Sept 07, Colombo: The Court of Appeal today (07) issued an interim order directing the Commissioner General of Prisons to allow Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Ratnapura District Parliamentarian Premalal Jayasekara, who was elected to parliament while serving a death sentence, to attend Parliamentary sittings.
Ratnapura District Parliamentarian Premalal Jayasekara, who has been sentenced to death, has filed a writ petition seeking the court to order the Commissioner General of Prisons to allow him to attend the sittings of Parliament.
The decision was given after consideration of the writ petition by a two judge-bench comprising Court of Appeal Chairman AHMD Nawaz and justice Sobhitha Rajakaruna today.
Announcing the decision, Court of Appeal Chairman Judge Nawaz said in open court that no court decision had been issued yet stating that the election of Premalal Jayasekara as a Member of Parliament was illegal.
Accordingly, there is no legal impediment for the petitioner to enjoy all the rights of a Member of Parliament as per the Constitution and there does not appear to be a legal impediment to his being sworn in as a Member of Parliament.
Accordingly, the court decided to proceed with the petition and issued notices to the Commissioner General of Prisons Thushara Upuldeniya, the Welikada Superintendent of Prisons and the Secretary General of Parliament, who have been named as respondents.
The court also ordered that the petition be called on the 29th of this month. The bench also issued notice to the respondents to appear before the court on the 29th.
President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva appeared before the Court of Appeal on behalf of the convicted Member of Parliament. President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva told the court that it was against the law for prison authorities to refuse to take his client to parliamentary meetings. Therefore, he asked the court to issue an order to the respondents allowing his client, who was elected by popular vote, to attend the sittings of Parliament.
Speaking on behalf of the Attorney General, Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle said that there was no legal provision in the Constitution for such an accused to go to Parliament as he had already been sentenced to death.
The petitioner states that he was convicted of murder and sentenced to death by the Ratnapura High Court and that he has appealed to the Court of Appeal against the sentence. Despite this, the prison authorities are refusing to take him, who was elected to Parliament at the last general election, to a parliamentary session, according to petitioner Premalal Jayasekara.
The verdict was given after considering all those factors.