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Local Authorities Elections Bill disputed


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By S.S. Selvanayagam

The Supreme Court yesterday fixed for hearing on Monday the petition on the Local Authorities Elections (Amendment) Act, which has already been passed by Parliament and had been awaiting approval by the Speaker.

The bench comprised Chief Justice Priyasath Dep and Justices Anil Gooneratne and Vijith K. Malalgoda.

Former member of Kaduwela Municipal Council G. A. Neel Shantha on 30 August filed his petition citing the Attorney General, Election Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya, members of the Election Commission, the Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government Faiszer Musthapha as Respondents. Dharshana Weraduwage appeared for the Petitioner.

Petitioner states the Local Authorities Elections (Amendment) Act during the third reading had new amendments introduced to the Original Bill, which were not included in the bill published in the Gazette, which deprived the Petitioner and many other classes of Public Servants including “Samurdhi Officers, Development Officers, Grama Seva Niladharis” from contesting to the next election by introducing disabilities to their being eligible to contest in the said election, which also have a retrospective effect.

He states the passing of the said new Amendments is contrary to the established legislative process and is an infringement of Articles 78, 121 read with 124 of the Constitution as well as Articles 3 read with 4(d), 12(1), 12(2) and 14(1)(g) of the Constitution.

He claims said amendments have been introduced without the sanction of the Attorney General in terms of 77 of the Constitution.

He alleged the said amendments have been introduced without the sanction of the Cabinet of Ministers and contrary to the due process established in submitting Cabinet memoranda which requires the mandatory approval of the Cabinet of Ministers.

He contends the fifth Respondent Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government has no power to introduce the said new Amendments as aforesaid.

He maintains that the said new Amendments which were introduced contrary to the established legislative process is an infringement of the Standing Orders of Parliament.

He is seeking the Court to issue stay order against the Election Commission from taking any steps to call nominations for elections till the final determination of his application.


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