ECONOMYNEXT – Lawyers for Actor-politico Ranjan Ramanayake have filed two petitions in courts, one appealing his contempt of court sentence and the other a Writ petition to prevent the Secretary-General of Parliament from stripping him of his Parliamentary seat.
The petition before the Supreme Court is unprecedented as the MP for Gampaha was convicted by the Apex Court and therefore under normal circumstances there would be no recourse to appeal.
However, Ramanayake’s lawyers are arguing under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) that anyone convicted of a criminal offence is entitled to an appeal. The ICCPR was made part of the Sri Lankan Statute in 2007.
Ramanayake was given a four-year sentence for contempt for a statement he made to reporters where he alleged corruption in the judiciary.
The petition before the Supreme Court also states that the four-year sentence is “excessive.”
The Writ Application Appeal court is arguing that Ramanayake’s conviction does not meet the criteria for disqualification to be an MP as laid out under Article 89 (d) of the constitution.
The Elections Commission has however ruled that Ramanayake can be stripped of his seat because of the conviction. (Colombo, February 2, 2021)
Reported by Arjuna Ranawana