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* Request for dismissal of petition challenging PM's parliamentary membership
Tue, Feb 12, 2019, 09:31 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 12, Colombo: A request has been made to the Court of Appeal today to dismiss the petition challenging the eligibility of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to hold a parliamentary seat without further hearing.

The writ of quo warranto against the Premier was taken up before Court of Appeal judge bench consisting of Justices Shiran Gunaratne and Priyantha Fernando today (12).

Attorneys-at-Law representing the respondents of the case Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe UNP General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, the Bank of Ceylon and the People's Bank have made this initial objection to the court.

The petition filed by the Chair of Women's Organization for Justice Shamila Gonawala, a Colombo Municipal Council member of the Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa's party Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), accuses Wickremesinghe of doing business with the state with his family company Lake House Printers & publishers.

President's Counsel K. Kanag Iswaran representing the Prime Minister noted that according to the Supreme Court Order No. 3, when filing a petition, it is necessary to submit the original documents or certified documents to prove it.

He pointed out that most of the documents produced by the petitioner are not the original documents or duly certified documents.

Accordingly, the President's Counsel requested Court to refrain from hearing the petition filed in violation of the orders of the Supreme Court.

Confirming the preliminary objection, United National Party General Secretary Attorney-at-Law Akila Viraj Kariyawasam and the lawyers representing the Bank of Ceylon and the People's Bank presented arguments at the court.

The lawyers pointed out to the Court that the not naming the Attorney General as a respondent is an unfitness in the petition and requested the court to dismiss the petition without further consideration.

President's Counsel Uditha Ihalahewa, appearing on behalf of the petitioner, requested the court to grant time to present arguments to the preliminary objections raised by the respondents.

Accordingly, the Appellate Court ordered the petitioner to present submissions on the 26th of this month.

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, Bank of Ceylon and People's Bank.

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.

The petitioner has sought an interim order preventing PM Wickremesinghe from Parliament sitting and voting.


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