By Yoshitha Perera
Polling could be taken on any day in another one and a half months time unless there was no postponement, President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva informed Supreme Court yesterday.
Making his submissions on the seven Fundamental Rights (FR) petitions filed challenging the General Election date and the dissolution of Parliament, President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva appeared on behalf of the respondent, Secretary to President P.B. Jayasundara.
Denying the fact that EC could fix the date for polls within nine to eleven weeks after receiving the green light from the health authorities, PC de Siva said that the EC still had the time to decide the election date. “Very recently the EC had fixed the election date for June20 and now they say they can’t conduct the election on that day. So they can fix another day according to Section 24 of the Parliamentary Election Act,” he said. PC de Silva emphasized that the Commission does not have to take 60 to 75 days to hold the election. He added in terms of the original proclamation issued by the President the election date fixed for April 25, which was about one and a half month after issuing the proclamation.
“Within the one and half month period, people who wish to contest the election can handover their nomination to the Commission and EC can consider those nominations. In the current situation, the Commission had completed this work and they do not need 60 to 75 days to conduct the election,” PC de Silva said. Presenting his submissions on the dissolution of the Parliament, once a five-year term of Parliament comes to an end whether the President issued a proclamation or not, Parliament can be dissolved and it was the same situation that happened when President dissolved Parliament.
He explained that according to powers vested upon the President as per Article 33 (2) (c) of the Constitution the President can dissolve Parliament.
“The original proclamation issued by the President on March 02 stating the dissolving of Parliament and the election date, had stratified the criteria mentioned in Article 70 (5) (a) of the Constitution. But the argument of the petitioners is the general election dates have been changed,” he said.
PC de Silva added that the petitioners had failed to bring up challenges to the proclamation issued by the President on dissolving Parliament within one month and there was no validity for the challenges making after one month period.
Referring to the use of public funds, Romesh de Silva PC said that there was no need of a Parliament to withdraw money from the consolidated fund.
He said that if Parliament has been dissolved the President has total power to withdraw from the consolidated fund up to three months of the date prior to commencing of the new Parliament.