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“Evident that general election cannot be held on June 20”

5 May 2020 12:00 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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  • The petition says holding an election during coronavirus is a violation of fundamental rights of COVID-19 patients

By Sandun A. Jayasekera 

It is quite evident that the Elections Commission (EC) will not be able to hold the general election on June 20 for several reasons, a source from EC said yesterday, adding that a bigger constitutional crisis was 
in the offing.   

The source on condition of anonymity told Daily Mirror that all political party representatives who met EC Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya and two other members A.E. Abeysekara (PC) and Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole last Saturday said they did not agree in holding the election on June 20 for logistical and political obstacles posed by the COVID-19 outbreak. 


“In addition to their protest, the EC was not able to issue preferential numbers to candidates on April 15 giving a minimum of 35 days for campaigning required by the election law as April 15, 16 and 17 were declared holidays. The EC will most probably seek the Attorney General’s advice on this legal issue. Another roadblock is the FR petition filed by a citizen/voter. The EC cannot take any decision on the election as long as the Supreme Court issues an interim order or concludes the hearing of the FR,” the 
source said. 
A former municipal councillor and lawyer had filed the fundamental rights petition last Saturday seeking an interim injunction against holding the general election amid the pandemic. 
The petition filed by former Colombo Municipal Councillor Attorney Charitha Gunaratne says holding an election while the country had been engulfed in coronavirus was a violation of fundamental rights of COVID-19 patients and the general public. 


EC Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya and its members N.J. Abeysekara (PC) and Professor Ratnajeevan Hoole, Secretary to the President Dr. P.B. Jayasundara, Health Services Director General Dr. Anil Jasinghe and the Attorney General have been cited as respondents. 


The petitioner requests the Supreme Court to declare that the gazette notification issued by the EC announcing the general election on June 20 is unconstitutional and invalidate. The petitioner states that the EC’s decision to postpone the general election scheduled for April 25 till June 20 is unconstitutional and seeks an interim injunction against holding the election on June 20.       

 

  • EC was not able to issue preferential numbers to candidates on April 15 giving a minimum of 35 days for campaigning
  • Petition seeks an interim injunction against holding the election on June 20
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