Business tycoon Dhammika Perera is expected to take oaths as a Member of Parliament today (22), The Morning learnt, after the Supreme Court rejected granting leave to proceed with the five Fundamental Rights (FR) petitions challenging his appointment as an MP.
The petitions were taken up by a three-judge bench comprising Justices Priyantha Jayawardena, Yasantha Kodagoda, and Arjuna Obeysekera, and delivering the verdict, Justice Jayawardena, who led the three-judge bench, said that the SC would not grant leave to proceed with the petitions pursuant to the decision of the majority the bench.
This was after the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), as well as Movement for a People’s Struggle Member Duminda Nagamuwa and journalist Roel Raymond, filed FR applications challenging the appointment of Perera to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of former Minister Basil Rajapaksa, as an MP elected under Article 99A of the Constitution (the National List).
On Monday, Dhammika Perera decided not to take oaths as an MP or Minister until the Supreme Court issued a verdict on granting leave to proceed with the petitions filed before the courts against his appointment to Parliament.
His name was proposed to the Election Commission to fill the National List Parliamentary seat vacated by the resignation of former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa. Accordingly, Dhammika Perera’s name was gazetted by the election body on 10 June as an MP from the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP).
Dhammika Perera meanwhile obtained the membership of SLPP from the SLPP General Secretary after officially submitting his consent to accept Parliamentary membership. He has also stepped down from the board memberships of all his companies ahead of taking oaths as an MP.
Perera is tipped to take up a ministerial portfolio related to the investment sector after entering Parliament through the SLPP. On 9 June, a special gazette notification was published by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, creating two new portfolios titled Minister of Technology and Investment Promotion and Minister of Women, Child Affairs, and Social Empowerment.
A total of 15 departments, statutory institutions, and public corporations, including the Department of Immigration and Emigration, Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL), Department of Registration of Persons, and Board of Investment have been listed under the Ministry of Technology and Investment Promotion, which he is expected to lead.