Dec 11, Colombo: Sri Lanka's ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has been challenged in court on his eligibility to hold a parliamentary membership and his premiership.
An ally of the controversially appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has filed a petition Tuesday in the Court of Appeal against former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe holding a parliamentary seat while holding a directorship in a private institution.
The petition has been filed by the Chair of Women's Organization for Justice Shamila Gonawala, a member of the Rajapaksa's party Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) accusing Wickremesinghe of doing business with the state with his family company Lake House Printers & publishers.
The petitioner argued that the Wickremesinghe held 1.33 percent of equity in Lake House Printers & publishers, a publicly listed company, in violation of the constitution. The petition says that the company is a supplier of check books to two state-banks.
She pointed out that financial gain from contractual agreements with public institutions is illegal as a Member of Parliament and therefore, the he should be disqualified from being an MP.
She argued that Article 91(1)(e) of the constitution prevented individuals who hold any interest in public contracts running for parliament.
"In this case, we are challenging the eligibility of Ranil Wickremesinghe to hold a parliamentary seat and his right to vote in parliament," the petitioner said.
The petitioner says case is similar to case filed against MP Rajitha Senaratne in 2000 and at the time MP Senaratne lost his parliamentary seat.
The case was filed a day ahead of a vote in parliament to express confidence in Wickremesinghe and seek his reinstatement as Prime Minister.