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* Another petition filed against holding General Elections amid COVID-19 outbreak
Sat, May 9, 2020, 10:03 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

May 09, Colombo: Another fundamental rights petition has been filed in the Supreme Court requesting the court to issue an injunction on decision taken by the President to dissolve the parliament and to hold General Election on 20 June.

The petition has been filed by the leader of the JHU, former minister Patali Champika Ranawaka and the leader of the Nawa Lanka Freedom Party former MP Kumara Welgama.

The petitioners have named the Attorney General on behalf of the President, Chairman of the Election Commission Mahinda Deshapriya and its members NJ Abeysekara and Ratnajeevan Hoole and the Attorney General as respondents.

The petition states that the Constitution provides a mandatory time limit of three months for a new parliament to meet from the date of dissolution of Parliament. Accordingly, the President issued a gazette notification dissolving the Parliament on the 2nd of March and the General Election was set for 25th of April.

The Election Commission has decided to postpone the general election until the 20th of June, due to the inability to hold the election on April 25 amid the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic.

Petitioners say holding an election on June 20 is contrary to the provisions of the Constitution and the gazette notification issued by the President dissolving Parliament will be invalid as a new parliament cannot be convened within three months of the dissolution of Parliament.

Furthermore, the Petitioners have observed that it is impossible to hold a free and fair election in the context of the Covid-19 crisis as the epidemic has not been controlled yet. The health risk would seriously impede campaigning efforts and voter turn outs, which are essential for a free and fair election.

The petitioners in their petition, seek the apex court to issue a decree that fundamental rights of the people are violated by holding an election before the end of the Coronavirus epidemic.

The Samagi Jana Balawegaya led by former Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa, and Center for Policy Alternatives have also filed similar fundamental rights petitions before the Supreme Court.

 

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