Pastor Jerome Fernando today filed a Fundamental Rights petition in the Supreme Court seeking an order preventing police from arresting him in connection with the controversial Sunday sermon.
In his petition, Pastor Jerome Fernando stated that he was advised that the sermon he delivered on April 30, 2023, does not constitute any offense as alleged by the police in their B report filed in the Magistrate’s Court.
He further said that Article 10 of the Constitution guarantees him as a person the “freedom of thought, conscience, and religion”.
Pastor Jerome states that he has not committed an offense under Section 3(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Act No. 56 of 2007 or under Section 291A of the Penal Code.
However, he unconditionally expressed his utmost remorse to the Buddhist, Hindu, and
Islam clergy, the followers of the religion, and anybody else who is hurt or whose religious feelings are wounded by the words contained in his sermon
The petitioner further maintained that it is extremely likely that he will be arrested at the Katunayake Airport itself when he returns to Sri Lanka.
The petitioner states that on Sunday, the 30th day of April 2023, he presided over the Sunday service, and as usual, the petitioner delivered his Sunday sermon. He states that by uttering the words during the sermon, he did not advocate religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence.
The petitioner maintained that from the contents of the sermon, he
delivered on April 30, 2023, it cannot be deciphered that the petitioner has advocated
religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility, and violence or uttered words with the deliberate intention of wounding the religious feelings of any person.
The petitioner states that after his primary and secondary education at St. Peter’s College, Colombo 04, he embarked on a professional cricketing career and was also employed in
the mercantile sector in an executive and managerial capacity.
The petitioner states that while in employment, he pursued theological studies.
and was ordained in Dubai by Rev. Dr V. Dilkumar of the King’s Revival Church.
Dubai on August 8, 2005.
The petitioner states, at the age of 29 years, in response to which he believes a divine
calling, took over the preaching of Christianity on a full-time basis, and is currently
the Senior Overseer of “The Glorious Church”, Sri Lanka, situated at Menerigama Place, off Dhakshinarama Road, Dehiwala, Mount Lavinia, and presides over an ever-expanding ministry within and outside Sri Lanka.
The petitioner states that the said “Glorious Church” conducts its Sunday services on a regular basis at a place called the “Miracle Dome,” situated at Minuwangoda Road, Naikanda, Katunayake, and the said services are conducted by him personally unless he is out of the country, and on such occasions, another pastor deputizes for him.
The petitioner has cited the CID, IGP Chandana Wickremaratne, and the Attorney General as respondents in the petition.
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