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Dr Anil Jasinghe has said polls can be held – Counsel Romesh de Silva

ECONOMYNEXT- The Director-General of Health Services Dr Anil Jasinghe has informed the Secretary to the President that the COVID 19 pandemic in Sri Lanka is under control and therefore the Parliamentary General election can be held under certain conditions the Supreme Court heard today.

However Jasinghe has stated in the letter that as there is no vaccine for the COVID 19 virus found as yet there is a real danger that the disease can spread, President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva told the court.

A five-judge bench is considering seven Fundamental Rights petitions challenging the date of the elections which was initially fixed for June 20 and the President’s refusal to reconvene Parliament.

Today was the 5th day of hearings.

The Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya is chairing the bench and the other judges are Supreme Court Justices Buwaneka Aluwihare, Sisira de Abrew, Priyantha Jayawardena and Vijith K Malalgoda.

The judges have to decide whether they would grant leave to proceed for the petitions.

The petitions named the Elections Commission, the Secretary to the President P B Jayasundera and the Attorney General as respondents.

Counsel Romesh de Silva is appearing for Jaysundera.

Yesterday Counsel for the Elections Commission announced that his client has informed him that the election cannot be held on June 20 and that the Commissioners require a nine to eleven week period after the Health Authorities give the all-clear to hold the poll.

In his letter Jasinghe had said the Health Department would draw up the guidelines for the Commission to follow to conduct the poll.

Additional Solicitor-General Indika Demuni de Silva asked the court to dismiss the petitions because they were not filed within the stipulated one-month period from the announcement of the poll.

The ASG who is appearing for the Attorney General pointed out to court that the petitioners had participated in the election process by filing nominations.

“Now they challenge on the premise of supervening circumstances that the government had conducted the nomination process on public holidays and it had affected the whole election process,” she said.

Hearings will resume on Tuesday 27 after Eid. (Colombo, May 22, 2020)