Centre for Policy Alternatives on 25 May, 2009

Appeal Court issues Notice in case challenging rights of Ratnasiri Wickremanayake and Wijedasa Rajapakshe to sit as MPs – 5th July 2004

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5th July 2004

A Writ
Application filed by Sunanda Deshapriya, a Co-Convenor of the Centre
for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) was supported in the Court
of Appeal on 5th July 2004 before Justice Saleem Marsoof PC, President
of the Court of Appeal, and Justice K. Sripavan by Attorneys at
Law M. A. Sumanthiran and Viran Corea.

The
application challenges the right of Ratnasiri Wickramanayake and
Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe to occupy National List Seats of the UPFA
as Members of the 13th Parliament, due to the fact that neither
of the two were included in the National List published in the Government
Gazette prior to the General Election of 2nd April 2004, under Article
99A of the Constitution. Neither were their names included in the
Nomination Papers of the UPFA.

The
Petitioner complains that the practice adopted by the UPFA General
Secretary, Susil Premjayanth is unconstitutional, undemocratic and
weakens the credibility of the electoral system, in that the voters
of the country have a right to know who might be appointed by a
given party even on the National List when deciding which party
to vote for. It was submitted to Court, that the whole Constitutional
requirement that the National List be published before a General
Election was rendered meaningless and futile, unless all nominations
to fill vacancies in respect of the National List seats of a party
are filled out of those whose names were made known to the public
through the published National List or Nomination Papers published
prior to elections.

Therefore,
the Petitioner seeks an Order declaring that Ratnasiri Wickramanayake
and Wijayadasa Rajapakshe have no right to sit and act as Members
of Parliament, as well as an Order against the Elections Commissioner
preventing him from accepting any nominations to fill vacancies
in respect of the National List in future, unless the names so nominated
are contained in the relevant National List published under Article
99A or the Nomination Papers.

The
Appeal Court considered these submissions of Counsel and issued
notice on the Elections Commissioner, the UPFA General Secretary
(Susil Premjayanth), Ratnasiri Wickramanayake & Wijayadasa Rajapakshe.
The case will next be taken up on 2nd August 2004, on which date
the Respondents may ask for time to file any objections they may
have to the granting of the relief prayed for through the case.

Court
also requested the Attorney General to appear as ‘amicus curiae’
to assist the Court should such a need arise.

 

 
Dr.
P. Saravanamuttu
Executive Director