DSG asks court to dismiss Gammanpila’s petition for failure to provide copy to Speaker within stipulated time

Registration of displaced electors of North of East Bill


By Chitra Weerarathne


UPFA MP Udaya Gamanpila had failed to hand over to the Speaker of Parliament a copy of his petition against the Bill, pertaining to the Registration of Electors in the North and East, as prescribed in the Article 121(1) of the Constitution, the Supreme Court was told yesterday.

The Deputy Solicitor General Janak de Silva, who appeared for the Attorney General cited as a respondent in the petition filed against the Bill pertaining to the registration of displaced electors of the North and East, told the Supreme Court that Article 121(1) allows a persons to involve the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in respect of a Bill within one week of the date on which the Bill was placed on the order paper of Parliament. A copy of the petition should be delivered to the Speaker at the same time. The Bill was placed on the Order Paper on May 3, 2017.

The petition was filed on May 9, 2017. He should have at the same time given a copy to the Speaker. 

It was posted on May 9, May 10, 11 were Vesak holidays. The Speakers got it on May 12 only. The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court has not been duly involved. The petition should be dismissed in limine.

 Petitioner Udaya Gammanpila is a sitting a Member of Parliament. He has easy access to the Speaker.

The Deputy Solicitor General said this impending law is not new. The Act of 2013, which opened the door to the Tamil Diaspora to come and vote in Sri Lanka, was not challenged. Only the new issue was being challenged. It was Act No. 27 of 2013 on the same issue.

 The Supreme Court had held that the Bill of 2013 was constitutional. The Deputy Solicitor General said the judgement had been delivered by three judges of the Supreme Court.

Counsel Manohara de Silva (for the petitioner): Then let this Bill be determined by a fuller Bench.

The Deputy Solicitor General: That is being suggested at a very late stage.

From 1983 up to 2012, no enumeration of electors was done in North and East. All elections up to 2010 were done on the old electoral registers. In 2010, after the clearance, enumerations were done in the North and East. In 2011, the true voters’ lists were prepared for North and East with correct statistics.

The Bill of 2013 seeks to provide the displaced persons to go back to the North and East and to vote in the villages where they were living at the time of displacement.

This is to give the chance to register to persons who had to leave their homes for no fault of theirs.

The Bench comprised Chief Justice Priyasarth Dep, Justice Sisira De Abrew and Justice Nalin Perera.

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