The Supreme Court today (21) dismissed all five Fundamental Rights (FR) petitions filed challenging the appointment of business tycoon Dhammika Perera as a Member of Parliament.
The petitions were taken up by a three-judge bench comprising Justices Priyantha Jayawardena, Yasantha Kodagoda and Arjuna Obeysekera.
Earlier this month, several petitioners including the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) filed FR applications challenging Perera’s appointment through the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) National List following former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa’s resignation.
The petitioners noted that a person is only entitled to be nominated to fill such vacancy if the name was included in the district nomination papers or the National List submitted by the relevant political party. The name of Dhammika Perera was not on the list submitted by SLPP to the Election Commission under Article 99A of the Constitution or in any nomination paper submitted in respect of any electoral district by the SLPP for the General Election held in 2020.
They also highlighted bias and conflict of interest caused by Perera’s appointment as an MP and possibly a Cabinet Minister, due to his ownership in a multitude of business ventures across several sectors including plantation, power generation, licensed commercial banks, finance companies and consumer goods.
Perera later gave an undertaking to the Supreme Court not to take oaths as an MP, until the Supreme Court decides whether or not to grant leave to proceed with the petitions filed against his appointment.