Court examines Dasanayake appointment
[TamilNet, Thursday, 02 December 1999, 20:18 GMT]
The appointment of D.P.S. Dasanayake as acting Commissioner of Elections by the President Kumaratunge is valid in law as it is consistent with the provisions of the constitution, Deputy Solicitor K.Sripavan told Court of Appeal today.
Mr. Sripavan was addressing Court at its hearing of two petitions challenging the appointment of the Acting Elections Commissioner.
Mr. Sripavan submitted to Court that initially the Commissioner of Elections wrote that he was ill and that the doctors had advised him to convalesce for two months.
The Elections Commissioner in his communication further requested the President to appoint a suitable person for the conduct of the Presidential polls.
Mr. Sripavan added that the Deputy Commissioner of Elections S. Arunthavachelvam wrote to the President making a request that he be relieved of election duty.
It was in that context that the President appointed an acting Commissioner of Elections for the conduct of the Presidential Polls.
However, the appointment made by the President was according to provision 103(4) of the constitution, he pleaded.
Attorney-at-law Manohara de Silva appearing for the petitioner argued that under the constitution the President is empowered to appoint an Elections Commissioner while the power to appoint the acting Commissioner of Elections lay with the Commissioner of Elections.
The appointment of an officer unattached to Elections department led to speculation over whether partiality could be guaranteed, he concluded.
The petitions sought an order to quash the appointment of acting Commissioner of Elections.
Ravaya Deputy News Editor Newton Seneviratne and former Air Marshal Harry Gunatileke are the petitioners.
The Bench comprised Justice Upali Gunawardena and Justice Asoka de Silva.
Further hearing was put off for December 8.