On the heels of an unprecedented appeal filed in the Supreme Court, lawyers for SJB MP Ranjan Ramanayake filed an application in the Court of Appeal on Monday (1) seeking a Writ of Prohibition against the Secretary General of Parliament, to prevent the official from filling his seat in the legislature.
Ramanayake is also seeking interim relief from the Court of Appeal restraining the Secretary General of Parliament from filling his parliamentary seat until a hearing and final determination is made on his petition before court.
The Attorney General and the Secretary General of Parliament have been cited as respondents in the writ application. Ramanayake’s writ application claims in terms of Articles 66 (d) 89 (d) and 91, a conviction for contempt of court does not result in disqualification to be a Member of Parliament. Under these circumstances, the popular politician seeks to move the court to prevent the Secretary General of Parliament – the first respondent – from informing the Elections Commission that Ramanayake’s seat in Parliament was now vacant.
The disqualification to hold office as a member of parliament provisions set out in Article 89 (d) of the Constitution applies only to offences for which a punishment is prescribed in written law and therefore has no application in respect of the offence of contempt of court, the writ application argues. In any event, the writ application said, the conviction of MP Ramanayake is now under appeal at the Supreme Court. The petition added that the Secretary General of Parliament had taken no steps regarding Premalal Jayasekera, a ruling party MP who was convicted for murder and sentenced to death.
On 19 January the Attorney General informed SG of Parliament that MP Ramanayake had vacated his Parliament seat