Geetha Kumarasinghe’s Parliamentary seat: how it all started and where it went wrong

Geetha Kumarasinghe’s Parliamentary seat: how it all started and where it went wrong

Geetha Kumarasinghe’s Parliamentary seat: how it all started and where it went wrong

Written by Staff Writer

03 May, 2017 | 11:49 am

Court of Appeal has announced that MP Geetha Kumarasinghe is not entitled to her seat in Parliament.

Why? – She is a citizen of Sri Lanka but, she is also a citizen of Switzerland.

The latter disqualifies Kumarasinghe from her Parliamentary seat.

Right on top of page 71 in the Sri Lankan constitution (page 89 in the PDF provided below), as part of Article 91 (d) (xiii) – it reads 91. (1) No person shall be qualified to be elected as a Member of Parliament or to sit and vote in Parliament if;(d) (xiii) “a citizen of Sri Lanka who is also a citizen of any other country;”

Read: The constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

Geetha Kumarasinghe was elected to parliament from the Galle District at the August 2015 election.

The matter regarding her duel citizenship surfaced when four people hailing from Galle submitted petitions against it.

The determination was read out by Court of Appeal Justice Preethi Padman Surasena, with the assent of the President of Court, Justice Vijith Malalgoda.

Justice Surasena noted that it was within the rights of the court to issue a writ of mandamus preventing Geetha Kumarasinghe from holding a seat in parliament.

Anton Camilus Gunasekara, a petitioner, reassured that the act was not carried out on a personal gripe with the MP.

Gunasekara called Kumarasinghe to cancel her duel citizenship and contest from the Galle district on behalf of the SLFP during the next election.

Geetha Kumarasinghe responds

Kumarasinghe pointed out that according to election laws, if there is a problem regarding a nomination, there is a given time period to submit petitions against it. She also said that even after being elected, there is a given time period to file petitions against the decision.

She also revealed that she cancelled her Swiss citizenship.

“I am the first person in the world to give up Swiss citizenship. The embassy has said so. I did this for the people who voted for me.” she said.

The UPFA Parliamentarian is currently preparing to file an appeal at the Supreme Court.

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