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GR denies influencing courts regarding Choka Malli’s swearing-in

ECONOMYNEXT – President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is saying neither he nor Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa exerted undue influence on the Court of Appeal to allow Ratnapura MP Premalal Jayasekara to be sworn in as a Member of Parliament.

Jayasekara, who is under a death sentence for killing a political opponent in 2015, was allowed to be sworn in by the Court of Appeal, despite the Attorney-General and the Opposition saying that legally he cannot sit in Parliament or vote on Bills.

The MP, also known as Choka Malli, was elected to the Ratnapura District by more than a hundred thousand votes.
In a discussion of Ministers of State yesterday September 10, the President had said “if the intention was to influence in this regard it should have been done at the High Court stage,” a Media Release from the Presidential Secretariat said.

“Something of this nature never occurred. The verdict was given by the judge who was appointed by the Constitutional Council,” the President was quoted as saying.

He pointed out that Karu Jayasuriya, Sajith Premadasa and Thalatha Athukorale were on the CC at the time.
“One decision is acceptable for the opposition while the other is not”. President said.

The President observed that Judge of the Court of Appeal was also appointed by the Constitutional Council itself and added that the Opposition is running a false propaganda campaign.

Referring to criticism of the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution the President had said: “the objective of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution is to remove the obstacles imposed by the 19th Amendment.”

“Everything cannot be changed overnight. It takes a long time. Various views have been expressed. We want to retain some of the features of the 19th Amendment. The primary objective is to keep the tenure of the President unchanged and to move forward,” President explained the release said. (Colombo September 11, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana

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