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Supreme Court to examine FR petitions on elections next week

ECONOMYNEXT – The Supreme Court will next Monday examine at least six Fundamental Rights petitions challenging the holding of the Parliamentary General Elections on June 20 the courts decided today.

At these hearings the Court will decide whether they are to accept the petitions and proceed with the cases.

A three-member bench comprising Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya and Supreme Court Justices Murdu Fernando and S Thurairajah will also consider allowing eight intervening petitions to proceed.

The first FR Petition challenging the election date was filed by Attorney Charitha Guneratne who petitioned saying that the fixing of the date was against the Constitution.

Following that at least 6 more petitions challenging the date as well as 8 intervening petitions were filed.

The other FR Petitions are filed by Journalist Victor Ivan, Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu of the Centre for Policy Alternatives, politician Patali Champika Ranawaka, the Samagi Jana Balavegaya and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress.

Among the intervening petitions is one filed by Muruttetuwe Ananda Thero.

At the outset of today’s proceedings Additional Solicitor-General Indika Devamuni de Silva informed the Supreme Court that the Attorney General is unable to appear for the Chairman and other Members of the National Election Commission who have been named as respondents in these petitions.

President’s Counsel M A Sumanthiran informed the court that the Elections Commission is due to issue the Preferential Numbers of candidates contesting the upcoming elections tomorrow.

After that is done the candidates are likely to go door-to-door campaigning for the polls and in the light of the COVID 19 threat this may be against health regulations he said.

Sumanthiran asked for an interim order preventing the EC from issuing the numbers.

The Chief Justice, in reply, said that he could not issue an order as there was no representation from the Commission and therefore he could not hear their opinion on the matter.

However, he said the EC could take an independent decision on the matter. (Colombo, May 11, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana