By S.S. Selvanayagam
The Supreme Court yesterday (17) re-fixed for support on 12 July the petition filed by retired Army Officer and former Southern Provincial Councillor Ajith Prasanna challenging the appointment of Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka as a Member of Parliament.
The bench comprised Chief Justice Priyasath Dep and Justices Sisira J. De Abrew and Nalin Perera.
The petitioner had sought an order in the nature of a Writ of Quo Warranto declaring that Democratic Party leader Field Marshal Fonseka was disqualified and not entitled to be elected as a Member of Parliament of the United National Party and thus not entitled to hold office as a Member of Parliament.
Quo warranto (‘By what warrant?’) is a prerogative writ which asks the person to whom it is directed to show by what authority he or she exercises a right or power which he or she claims to hold.
The petitioner has cited MP Fonseka, UNP General Secretary Kabir Hashim, Elections Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya and three others as respondents.
Thisya Weragoda appeared for the petitioner. S.Srikantha appeared for Fonseka. Deputy Solicitor General Neril Pulle appeared for the Attorney General.
The Petitioner states it is an infringement of the franchise of the Sri Lankan people to permit Field Marshal Fonseka to be declared elected a member of the National List of the UNP where as he was not a candidate (on the district lists or national list) of the UNP at the time of the 2015 Parliamentary Elections.
The petitioner further states the nomination of Field Marshal Fonseka, who was not a candidate of the UNP at the time of the Parliamentary Elections 2015, is abhorrent and repugnant to every known principle of democracy, franchise and the founding principles of franchise and proportional representation and the applicable provisions of the Constitution and the Parliamentary Elections Act.
The petitioner alleges Field Marshal Fonseka has now usurped and unlawfully exercised powers of a Member of Parliament despite not being qualified to hold such a position and the petitioner is entitled to seek a mandate in the nature of a Writ of Quo Warranto requiring Field Marshal Fonseka to demonstrate as to under what authority he claims to hold office as a Member of Parliament.