Dismissal of Petition no bar on Police probe into Gotabaya’s citizenship
The dismissal of the Petition challenging the citizenship status of Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa does not bar the Police investigation relating to the issuance of a Dual Citizenship Certificate, according to the reasons for dismissal released by the Court of Appeal decision today.
The case was heard by a full bench comprising President of the CA Justice Yasantha Kodagoda, Justice Arjuna Obeyesekere and Justice Mahinda Samayawardhena.
The Petition was by two Civil Society activists who asked to quash the Dual Citizenship Certificate and NIC issued to Gotabaya as there is no file pertaining to these matters in the Department of Immigration or the Defense Ministry. There is also no record of Gotabaya receiving Sri Lanka citizenship, the petitioners say and want the court to order the Controller of Immigration to cease recognizing him as a citizen.
The petitioners Gamini Viyangoda and Prof. Chandragupta Thenuwara pointed out that Gotabaya is intending to contest the upcoming presidential election and they are seeking interim relief from court due to “the grave and irreparable harm and damage that would be caused to them and the citizens of Sri Lanka (including the threat to the country’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and national security) if a non-citizen is permitted to contest for the presidency.”
In its reasons the CA said that as this judgment involves pre-19A provisions. Under the pre-19A Constitution, the President was the repository of executive power, and could function as any Minister which had not been assigned.
The CA also said that the pre-19th Amendment Constitution also gave the President full executive power to appoint a cabinet.
Viyangoda and Thenuwara had initially complained to the police after reports appeared in the newspapers alleging that there were issues regarding the awarding of Dual Citizenship to Gotabaya and the subsequent award of full citizenship, NIC and Sri Lankan Passport.
The CID which investigated the report found that the Immigration Department and other officials were not forthcoming with information and reported as such to the Magistrate.
It was based on the “B” report filed by the CID that the two petitioners filed the Writ Application before the Appeal Court.
Kithmina Hewage- Institute of Policy Studies