SC dismisses FR Petition

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The Supreme Court, yesterday (19), dismissed the Fundamental Rights Petition filed challenging the appointment of Ranil Wickremesinghe as a UNP National List Member of Parliament (MP).

The Petition filed by the General Secretary of Vinivida Foundation, Nagananda Kodituwakku, pointed out that the appointment of Wickremesinghe to the UNP National List was done in contravention to Article 99A of the Constitution, according to which it was incumbent on the UNP Secretary to nominate a person to fill the one seat obtained by the party on the National List at the General Election 2020 within one week of the intimation made by the Election Commission.

Kodituwakku observed that such failure on the part of the UNP to appoint Wickremesinghe as an MP under Article 99A of the Constitution is void and has no force in law.

When the Petition was taken up before Supreme Court Justices Gamini Amarasekera, Shiran Gooneratne, and Janak de Silva yesterday (19), it was dismissed on the grounds that there is no basis to grant leave to proceed, noting that the time limit of one-week in Article 99A is directory and not mandatory.

Further, it was observed that according to the petition, the election of Wickremesinghe as an MP was published in the Gazette on 18 June 2021, but the application was filed on 16 June 2022, nearly one year after Wickremesinghe was declared elected as an MP and thereby that the application is out of time and is liable to be dismissed.

However, the Petitioner contended that the violation is of a continuing nature and in response, the President’s Counsel appearing on behalf of Wickremesinghe pointed out that there is no averment in the petition that the alleged infringement is a continuing violation.

By Faadhila Thassim