The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) and its Executive Director filed a Fundamental Rights application challenging the appointment of Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka to fill the vacancy created by the death of Mr. M. K. A. D. S. Gunawardana, as a Member of Parliament elected in terms of Article 99A of the Constitution (the National List).
CPA’s position is that in terms of Article 99A of the Constitution, only a person whose name was included in the district nomination papers or national list submitted by the relevant political party, is entitled to be nominated to fill such a vacancy.
In its Petition, CPA stated that the appointment of a person as a Member of Parliament contrary to the provisions of the Constitution violates several rights guaranteed under the Constitution and in particular the franchise which is part of the sovereignty of the people. Furthermore, CPA argues that any attempt to interpret legislation in a manner contrary to the provisions of the Constitution would imperil the supremacy of the Constitution, which is the cornerstone of constitutional democracy.
Over the past two decades, CPA has filed several Public Interest Litigation cases relating to franchise and in particular the right to vote. The judgments emanating from these cases have recognized and protected the right to vote as a fundamental right. CPA has also on two previous occasions challenged attempts to appoint to Parliament and Provincial Councils, individuals whose names were not on the nomination papers submitted during the nomination period.