Saliya Peris PC requests court for an opportunity to reply to the aspersion on the integrity of NEC

Saliya Peris PC requests court for an opportunity to reply to the aspersion on the integrity of NEC

Saliya Peris PC requests court for an opportunity to reply to the aspersion on the integrity of NEC

Written by Staff Writer

22 May, 2020 | 10:21 pm

COLOMBO (News1st): The Fundamental rights petitions seeking to invalidate the president’s proclamation dissolving parliament were taken up for consideration for a 5th day today (May 22).

President’s Counsel Romesh De Silva questioned in court as to how the failure of the elections commission to conduct the election would amount to a violation of the petitioners fundamental rights by the President.

He also faulted the elections commission for their decision not to hold the election.

President’s Counsel Saliya Peris also requested court for an opportunity to reply to the aspersion on the integrity of the Commission.

PC De Silva cited a letter sent to his client by the Elections commission that raised concerns over politicization the program to distribute 5000 rupees, and said that the SLPP government had therefore decided to suspend this program to avoid facing a possible election petition.

He questioned as to how the petitioners can allege that their fundamental rights have been violated by the president’s actions or inactions when it is the elections commission that failed to conduct the polls.

He submitted that there is no requirement to hold meetings, large rallies or eve pocket meetings, and the only requirement for a free and fair election is that the restrictions are the same for all candidates.

He submitted that certain petitioners had suppressed material facts from court and that no relief should be granted to them as they have come to court with tainted hands.

Appearing for the Attorney General and the Director general of Health Services, Deputy Solicitor General Demuni De Silva submitted 5 preliminary objections.

1. She submitted that the applications are time barred, as the proclaimation that the petitioners are seeking to invalidate was issued on the 2nd of March and action was filed past the one month limit in Article 126(2)

2. She also raised objection against the non-joinder of the candidates or at least the secretaries of political parties whose rights will be affected by the relief they have prayed for.

3. She submitted that the petitioners have no standing in court as they have not produced any documents to prove that they are voters in Sri Lanka.

4. DSG De Silva submitted that the petitioners are estopped from objecting to the proclaimation dissolving parliament and the accepting or nominations on days declared as public holidays as the petitioners had acquiesced in the process, and unequivocally accepted the dissolution of parliament.

5. She also said that the relief sought by the petitioners is vexatious, misconceived and vague.

DSG Demuni De Silva submitted to court that the elections commission is given a wide range of powers under Section 128 and Section 129 of the Parliamentary elections act.

She added that these wide powers were given to the commission to conduct the elections as it affects the franchise of the people.

DSG De Silva stressed that the president acted according to the constitution when issuing the proclaimation dissolving parliament, and added that supervening circumstances cannot attach any illegality to the President’s proclaimation.

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