Repealing Act No.17 of 2017 will enable early PC polls - Sumanthiran | Daily News

Repealing Act No.17 of 2017 will enable early PC polls - Sumanthiran

TNA Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran yesterday proposed to the Supreme Court that Provincial Council elections could be held without any further delay by amending the Provincial Council Elections Act. Filing an intervention petition in the Supreme Court yesterday, he reiterated that a legislative amendment was necessary to hold the Provincial Council Elections without any further delay.

Sumanthiran filed this intervention petition in connection with a reference application before the Supreme Court by President Maithripala Sirisena regarding the holding of Provincial Council elections.

Sumanthiran submitted that it was more important to hold the Provincial Council elections on time under whatever system, than reaching an agreement with regard to the system itself. He suggested that a simple amendment be made to the Provincial Council Elections Act by repealing Act No.17 of 2017 to enable elections to be held without any further delay.

‘Parliament can thereafter discuss the future reforms to the election law. A draft of the said proposed amendment was also given to the government to take necessary steps in that regard. However, since the government has not taken any steps to date, I have submitted a private member’s Bill to the Secretary General of Parliament on August 19, 2019. Therefore, a legislative amendment such as the above is necessary to hold the Provincial Council Elections without any further delay,’ said the intervenient petitioner.

Sumanthiran observed that the Provincial Councils Elections cannot be held in terms of the law that was in force prior to the enactment of the Provincial Council Elections Act by repealing Act No.17 of 2017, unless the law itself is amended suitably.

Section 3A(11) states that a Delimitation Committee Report will come into force if it is approved by a two-third majority in Parliament. Thus the question of the President issuing a proclamation with regard to same does not arise, Sumanthiran said.

The Chief Justice has nominated a fuller Bench comprising five judges of Supreme Court to hear a reference application forwarded by President Maithripala Sirisena on Provincial Council elections. In his reference application, the President sought a determination from the Supreme Court whether the Provincial Council Elections can be held under the law that was in force prior to the enactment of the Provincial Councils Elections (Amendment) Act No. 17 of 2017.

A five-judge-bench comprising Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, and Justices Buwaneka Aluwihare, Sisira de Abrew, Prasanna Jayawardena and Vijith Malalgoda will hear the President’s reference application on August 23.

Following the hearing, the Supreme Court’s determination over the reference application is to be communicated to the President before August 30.

President Maithripala Sirisena in terms of Article 129 (1) of the Constitution had referred to the Supreme Court the following questions for its consideration:

(a) In view of the Review Committee failing to submit its report to me in accordance with sub sections (13) and (14) of Section 3A of the Provincial Councils Elections Act No. 2 of 1988 as amended by Act No. 17 of 2017, whether, I, as President, can by proclamation forthwith publish the new number of electorates, the boundaries and names assigned to each electorate so created in terms of the report of the Delimitation Committee submitted to the Minister assigned the subject of Provincial Councils?

(b)Whether, the Provincial Councils Elections can be held under the Provincial Councils Elections Act No. 2 of 1988 as amended by Act No. 17 of 2017, once the Proclamation referred in (a) above is published?

(c) Whether in the absence of such inability to hold such Provincial Council elections in terms of the present law, the said provincial council elections can be held under the law that was in force prior to the enactment of the Provincial Councils Elections (Amendment) Act No. 17 of 2017in view of section 6(2) of the Interpretation Ordinance?

 

 


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