SJB to appeal court decision dismissing request for injunction order

Tuesday, 23 June 2020 01:25 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • SJB says will proceed with legal action in next few days 
  • UNP insists dismissal shows suspension of 102 SJB members legitimate  
  • Both sides say priority is preparing for Gen. Election  

By Asiri Fernando

The Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) yesterday said it will seek to appeal the Colombo District Court’s decision to reject a request for an injunction order on the United National Party’s (UNP) decision to suspend 102 members from the party. 

The request was filed by SJB General Secretary and former UNP member Ranjith Madduma Bandara after the UNP issued letters asking party members who sought nominations from SJB to show cause and suspended their membership. 

The UNP decision to suspend the said members came on 29 May. The longstanding battle over the leadership of the United National Party continues as supporters of UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and SJB leader Sajith Premadasa remain divided. 

Madduma Bandara requested to issue an injunction order against the suspension of 99 members by the UNP. The case will be taken up again on 27 June, and summons have been issued for Ranil Wickremesinghe and Ravi Karunanayake to appear before court on that day.

“We will appeal the decision; we want to stand our ground,” SJB Deputy General Secretary Sujeewa Senasinghe told the Daily FT. Senasinghe is one of the UNP members whose membership is in question following the court decision. Senasinghe said that he was confident that the appeal will be filed within the next few days.   

“Regardless of the outcome of the legal action, our priority is preparing for the election and that is going as planned. The election is key,” Senasinghe said, pointing out that any issue with the UNP can be resolved after the General Election. 

The United National Party (UNP) was upbeat after the court win and stated that the court had upheld their decision to suspend the members. “Now the courts have affirmed our decision,” UNP Legal Secretary Nissanka Nanayakkara said. 

Addressing the press at Sirikotha yesterday, UNP General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam stated that the UNP had maintained that the SJB was illegal from the beginning. “What the UNP said from the beginning has been proven today, the District Court has shown that the suspension issued by the UNP is legitimate,” Kariyawasam said, pointing out that the court in a 23-page report had said the plaintiff had attempted to mislead the court by suppressing some information. 

Both Nanayakkara and Kariyawasam said that the party was now prepared to face the General Election and looked forward to rallying UNP followers before 5 August.