Supreme Court to decide on hearing petitions today

Supreme court of Sri Lanka

The Supreme Court is set to announce, at 3.00 p.m. today (2), whether or not to grant leave to proceed with the Fundamental Rights petitions, challenging the date set by the Election Commission for the General Election.

Commission for the General Election. Attorney Grneral Dappula de Livera informed the Court that the set of health guidelines enabling the smooth conduct of the election will be announced before the end of this week.

Further hearing of the FR and intermediary petitions, challenging the date set by the Elections Commission for the polls and the Gazette Notification proclaiming the dissolution of Parliament by the President on 2 March, commenced for the 10th day last morning (1).

The petitions were heard before a five – Judge Bench comprising Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, Justices Buwaneka Aluvihare, Sisira de Abrew, Priyantha Jayawardena, and Vijith Malalgoda.

The Attorney General was represented by ASG Indika Demuni de Silva. Making further submissions she stated that the relevant officers were busy formulating the health guidelines to be followed at the general election and she assured the Court that the guidelines will be issued before the end of this week.

Presenting replies on behalf of the petitioners M. A. Sumanthiran PC, stated that the Parliament is an institution that cannot ever be killed and explained that it too would rise like the phoenix from the ashes.

He added that though most of the details pertaining to this case had become inexorably linked to politics, he was presenting his submissions based solely on legal points.

Sumanthiran speaking further on submissions made by the respondents that the petitioners had no legal right to file the FR petitions stated that the FR petitions had been filed by former MPs who had served as lawmakers with the dissolved Legislature, by recognized political parties and by parties that had previously filed similar cases with the Apex Court. Furthermore the submissions made by the former TNA MP were also substantiated by Attorneys Suren Fernando and Viran Corea.

Afterwards Saliya Peiris PC making submissions on behalf of the EC, requested the Court not to give a ruling that goes against the Election Commission.

Peiris also informed the Court that various views and criticism had been expressed in Court regarding the conduct of one of the members of the Election Commission, but he insisted that all members of the Election Commission could harbor any kind of opinion and that it was the usual state of the Election Commission.Taking the submissions into consideration the Court stated that its decision on whether or not to grant leave for the FR petitions challenging the date set for the polls by the Election Commission and dissolution of the previous House by the President will be announced at 3 pm today.

Seven parties including Attorney at Law Charitha Gunaratne, Center 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 Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole have been named as respondents of the petition.

(Source: Ceylon Today – By Kavindya Perera)

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