Samagi Jana Balawegaya files petition against holding General Election on June 20
Posted on May 6th, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

A Fundamental Rights (FR) petition has been filed challenging the Gazette notification issued by the Election Commission declaring the General Election on June 20 as well as the Gazette notification on the dissolution of Parliament.

The General Secretary of Jathika Samagi Jana Balawegaya and former UNP Parliamentarian Ranjith Madduma Bandara has lodged the said petition.

The Attorney General in lieu of the President, Election Commission’s Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya and its members President’s Counsel N.J. Abeysekara and Prof.S. Rathnajeevan H.Hoole and the Attorney General have been cited as the respondents.

Mandatory provisions have been provided by the Constitution to fix a date for the parliamentary election and convene the new Parliament not later than 3 months from the dissolution of Parliament, the petitioner has said.

Accordingly, the President had published a Gazette notification on March 02, dissolving then-Parliament and the General Election was subsequently declared to be held on April 25, the petitioner stated, adding that the Election Commission later decided to postpone the poll to June 20 due to the local outbreak of COVID-19 virus.

However, the new date set for elections by the Election Commission is against the provisions of the Constitution, he has explained.

In addition, the Gazette issued by the President is invalid due to the failure to convene the new Parliament within 3 months of dissolution of the previous Parliament, the petitioner has argued.

According to the Appropriation Bill passed by the Parliament on the 23rd of October 2019, the current government is authorized to disburse state funds only until April 30, he argues further.

The petitioner went on to say that the President has rejected the requests made by the Joint Opposition to reconvene the dissolved Parliament and to approve necessary funds.

It is unconstitutional for the government to expend state funds without the approval of the Parliament, he added.

Hence, the petitioner seeks the Supreme Court to deliver a verdict that the government has violated fundamental rights through its actions.

He also requested the Supreme Court to rule that holding the General Election before the threat of COVID-19 is eliminated is a violation of fundamental rights.

The petitioner further urged the Supreme Court to issue an interim order declaring the temporary invalidation of the two gazette notifications on the dissolution of Parliament and holding the General Election on June 20.

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