Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s dual citizenship is a blank document: Attorney at Law Suren Fernando

Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s dual citizenship is a blank document: Attorney at Law Suren Fernando

Written by Staff Writer

02 Oct, 2019 | 8:31 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st) – A writ application seeking a stay order on accepting Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s dual citizenship was taken up for consideration at the Court of Appeal today (October 02) and was postponed for tomorrow (October 03) afternoon.

Petitioners Gamini Viyangoda and Prof. Chandraguptha Thenuwara cited the Controller General of Immigration and Emigration, the Commissioner-General of the Department of Registration of Persons, the Internal and Home Affairs Minister, Ministry Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Mahinda Rajapaksa, Acting IGP C.D. Wickramaratne, Senior DIG Ravi Seneviratne, CID Director G.S. Abeysekara and CID Special Branch OIC Lalith Dissanayake as respondents.

Today, appearing for the petitioners Attorney-at-Law Suren Fernando seeking interim relief said the purported dual citizenship document is nothing but a blank piece of paper and it was not even issued in a manner it should have issued.

The petitioners claim, on the 18th of November 2005 when the presidential election results were announced the then Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa was immediately made President and the Cabinet, Parliament and the Ministry secretaries ceased to exist.

The petitioners claim, therefore, no one can sign for the Secretary as the person did not exist.

Further, Counsel said only a Minister can sign the document and at the time the 06th respondent was not a Minister, but simply the President adding a person with no authority had signed the document.

Counsel further said a person who is not a Sri Lankan being elected to office would pose a threat to the sovereignty of the country.

Senior Deputy Solicitor General Neril Pulle who appeared for the Controller General of the Immigration and Emigration Department said documents concerning the dual citizenship of Presidential candidate Gotabhaya Rajapaksa were unavailable.

President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva appearing for Rajapaksa argued that these documents had been destroyed by the Immigration Department.

However, the Senior Deputy Solicitor General countered the argument saying documents had not been destroyed despite setting up a computerized system at the Department in 2007.

President’s Counsel Romesh De Silva appearing for other respondents said the petition is made on political grounds and should not be entertained.

Counsel appearing for Rajapaksa filed preliminary objections questioning the jurisdiction to hear the case when a police investigation into the matter is still underway.

The petitioners argued the certificate of dual citizenship of Rajapaksa is invalid as it issued when a cabinet of ministers had not been functioning.

However, the Attorney General’s Department, making submissions to the court had said that the President is authorized to handle the affairs of any ministry when a cabinet is not functioning.

The case is being heard before a bench comprising Appeal Court President Yasantha Kodagoda, Arjuna Obeysekera, and Mahinda Samayawardana.

 

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