SC to deliver order on presidential election controversy on Friday

[TamilNet, Monday, 22 August 2005, 13:13 GMT]
Five- member bench of the Sri Lanka's Supreme Court Monday put off the order in the presidential election date controversy for Friday. Earlier it heard the arguments on behalf the petition of the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), all monks' party and counter petitions of the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom party (SLFP), Liberal Party (LP) and Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) along with the statement filed by the Commissioner of Election and the submission by the Attorney General on the constitutionality regarding fixing the date for the next presidential election, legal sources said.

Petition filed by the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), all monks' party has sought the SC to order the Elections Commissioner to hold the next presidential election before the end of 2005. The ruling SLFP, LP and the CPA filed counter objections in support of holding such election next year. However the Commissioner of Elections filed a statement that the next presidential election should be held this year, sources said.

The SC bench comprised Justices Mr. Nihal Jayasinghe, Mr.Nissanka Udalagama, Mr.Nimal Dissanayake and Mr.Nimal Gamini Amarathunge with the Chief Justice Mr.Sarath Silva as the Chairman, legal sources said.

The Attorney General submitted to court that the SC should deliver its order on the presidential election date controversy according to Amended Section 3 of the Sri Lankan Constitution, legal sources said.

Mr.Elmo Fernando, Counsel appeared on behalf of the Commissioner of Elections submitted to court that the Election Commission has determined that the incumbent President has commenced her second term of presidency on 22 December 1999 according to extra ordinary gazette notification. Accordingly the Elections Commissioner will fix the date of the next presidential election as empowered by the Constitution of Sri Lanka, legal sources said

In regard to the application by the incumbent President Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge seeking the advisory opinion of the Supreme Court regarding the presidential election date controversy, Mr.Sarath N.Silva, Chief Justice and the presiding judge of the bench said that the court would not deliver its advisory opinion on Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge's application along with the order on other petitions. The Chief Justice said Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge has made the application not in the capacity of President but as a personal one, legal sources said.

The Chief Justice made this comment rejecting a submission by Silva, President Counsel on behalf of Ms.Chandrika Kumaratunge submitted to court to deliver its advisory opinion on this issue along with the order on other petitions on Friday, legal sources said.

Counsel for the Centre for Policy Alternatives withdrew its one of the pleas that the Chief Justice should not be included in the five member bench as he has been mentioned by a party to this dispute that he had administered the controversial oath to Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge in December, 2000. Mr.Sarath Silva said the particular plea by the CPA had caused a slur to the judiciary, legal sources said.

Counsel Mr.Manohara de Silva appeared for the JHU, which has cited the Commissioner of Elections and the Attorney General as respondents in its petition, legal sources said.

At the conclusion of the hearing the Chief Justice announced that the order on the petition filed by JHU and counter petitions by the SLFP, LP and CPA would be delivered on Friday. The advisory opinion sought by Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge would not be delivered on Friday along with this order, legal sources said.


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