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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 75

Supreme Court To Hear the Postponed Fundamental Rights Petition Today

Colombo, 26 May, (Asiantribune.com):

On May 22nd, the Supreme Court postponed the further hearing of the Fundamental Rights petitions filed, challenging the date set by the Elections Commission to hold the General Election 2020.

Proceedings will recommence today at 10AM at Court Room 501 of the Supreme Court on today (May 26th) to hear further from the respondents to the seven petitions.

Further hearing of the seven fundamental rights petitions filed, challenging the dissolution of Parliament and holding the general election on June 20, is scheduled for the sixth day hearing, before a five- judge bench of the Supreme Court, consisting of Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya and Justices Buwaneka Aluwihare, Sisira de Abrew, Priyantha Jayawardena and Vijith Malalgoda.

Seven parties, including Attorney-at-Law Charitha Gunaratne, Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), Journalist Victor Ivan, and Samagi Jana Balawegaya, filed Fundamental Rights petitions, challenging the election date set by the Elections Commission.

The Attorney General, on behalf of the President, Chairman of the Election Commission, Mahinda Deshapriya, and Members of the Commission N. J. Abeysekara and Ratnajeevan Hoole have been named as respondents.

Mandatory provisions have been provided by the Constitution to fix a date for the parliamentary election and convene the new Parliament not later than three months from the dissolution of Parliament, the petitioners have argued. M.A. Sumanthiran PC with Counsel Ermiza Tegal appeared for Charitha Gunaratne. Senior Counsel Viran Corea with Counsel Bhavani Fonseka and Luwie Ganeshathasan appeared for CPA and Dr. P. SaravanamuttuPresident’s Counsel Geoffrey Alagaratnam, Pulasthi Hewamana, Lasantha Garusinghe and Anurangi Singh instructed by Ishara Gunewardane appeared for petitioner S.C.C. Elankovan.

Additional Solicitor General Indika Demuni de Silva appeared for the Attorney General. Romesh de Silva, PC appeared for respondent Dr. P.B. Jayasundera who is the Secretary to the President. Ashtika Theivendra appeared for S. Ratnajeevan Hoole. Counsel V. K. Choksy appeared for the Election Commission.

Sanjeeeva Jayawardena, PC appeared for intervenient petitioner Ven. Muruththettuwe Ananda Thera. Gamini Marapana, PC with Navin Marapana, PC, Counsel Kaushalya Molligoda and Uchitha Wickremesinghe appeared for Ven. Attapatukande Ananda Thera, an intervention party. Senior

Counsel Kanishka Witharana appeared for intervenient petitioner Premanath C. DolawattaXX

The Attorney General, on Friday, moved the Supreme Court to dismiss all fundamental rights petitions challenging the dissolution of Parliament in limine since they were not complying with the constitutional provisions.

Additional Solicitor General, Indika Demuni de Silva, appearing for the Attorney General, told court that all petitions had been filed outside the time period stipulated under Article 126(2) of the constitution. E-Filing system was put in place even during the curfew enabling the petitioners to file fundamental right petitions. They should have filed the petitions, at the initial stage, she said.

Additional Solicitor General de Silva said that nobody had made a single complaint against the accepting of nominations, when the process commenced. The petitioners had not initiated legal action against the acceptance of nominations from March 12 to March 19. That was the appropriate time for them to invoke Supreme Court’s jurisdiction, the ASG said.

She said the petitioners had failed to name necessary parties to the petitions by violating the basic principles. The number of political parties, contesting the general election, had not been brought to the notice of the court. That amounted to the suppression of materials. The petitioners had taken a unilateral decision to y bring Attorney General and the President before court. If an interim order was issued, every step taken to hold the general election would get canceled, Additional Solicitor General added.

The ASG said that the petitioners were seeking relief affecting the entire election process and it would end up with infringing the rights of people and political parties.

One of the petitions had mentioned that the de-facto curfew had been imposed by the President. It was a misrepresentation of facts. The curfew was imposed in terms of the Quarantine Ordinance. Most of petitioners did not mention that they were legitimate voters contesting the election. In one of petitions, the petitioner was an outfit which did not have franchise rights, the Additional Solicitor General said.

Explaining the contradictory positions taken by petitioners on different occasions, the Additional Solicitor General said the petitioners had accepted the process of nomination and later rejected the entire election process unfavorable to them. No prejudice had been caused to anybody when nomination was accepted. The act of tendering nominations had not been challenged by anyone. It meant parliament had been dissolved lawfully, she said.

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- Asian Tribune -

Supreme Court To Hear the Postponed Fundamental Rights Petition Today
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