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* DG of Health Service says situation in the country is satisfactory to hold elections, SC told
Sat, May 23, 2020, 09:31 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

May 23, Colombo: President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva told the Supreme Court yesterday that Director General of Health Services Dr. Anil Jasinghe had informed the Secretary to the President that the current situation in the country is satisfactory to proceed with the general elections.

Romesh de Silva, President’s Counsel representing the Secretary to the President PB Jayasundara made this claim when several fundamental right petitions challenging the President’s gazette dissolving parliament and the date for the General Election set by the Election Commission were taken up before a five-member bench of apex court for the fifth consecutive day.

The five- judge bench of the Supreme Court comprised Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya and Justices Buwaneka Aluvihare, Sisira de Abrew, Priyantha Jayawardena and Vijith Malalgoda.

The President’s Counsel stated that it is puzzling why the Election Commission is delaying the election process when the Director General of Health Services Anil Jasinghe has informed the Secretary to the President by a letter that he sees no impediment to holding the General Election

President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva handed over the letter sent by the Director General of Health Services to the Secretary to the President and letter sent by the Election Commission to the bench.

Romesh de Silva told the court that the Director General of Health Services in his had stated that the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic had been successfully controlled in the country and since a vaccine has not been found yet for the disease, the healthcare directives should be followed.

Additional Solicitor General Indika Demuni de Silva, appearing for the Attorney General, on behalf of the President, said the President’s proclamation to dissolve Parliament and the gazette issued by the Elections Commission to hold elections on June 20 were legal directives. The lawyer further stated that the Election Commission has issued a statement on the Rs 5,000 allowance given by the government to the people who have lost their daily income due to COVID-19 pandemic stating that it should be depoliticized.

President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva pointed out to the court that the Rs 5,000 allowance was given to the people not as a result of political need but with the intention of easing the economic burden of people hit hard by the pandemic and the resultant lockdown. Not only the government in Sri Lanka, but other countries also provide similar relief to their people under the prevailing situation.

Additional Solicitor General Indika Demuni de Silva, appearing for the Attorney General, on behalf of the President, said the President’s proclamation to dissolve Parliament and the gazette issued by the Elections Commission to hold elections on June 20 were legal directives.

 

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