Colombo, June 2 (ECONOMYNEXT/newsin.asia): The Sri Lankan Supreme Court has refused leave to proceed for all 8 Fundamental Rights petitions which challenged the dissolution of Parliament and the holding of fresh elections on June 20.
The decision was unanimous by the five-judge bench and effectively dismisses all applications that sought to bring closure to the current constitutional impasse.
Early in the hearings, the Elections Commission informed the court that it cannot hold the poll on June 20.
Last night the Chief Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya said that he needs 60 to 70 days to prepare for the poll because of the guidelines given to him by the health authorities due to the COVID 19 pandemic.
The Elections Commission can now go ahead and fix a date for the Parliamentary poll.
The Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya chaired the bench and the other judges are Supreme Court Justices Buwaneka Aluwihare, Sisira de Abrew, Priyantha Jayawardena and Vijith K Malalgoda.
The National Elections Commission, the Secretary to the President and the Attorney General were named as respondents by the petitions.
The petitioners had said that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa should cancel his order dissolving parliament because the country has been without a parliament for the last three months. The proposed fresh elections could not be held due to the COVID 19 pandemic. They also pointed out that elections cannot be held on June 20 as fixed by the Elections Commission because of the pandemic.
The Election Commission had also told the court that it cannot hold the elections on June 20 as it needs 60 to 70 days to do so.
In the meanwhile, the Secretary to the President Dr.P.B.Jayasundara had written to the Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya that it is the constitutional prerogative of the President to dissolve parliament and that he does not want to go back on his decision to dissolve it. Dr.Jayasundara also said that as per the relevant law, it is for the Election Commission to fix or change the date for the elections.
It was in this context that several people speaking for the opposition approached the Supreme Court with Fundamental Rights petitions to get the dissolved parliament reconvened and the proposed elections postponed to a more acceptable and convenient date.