential pardon in June 2021.[1]

What is the corruption?

Use of executive powers to pardon a political ally.

Several parties raised concerns whether the proper process of granting presidential pardon was followed in this incident. The proviso to the Article 34(1) of the Constitution requires the President to obtain a report by the Judge who tried the case. The final report is submitted to the President with the recommendations of both the Attorney General and the Minister of Justice. There is a lack of transparency in this case whether this process was followed.

What has been done?

  • Hirunika Premachandra, daughter of the murdered former Member of Parliament has filed a Fundamental Rights petition in the Supreme Court.
  • The Bar Association of Sri Lanka wrote to the President asking for the grounds for the pardon.
  • TISL issued a statement demanding accountability in the Presidential Pardon system in Sri Lanka, and filed a Right to Information request with the Presidential Secretariat requesting,
    • A certified copy of the report of the Trial Judge.
    • A certified copy of documentation containing the advice of the Attorney General.
    • A certified copy of documentation containing the recommendation of Minister of Justice.
    • The final report by the President with regard to the Presidential Pardon granted to former MP Duminda Silva.

This RTI request that was rejected by the relevant authority is now at the RTI Commission Appeal level at the moment.[2]

What can be done?

  • Demand reforms and greater accountability in the system of granting presidential pardons in Sri Lanka.[3]



On 31st May 2022, it was reported that the Supreme Court issued an interim order suspending this special presidential pardon, upon hearing several fundamental rights petitions filed challenging that decision.

Later, on the 1st of June, Former MP Duminda Silva was arrested by the Criminal Investigations Department while receiving treatment at the Sri Jayawardenapura hospital.



Image :