AG's views sought on anti-NE merger petition
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 07 May 2002, 21:20 GMT]
The Court of Appeals Tuesday decided to obtain the views of the Attorney General about a petition filed against the permanent merger of the Northern and Eastern provinces, before holding a referendum on that matter.
The petition filed by the Chief Incumbent of Seruvila Raja Maha Vihare Venerable Seruvila Saranakeerthi Thera Tuesday came up for hearing before Justice Ms. Shiranee Thilakawardne.
The Venerable Saranakeerthi Thera, who is also a monitor appointed by the Sri Lanka government to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission in Trincomalee, has stated in his petition that there should not be a permanent amalgamation of the Northern and Eastern provinces without holding a referendum on that matter.
The Court of Appeals Judge said that she wanted to consult the Attorney General before proceeding with the petition and put off the hearing for June 4.
The northern and eastern provinces are temporarily merged under the Indo-Sri Lanka pact signed by then President Jayawardene of Sri Lanka and the then Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi, in 1987. According to the agreement, a referendum should be held for permanently merging the two provinces one year after the agreement came into force. However, fifteen years have passed without any referendum.
The Venerable Thera's petition is based on the premise that the interim administration being proposed under the present peace process presumes the Northern and Eastern provinces as one unit.