Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya yesterday filed motion in Court of Appeal moving that the writ petition which challenged the legality of Gazette Notification on the Delimitation committee Report be dismissed and to refuse the extension of the Interim Order on the next hearing date. The Attorney General in the motion also requested to advance the hearing of the writ petition which challenged the legality of the Gazette Notification on the Delimitation Committee Report, to November 30.
On November 22, the Court of Appeal had issued an Interim Order suspending the operation of the Gazette Notification dated February 17, 2017 on the Delimitation Committee Report, until December 4.
Filing a motion in the Court of Appeal, the Attorney General informed that there is an urgent need to ensure that the franchise of the people is not affected.
“As a matter of national importance, advance the hearing into the Interim Order of the application to November 30,” the Attorney General stated.
The Attorney General further informed Court that the Elections Commission has by a notice dated November 27, 2017 called for elections in respect of 93 of 133 local authorities not covered by the concerned gazette and intends to call for elections in respect of the 40 remaining authorities upon the rectification of the typographical errors contained in the said Gazette. The Court had issued an Interim order consequent to a writ petition filed by six electors who challenged the legality of the Gazette Notification issued by the Provincial Councils and Local Government Minister on the Delimitation Committee Report with regard to the boundaries in respect of Local Authorities.
The Court of Appeal’s three – judge – Bench comprising Justice L.T.B. Dehideniya, Justice Kumuduni Wickremesinghe and Justice Shiran Gunaratne had observed that in promulgating the Gazette notification, the Local Government Minister has acted ultra vires the powers vested in him under section 3D of the Local Authorities Elections Ordinance.
The Court further held that if any electoral process commenced in terms of the concerned gazette notification, irreparable damage would be caused to the people’s franchise rights. Six electors representing several Local Government institutions have filed a writ petition in the Court of Appeal challenging the legality of a Gazette Notification bearing No.2006/44 dated February 17, 2017 amending the boundaries, number of members and the constituents in respect of Local Authorities.
This petition had been filed by six electors representing the Colombo Municipal Council, Kandy Municipal Council, Panduwasnuwara Pradeshiya Sabha, Hali-Ela Pradeshiya Sabha and the Embilipitiya Pradeshiya Sabha.
The petitioners cited Provincial Councils and Local Government Minister Faiszer Musthapha, Provincial Councils and Local Government Ministry Secretary, as respondents.