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No Action to Remove Geetha Kumarasinghe as MP until May 15th Orders Supreme Court

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By

Lakmal Sooriyagoda

The Supreme Court today issued an Interim Order until May 15, staying the operation of the judgment made by Court of Appeal which declared that Geetha Kumarasinghe disqualified as Member of Parliament and thus not entitled to hold this office.

However, President’s Counsel J.C. Weliamuna appearing on behalf of two Galle district residents informed Court that his clients and other respondents were yet to receive notices and thereby raised objections for any hearing into matter.

Through an appeal petition, Galle District UPFA MP Geetha Kumarasinghe sought an order to set aside the judgment dated May 3, 2017 by Court of Appeal.

A three-judge-bench comprising Justice Buwaneka Aluvihare, Justice Priyantha Jayawardena and Justice Anil Goonaratne decided to fixed the matter for support on May 15 and directed the respondent-petitioner to serve notices on respondents before next support date.

President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva appearing for MP Geetha Kumarasinghe moved Court that an interim order be issued staying the operation of judgment made by Court of Appeal since this application is a matter of urgent necessity.

President’s Counsel J.C. Weliamuna informed Court that his clients were yet to receive notices regarding the appeal and said he had just appeared in Courts following newspaper publications that this matter was to be taken up for support on May 12.

“We are yet to receive notices regarding the appeal and expecting to raise preliminary objections. This petition should not be heard today because, the papers have not been served on the respondents. The Court should not be given any privileges to this petitioner and should allow to follow nomal procedure. This application should not be taken up for any consideration as it is still ex-parte case,” Weliamuna added.

He further submitted to Court that the petitioner Geetha Kumarasinghe had committed an offence tantamount to contempt of court following the Court of Appeal order. “By ignoring the Court of Appeal order, she attended in parliament sessions and enjoyed the parliamentary privileges”. Weliamuna further said.

Counsel Chandaka Jayasundara with Pulasthi Rupasinghe appearing for UPFA General Secretary raised objections for any hearing into matter including a stay order in the absence of respondents.

Meanwhile, Deputy Solicitor General Janak de Silva appearing on behalf of the Secretary General of Parliament informed Court that he just received instructions to appear on behalf of Secretary General of Parliament.

The petitioner had sought an interim order to stay the operation of the judgment made in the writ application bearing No.CA Writ 362/2015 by Court of Appeal. This petition will be taken up for support on May 12.

In this petition, Geetha Kumarasinghe had cited N.W.E. Buwaneka of Beddegama, J.K. Amarawardhana of Yatalamatta, A.C. Gunasekara of Unawatuna, J.K. Wijesinghe of Ambalangoda and H.L. Prasanna Deepthilal of Galle, Controller General of Immigration and Emigration, the Secretary General of Parliament and several others as respondents.

Delivering its judgment on the writ petition filed by five residents of Galle district, the Court of Appeal on March 3 held that in terms of the Article 91(1) (d) (xiii) of the constitution, the first respondent Geetha Kumarasinghe is not qualified to be elected as a Member of Parliament since she holds dual citizenship of both Switzerland and Sri Lanka.

The Court of Appeal had further directed the Attorney General to take necessary steps to formulate a mechanism to recover the expenses caused to state by Geetha Kumarasinghe while she was functioning as a Parliamentarian to sit and vote in Parliament.

This is the first time in Sri Lanka the qualifications of a Parliamentarian had been challenged through a writ petition over a dual citizenship issue.

The Court of Appeal maintained that a report submitted by the Department of Immigration and Emigration by August 2015 had confirmed that the first respondent Geetha Kumarasinghe was holding dual citizenship.

Courtesy: Daily News

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