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Whether or not to grant leave to proceed: 

  • Petitions challenging dissolution of Parliament and election date

 

By Yoshitha Perera

The Supreme Court (SC) has fixed to announce at 3:00 p.m. today whether or not to grant leave to proceed for the fundamental rights (FR) petitions filed challenging the dissolution of Parliament and the general election date. 

 

  • M.A Sumanthiran PC informed court that the presidential proclamation issued on March 2 had expired

The petitions were taken up for hearing for the tenth consecutive day before a SC bench of five judges comprising Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya as Chairman and Justices Buwaneka Aluwihare, Sisira de Abrew, Priyantha Jayawardene and Vijith Malalgoda. 


Making counter submission, President’s Counsel M.A Sumanthiran informed court that the presidential proclamation issued on March 2 had expired and that the Elections Commission (EC) could not conduct the election without issuing a fresh proclamation.  


“At this stage, the presidential proclamation was void because it cannot convene the new Parliament within the mandatory period of three months. Hence, the President has to issue a fresh proclamation,” he said. 
He said the whole proclamation was invalid and effectively the dissolution of Parliament illegal. 
“According to the proclamation, there was no election date and Parliament has gone to a complete death. There was no date of convening the new Parliament. At this stage, if the government was trying to conduct the general election, provisions of the Constitution will be infringed upon because the time bar of convening Parliament had already passed according to the Constitution. Presently, the President and the EC have to act together to conduct a free and fair election,” he said, adding that the commission had failed to act under Section 24 (1) (b) of the Parliamentary Elections Act. 


Making counter submission, President’s Counsel Saliya Peiris representing Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya and its member Nalin Abeysekara informed court the EC was preparing guidelines to conduct the election and that they would be released soon. 


He also requested the bench to consider that the Elections Commission had always wanted to conduct a free and fair election.  “After issuing the proclamation, the commission advised President’s Secretary P.B. Jayasundara to advise the President on seeking SC opinion on conducting the election during the COVID-19 pandemic since the election could not be conducted within three months,” he said.  

 

  • After issuing the proclamation, the commission advised President’s Secretary P.B. Jayasundara to advise the President on seeking SC opinion on conducting the election during the COVID-19 pandemic since the election could not be conducted within three months
  • According to the proclamation, there was no election date and Parliament has gone to a complete death. There was no date of convening the new Parliament
  • PC Saliya Peiris informed court the EC was preparing guidelines to conduct the election and that they would be released soon
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