Gota’s citizenship documents missing from Immig. Dept | Daily News

Senior DSG informs court:

Gota’s citizenship documents missing from Immig. Dept

Defence says President has powers to issue citizenships:

The Court of Appeal was informed yesterday that the Immigration and Emigration Department does not have any documents pertaining to the citizenship applications in respect of Presidential candidate, Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The Court was hearing arguments on the writ petition challenging Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s citizenship. The Court will hear further submissions today (3rd).

This petition has been filed by Co-Conveners of the citizens’ organization “Puravesi Balaya”, namely, democracy activist and writer Gamini Viyangoda and painter-scholar Prof. Chandraguptha Thenuwara.

In yesterday’s hearing, Senior Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle appearing for the Attorney General informed court that no document was available at the Immigration and Emigration Department in respect of Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s citizenship certificate. He informed Court that the Immigration and Emigration Department had been digitised since 2007.

Counsel Suren Fernando, appearing for the petitioners, informed Court that the certificate of dual citizenship granted to Gotabaya Rajapaksa is manifestly and ex-facie (on the face) a fraudulent document.

He further stated that grave and irreparable harm and damage that would be caused to the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and national security of Sri Lanka if a non-citizen is permitted to contest for the Presidency.

Fernando submitted to court that then President Mahinda Rajapaksa had granted the dual citizenship certificate to Gotabaya Rajapaksa on November 21, 2005.

He said between November 18, 2005 and November 22, 2005 there was no Secretary to the relevant Ministry (citizenship), and as such no person could have signed on behalf of such Secretary, as falsely and fraudulently indicated in the alleged dual citizenship certificate.

He further submitted to court that the fifth Respondent Gotabaya Rajapaksa could not have handed over any application to the relevant Secretary during the period from November 18, 2005 and November 24, 2005.

“Thus the purported Dual Citizenship Certificate is null and void and of no force and effect in law. This Citizenship Certificate was allegedly issued by then President, to his brother, Gotabaya Rajapaksa,” Fernando averred.

Meanwhile, President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva appearing for fifth respondent Gotabaya Rajapaksa raised several preliminary objections against the writ petition.

He argued that this petition cannot be maintained since investigations regarding the subject matter was not concluded. He submitted to court that writ jurisdiction cannot be invoked since initial investigation regarding the alleged citizenship has not concluded.

In another preliminary objection, Silva stated that the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, a necessary party had not been made a party to this petition. He further submitted to court that this petition had been in mala-fide with an objective of blocking Gotabaya Rajapaksa from contesting the Presidential Election.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General further submitted to Court that in terms of Article 42 (2) of the constitution, the President so elected to the office has powers to function over any subject until relevant subjects are assigned to the respective Ministers. He argued that then President Mahinda Rajapaksa had functioned as the Minister in charge of the citizenship in terms of the constitution.

The petitioners are seeking an interim order restraining the fifth Respondent Gotabaya from holding out or claiming that he is a citizen of Sri Lanka and from acting on the basis of the purported Dual Citizenship Certificate, until the hearing and determination of this writ petition.

The petitioners have cited Controller General of Immigration and Emigration R.M.P.S.B. Rathnayake, Commissioner General for the Registration of Persons P. Viyani Gunathilaka, Minister of Internal and Home Affairs and Provincial Councils and Local Government Vajira Abeywardena, Ministry of Internal and Home Affairs and Provincial Councils and Local Government Gamini Senevirathna, former Defence Secretary Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, acting IGP Wickremaratne, Senior DIG Ravi Seneviratne and CID Director Shani Abeysekera as respondents.

Counsel Suren Fernando with Attorneys Niran Anketel, Dinesh Vidanapathirana and Priyangika Jayawickrama through Vidanapathirana Associates appeared for the petitioners.

President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva with Ali Sabry PC appeared for Gotabaya Rajapaksa. President’s Counsel Gamini Marapana with Navin Marapana PC appeared for former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

 


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