Don't consider time bar; Counsel replies to AG | Daily News


Don't consider time bar; Counsel replies to AG

Counsel Suren Fernando yesterday informed Supreme Court that the issue of Time Bar should not be considered by Court due to the imposition of the islandwide curfew during the last few months.He was replying to one of the preliminary objections raised by the Attorney General against eight Fundamental Rights petitions filed over the dissolution ofparliament and holding the General Election on June 20.

Fernando yesterday informed the Supreme Court that the issue of Time Bar should not be considered by Court due to the imposition of the islandwide curfew during the last few months.The Attorney General last Monday (18) informed court that these petitions cannotbe maintained since they were not filed within the stipulated one month time period.

However, counsel Suren Fernando appearing for the Samagi Janabalawegaya Party General Secretary Ranjith Maddumabandara observed that citizens' Fundamental Rights should not be deprived at an emergency situation. He further told court that he would extensively reply to the Attorney General following the conclusion of the Attorney General's main submissions.

The Attorney General had submitted to court that several petitioners have failedto name the President as a necessary party to the petitions, though the facts have been mentioned about the President on several occasions.

The Attorney General further submitted to Court that petitioners have no right or capacity to institute action (locus standi) through these petitions and relief sought by the petitioners cannot be granted since there are issues relating to the maintainability of the petitions.Counsel Suren Fernando argued that in terms Article 148 of the constitution, theParliament has full control over public finance which needs to be utilised in a transparent manner and in trust for the People. He further submitted to court that new government following the Presidential Election, did not present a full budget for the fiscal year 2020. He argued that the financial appropriations approved by Parliament only continued until April 30, 2020. Fernando stated thata free and fair election cannot be held if the election proceeds in the present circumstances.Senior Counsel Viran Corea appearing for Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) stated that it is mandated by Article 62(1) of the Constitution to have a Parliament in the country. Corea submitted to court that Parliament was dissolved by the President on March 2, 2020 and it is required to meet before June 2, 2020, within three months of the dissolution. He further submitted to court that both President and Cabinet of Ministers should responsible to the Parliament. President's Counsel Ikram Mohamed, Geoffrey Alagaratnam PC who appeared on behalf of the petitioners concluded their submissions.The petitioners 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, itsmembers Presidentâ55s Counsel N.J.Abeyesekara and Prof. S.Ratnajeevan H.Hoole, and the Attorney General as respondents.These petitions are to be taken up for further hearing today (20). The respondent parties including the Attorney General are to make their submissions today.

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