Local elections amended bill before Supreme Court

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 03 November 2010, 14:13 GMT]
Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court Tuesday granted time to the petitioners and the intervenient petitioners to file their written submissions before November 8 in regard to two Bills-Local Authorities (Special Provisions) Bill that seeks to amend the Municipal Council Ordinance, the Urban Council Ordinance and the Pradeshiya Saba Act No 15 of 1987 and the other entitled “Local Authorities Elections (Amendment Bill)” that seeks to amend the Local Authorities Elections Ordinance”.

The three-member bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justices Shiranee Bandaranaike, P .A. Ratnaike and S. I. Imam had commenced inquiry into the petitions challenging the two Bills that they are unfair to smaller parties.

Several petitions filed against these Bills including by two Professors, Ranjit Amerasinghe, Senior Advisor to the Ministry of Constitutional Affairs and Prof. Narendra Bandara, head of the Department of Political Science of Peradeniya University, Jaffna district parliamentarian Mavai Senathirajah of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchchi (ITAK), the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) came up for hearing.

They claimed that the Bill was in violation of the people’s right to equality and freedom of speech and assembly guaranteed under the Constitution. They asked the Supreme Court to direct that the Local Authorities Elections (Amendment) Bill be placed before the people for approval or rejection at a referendum.

ITAK in its petition further said that the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) had not ratified these amendments and there was no elected administration to the NPC.

Counsel D.r Jayampathi Wickremaratne appeared for petitioners-professors.

Counsels M. A. Sumanthiran, instructed by Mohan Balendra, appeared for ITAK, Viran Corea appeared for the CPA, and Nizam Kariyappar appeared for SLMC.

Additional Solicitor General A. Gnanathasan and Senior State Counsel Nerin Pulle appeared for the Attorney General in respect of different petitions.

 

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