SC tells President he cannot hold PC polls

President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena

The Supreme Court has informed President Maithripala Sirisena that he can’t hold the provincial council elections under the existing or previous Provincial Council’s Elections Act without a delimitation report, Secretary to the President, Udaya R. Seneviratne said, yesterday, issuing a press release.

Seneviratne has said that in October 2017, the President appointed a five-member delimitation committee as per the provisions of Provincial Council Elections (Amendment) Act, no 17 of 2017.

The committee was appointed after the Provincial Council Elections (Amended) Act, which permits provincial council elections to be held on mixed voting system combining the first-past-the-post system and proportional representation system.

The Committee prepared a report and presented it to the minister of local government, who tabled it in Parliament, which, however, did not approve it.

On August 28.2018, the Speaker appointed a review Committee, headed by the Prime minister. This Committee was to make necessary amendments and hand over the report to the President. After receiving the report the President can call for provincial council election.

Seneviratna has said the review Committee did not fulfil its responsibilities. Because of this elections to the provincial councils, dissolved after the expiration of their terms, could not be held. The President decided to ask the Supreme Court whether he could hold the provincial council elections under the previous Act after continuous requests made by the Commission of Elections.

The President, last month, sought the Supreme Court’s opinion on whether the polls could be conducting using the defeated delimitation report under the Provincial Council Elections (Amended) Act or the previous Act, which existed before being amended in 2017.

The five-judge bench who looked into the matter decided unanimously that the President could not hold provincial councils elections without the report from the review committee on the delimitation report. The bench also noted that the polls could not be conducted under the old Act according to the Interpretation Ordinance.

(Source: The Island)