Petitions filed over dissolution of Parliament and GE: AG raises preliminary objections | Daily News


Petitions filed over dissolution of Parliament and GE: AG raises preliminary objections

At the outset of the Supreme Court hearing into the seven Fundamental Rights petition filed challenging the dissolution of Parliament and holding the General Election on 20th June, the Attorney General today raised preliminary objections regarding the maintainability of the petitions.  
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Indika Demuni de Silva appearing for the Attorney General informed the Supreme Court five-judge-bench comprising Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, Justices Buwaneka Aluwihare, Justice Sisira de Abrew, Justice Priyantha Jayawardena and Justice Vijith Malalgoda that she is expecting to raise several Preliminary Objections against these petitions.  
In her first Preliminary Objection, the ASG submitted to court that these petitions cannot be maintained since they were not filed within the stipulated one month time period (Time Bar).  
She further submitted to court that the petitioner has failed to name the President as a necessary party to the first petition though the facts have been mentioned about the President on several occasions.
The ASG further stated the petitioners have no right or capacity to institute action (locus standi) through these petitions. She further submitted to court that the relief sought by the petitioners cannot be granted since there are issues relating to the maintainability of the petitions.  
ASG Demuni de Silva told court that she is expecting to elaborate these Preliminary Objections in due time.  
These petitions are to be taken up for further hearing tomorrow (19).  
President’s Counsel M.A. Sumanthiran appearing for the petitioner Charitha Gunaratne stated that in terms of Article 70(5)(a), 70(5)(b) and 70(5)(c) of the Constitution, mandatory provisions have been provided to fix a date or dates for the election of Members of Parliament and convene the new Parliament not later than three months from the date of proclamation of the dissolution of Parliament. He argued that the respondents have taken measures to hold an early election in an unsafe environment in the country owing to the outbreak of COVID-19 virus.    Sumathiran contended that under these circumstances, a free and fair election cannot be held in the country.      
Meanwhile, President's Counsel Romesh de Silva appearing for the President's Secretary informed court that he is expecting to raise Preliminary Objections against the petitions for suppression of facts.
M.A. Sumanthiran PC with Counsel Ermiza Tegal appeared for Charitha Gunaratne. Senior Counsel Viran Corea with counsel Bhavani Fonseka and Luwie Ganeshathasan appeared for CPA and Dr. P. Saravanamuttu. Additional Solicitor General Indika Demuni De Silva appeared for the Attorney General. Romesh de Silva PC appeared for respondent P.B. Jayasundera. Ashtika Theivendra appeared for S. Ratnajeevan Hoole. Counsel V. K. Choksy appeared for the Election Commission. Sanjeeeva Jayawardena PC appeared for intervenient petitioner Ven. Muruththettuwe Ananda Thera.  Gamini Marapana PC with Navin Marapana PC, counsel Kaushalya Molligoda and Uchitha Wickremesinghe appeared for Ven.Attapatukande Ananda Thera, an intervention party.    
Attorney-at-Law Charitha Gunaratne, the son of former Central Province Governor Maithri Gunaratne initially filed a petition seeking a declaration that the Gazette notification in question is unconstitutional.    
Subsequently, several political parties including Samagi Janabalawegaya and several civil society activists including former Ravaya newspaper Editor Victor Ivan and Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu had also filed Fundamental Rights petitions over the same issue relating to the General Election and the dissolution of Parliament.    
They are seeking an order quashing the Extraordinary Gazette notification declaring the General Election on June 20.    
The petitioners have  cited Election Commission Chairman  Mahinda Deshapriya, its members President’s Counsel N.J. Abeysekara and Prof.S. Rathnajeevan H.Hoole, and the Attorney General as the respondents.          

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