Preliminary Objections raised;costs sought by Respondents

Wednesday, 13 February 2019 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Writ of Quo Warranto against Ranil


By S.S.Selvanayagam

Counsels for the Respondent, including for Ranil Wickremesinghe, raised Preliminary Objections on the maintainability of the Writ of Quo Warranto applicationyesterday, and sought Court to award the Respondents futile costs. 

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

The Bench, comprising Justices Shiran Gooneratne and K.Priyantha Fernando fixed reply by the Petitioner to the Preliminary Objections for 26 February at 1.30 pm.

UPFA Colombo Municipal Councillor Sharmila Gonawela, who is Co-President of ‘Women for Justice’, filed the Writ of Quo Warranto (a writ or legal action requiring a person cited to show by what warrant an office is held) Petition against Ranil Wickremesinghe from being a Member of Parliament .

She cited PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, MP Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, General Secretary of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake, and two others as Respondents.

K. Kanag-Iswaran PC, appearing for Ranil Wickremesinghe, submitted that it is a pure and mandatory law that the Petition shall be filed in compliance with the Court Rule. The documents annexed hereto the Petition are not duly certified, and so the application cannot be supported.

He alleged that all documents filed are photocopies and blank papers, and he maintained that law prohibits such copies.

It is a mandatory requirement to file certified documents, and the Petition shall be supported by original or certified documents where the Rule regulates the mode of enforcing the law, he stated.

He contended one cannot proceed to the next step failing to comply with the Rule.

He invited the attention of the Court whether the documents filed by the Petitioner could be relied on.

The documents filed by the Petitioner should have been certified by the Custodian, who is legal keeper of the said documents, but they were not certified by him, and what is exhibited is total violation of Court Rule, he pointed out.

Suren Fernando, appearing for Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, in his Preliminary Objections contended that the Petitioner should have filed all documents at the stage of filing the Petition, but she did not.

He stated there is no necessary parties cited as Respondents in the Petition and so the application is futile.

He sought the Court to award futile costs to the Respondents, as the Respondents retain private counsels for themselves.

He said the documents have no signatures, and the photocopies of the documents were not signed by the Custodian. He further insisted that as the Petition was not proper, it must be dismissed in limine.

Senior Deputy Solicitor General Vikum de Abrew also raised Preliminary Objection on the maintainability of the Petition. The Petitioner seeks reliefs from the Attorney General by way of Interim Order, but Attorney General was not a party in the Petition, he said.

It is mandatory to seek to grant to maintain the status quo, but the Petitioner seeks the Court to direct the Attorney General to direct the 4th and 5thRespondents to produce certain documents.

He also pointed out the purported printer who obtained the purported contract is also not a party in the application, and the proper parties are not in court.

He pleaded to discharge the Attorney General from this matter and dismiss the Petition.

Uditha Egalahewa PC, appearing for the Petitioner, pleaded for another date for reply.

Petitioner states Ranil Wickremesinghe is a shareholder of a private institution, which had contracts for printing materials of public enterprises.She is seeking the Court to issue an Interim Order preventing Wickremesinghe from functioning as an MP until the final determination.

She states that according to the provisions of the Constitution, it has been interpreted that MPs who engage in businesses by entering into contracts with State institutions are deemed disqualified from holding a seat in Parliament.

She states while Wickremesinghe was functioning as a Parliamentarian, a company of his was involved in business with State organisations and institutions, and as such he could not act as a Parliamentarian.

She seeks the Court to declare that his membership in Parliament was null and void.

Uditha Egalahewa PC with N.K.Ashokbharan appeared for the Petitioner.

Instructed by G.G.Arulpragasam, K.Kanag Iswaran PC with Niranjan Arulpragasam appeared for Ranil Wickremesinghe, and Suren Fernando appeared for Akila Viraj Kariyawasam.  Senior Deputy Solicitor General Vikum de Abrew, with Senior State Counsel Manohara Jayasinghe, appeared for the Attorney General.