PM raises preliminary objections IN CA CASE | Daily News

PM raises preliminary objections IN CA CASE


Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe through his counsel yesterday moved Court that the writ petition filed challenging his parliamentary seat be dismissed in limine.

The PM also raised preliminary objections regarding a writ petition filed in the Court of Appeal, by petitioner Sharmila Roweena Jayawardene Gonawela. She sought an order in the nature of a writ of quo warranto declaring that UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is disqualified to be a Member of Parliament and thus his appointment as a Member of Parliament void and that he has no right to continue to hold office.

President’s Counsel K. Kanag-Iswaran appearing for Prime Minister Wickremesinghe informed Court that this application cannot be maintained since it failed to comply with Supreme Court Rules.

‘In terms of Rule 3 of the Supreme Court, the petitioner has failed to annex the original documents that she relies on. This petitioner has relied on several photocopies and uncertified documents. According to Rule 3 (1) (a) of the Supreme Court, a petition filed in Court of Appeal should be filed with an affidavit in support of the averments therein and shall be accompanied by originals of the documents material to such application in form of exhibits. Where a petitioner fails to comply with the provisions of this rule the court may at the instance of any party, dismiss such application’, Kanag-Iswaran added.

Counsel Suren Fernando appearing for UNP General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam told court that the petitioner has failed to prove the fact that first respondent had entered into business contracts with public corporations through his alleged family company. ‘Several documents annexed to this application have not been certified. There are no documents to show that the first respondent has business contracts. Fernando further submitted to court that the petitioner is seeking a relief from the Attorney General even without naming the Attorney General a party to this application,’ Fernando added.

Senior Deputy Solicitor General Vikum de Abrew appearing for Bank of Ceylon (BOC) moved that the BOC be released from this proceeding since necessary parties have not been named as respondents. “The petitioner is seeking an order to obtain the contract in question. She should have obtained these documents through the provisions of Right to Information Act,” Abrew said.

The Court of Appeal two-judge-bench comprising Justice Shiran Goonaratne and Justice Priyantha Fernado fixed further hearing into the matter for February 26. The petitioner’s counsel was directed to make his reply regarding the preliminary objections on next date.

This petition was filed by Sharmila Roweena Jayawardene Gonawela, a Colombo Municipal Council member representing the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna.

The petitioner cited UNP General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dassanayake, Bank of Ceylon and People’s Bank as respondents.

The petitioner alleged that first respondent Ranil Wickremasinghe held, as at the time of the Parliamentary Elections were held on August 17, 2015, a financial interest in several contracts entered into by public corporations on behalf of the Republic of Sri Lanka with his family company “Lake House Printers & Publishers PLC”, by virtue of his having been a major shareholder of the said company.

The petitioner stated that first respondent Ranil Wickremesinghe has been declared elected as a Member of Parliament from Colombo District at the Parliamentary Elections held in 2015, and to sit and vote in parliament. The petitioner states that the first respondent’s election was illegal for the reasons set out below and is thus an usurper of the authority of a Member of Parliament, and is not qualified to hold the office of an MP.

The petitioner states that Article 91(1)(e) of the Constitution of the Republic bars individuals who hold any interest in public contracts from election as a Member of Parliament.

The petitioner states that as held in Dilan Perera vs Rajitha Senaratne (2000 (2) S.L.R. 79),that under prevailing law, Article 91(1)(e) of the Constitution disqualifies a person to be elected as a Member of Parliament or to sit and vote in parliament” if he, directly or indirectly by himself or by any person on his behalf or for his use or benefit, holds, or enjoys any right or benefit under any contract made by or on behalf of the (Republic of Sri Lanka)in respect of the Government of the Island for the furnishing or providing of money to be remitted abroad or of goods or services to be used or employed in the service of the (Republic of Sri Lanka) in the Island.”

President’s Counsel Uditha Egalahewa appeared for Gonawela. President’s Counsel K. Kanag-Iswaran with counsel Niranjan Arulpragasam under the instruction of senior counsel G.G. Arulpragasam appeared for Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Counsel Suren Fernando under the instruction of senior counsel G.G. Arulpragasam appeared for UNP General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam.



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