FR Petition filed to delay Presidential Election in Sri Lanka

Postal vote in Sri Lanka

(Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash)

A fundamental rights petition has been filed with Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court by a businessman, requesting the Court to interpret the tenure of the current President according to the Constitution.

The petition was filed by an entrepreneur from Moratuwa, named Chamindra D. Lenawa.

The petition names the Chairman of the Election Commission, its members, and the Attorney General as respondents.

The petitioner argues that Section 30(2) of the Constitution, amended by Section 3 of the 19th Amendment, is controversial. He claims that the 19th Amendment was not properly enacted and violates the Constitution when considering the 12th Chapter.

The amendment reduced the President’s term from six years to five and was intended to apply to the sitting President at the time. However, any amendment affecting the sitting President should be subjected to a public referendum under Section 12, which did not happen.

Lenawa points out that Gotabaya Rajapaksa was elected President on November 16, 2019, after the 19th Amendment was implemented.

He argues that since the amendment was not properly enacted, Rajapaksa’s term should be six years. Any successor President chosen by Parliament should serve the remaining duration of this term.

The petitioner stresses the importance of the Supreme Court interpreting the 19th Amendment to determine its proper enactment.

He cites Section 82(6) of the Constitution, which gives the Supreme Court the power to interpret any law. He emphasizes that holding the Presidential election without this interpretation would violate the people’s fundamental rights and misuse public funds.

The petition also requests an interim order to prevent the Election Commission from conducting the Presidential Election during the currently scheduled period until the Court decides on the President’s tenure.