Decision on hearing petition against Ranilís MP seat to be delivered in May

Decision on hearing petition against Ranilís MP seat to be delivered in May

February 26, 2019   05:34 pm

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The Court of Appeal has today (26) ordered that the decision on allowing the hearing of the petition, which seeks Quo Warranto preventing Ranil Wickremesinghe from being a Member of Parliament, will be delivered on 21st of May.

The order was issued by Appeals Court judge bench consisting of Judges Shiran Gunaratne and Priyantha Fernando.

When the petition was taken up on 12th February, the attorneys representing the respondents of the case, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, UNP Secretary General Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Bank of Ceylon and People’s Bank, had raised preliminary objections seeking the void of the petition without hearing.

President’s Counsel K. Kanageeswaran appearing on behalf of PM Wickremesinghe had stated that the petitioners have submitted neither original copies nor certified copies of the documents they had presented along with the petition.

Stating that this is a violation of the Supreme Court’s rules, PC Kanageeswaran, hence, sought the Appeals Court to void the petition without conducting a formal hearing.

Representing the petitioner, President’s Counsel Uditha Ihalahewa responded that submitting the original copies of these documents is unnecessary since most of these documents are public records.

Concerning the objection raised by the respondents, which stated that the petitioner had to name the Attorney General as one of the respondents of the petition is a defect of this petition, PC Ihalahewa said that this also unnecessary.

Hence, PC Ihalahewa sought the court to reject the preliminary objections raised by the respondents and to set a date for the hearing of the petition.

Considering the submission presented, the judge bench informed that the decision on the proceeding of the hearing would be delivered on 21st of May.

The petition, filed by Sharmila Gonawala, the Co-President of ‘Women for Justice’, states that PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is a shareholder of Lake House group and that Lake House Printers and Publishers PLC, a company in that group, is engaged in the business of printing of check leaves for the state-owned Bank of Ceylon and People’s Bank.

The petitioner hence argues that by doing business after entering into contracts with Bank of Ceylon and People’s Bank, as a shareholder of Lake House, Ranil Wickremesinghe has become ineligible to hold a seat in parliament.

She states that as per Constitutional provisions, under this condition Wickremesinghe is not qualified to hold office as a Member of Parliament (MP).

She has further sought an interim order preventing PM Wickremesinghe from Parliament sitting and voting.

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