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Second petition filed against NL appointments naming 45 respondents



Article 99A: A constitutional fraud, DEW alleges in affidavit to SC


By Shamindra Ferdinando 

Former General Secretary of the Communist Party D.E.W. Gunasekera in an affidavit given to the Supreme Court in respect of the controversial Section 99A of the Constitution that dealt with National List appointments has alleged that the then Speaker, the late E.L. Senanayake, perpetrated an unprecedented constitutional fraud by signing a smuggled in 14th Amendment into the Constitution, instead of what was passed by Parliament. 

In the July 11, 2021 dated affidavit, ex-lawmaker Gunasekera said that the Speaker’s action violated Articles 82 (5), 82 (6) and 125 of the Constitution. This written declaration made under oath is a key ingredient in a petition filed by public interest litigation activist and General Secretary of Vinivida Peramuna, Nagananda Kodituwakku, against the appointment of Ven. Atureliye Rathana (42 respondent), UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe (43 respondent) and Basil Rajapaksa (44 respondent) on the National Lists of the Ape Jana Bala Pakshaya, UNP and SLPP, respectively. 

Referring to the first petition filed by him in this regard, lawyer Kodituwakku told The Island that a second petition on the same matter expanded the list of respondents from 12 to 45. The respondents included, members of the Election Commission, former Chairman of the EC Mahinda Deshapriya (2 respondent), who is the current Chairman of the Delimitation Commission and the Attorney General. 

Vinivida Peremuna hasn’t so far received recognition as a registered political party. According to the petitions made available to The Island, the Supreme Court has been moved in terms of Articles 82 (6), 125 and 126 of the Constitution. 

Petitioner pointed out that Ven. Rathana and Wickremesinghe had been accepted by the EC as NL members in violation of the stipulated 7 day period for such appointments, whereas US citizen Basil Rajapaksa wasn’t included in the SLPP NL nor or on any district list at the last general election.  

EC Chairman attorney-at-law Nimal Punchihewa (3 respondent) told The Island that the 20th Amendment to the Constitution enacted in Oct 2020 abolished foreign citizenship being an impediment to enter Parliament on the NL. A vacancy created by the resignation of SLPP NL member Jayantha Ketagoda (30 respondent) has been filled by Basil Rajapaksa in terms of the Section 64 (5) of the Parliamentary Election Act No 01 of 1981 as amended by the Act No 35 of 1988.  

The Parliament consists of 196 elected and 29 appointed members. Following the last general election held in August 2020, 29 NL seats, in terms of the countrywide votes received by political parties have been allocated to seven with the SLPP being the largest beneficiary. The SLPP obtained 17 NL slots whereas the SJB followed with 7. Five other political parties shared the remaining six seats. 

Petitioner Kodituwakku has argued that the direct violation of Article 82 (5) made 99A introduced through fraudulent means nonexistent. According to the petition Article 99A had been produced by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Franchise and Election appointed by the Speaker on July 08, 1983. The said Article had been submitted to the Parliament on March 08, 1988 after 5 years of deliberations. The Article 99A introduced by the said 14th Amendment Bill was a verbatim of the Article 99A approved by the said Select Committee in which there was no provision at all for nominations of any person outside the names published under Article 99A for the information of the voters, which had been confirmed by the Chairman of the Select Committee, Ranasinghe Premadasa, the, then Prime Minister, who presented the14th Amendment Bill to the Parliament on May 03,1988. 

The petitioner sought the appointment of a Special Bench in terms of Article 132 (3) (iii) to hear and determine the application on the basis of it being of public and national importance. The petitioner also requested for the repealing of the 14th Amendment.


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Explanation sought over Monetary Board Secy.’s sudden transfer



Rohini calls for social media campaign against govt. move

By Shamindra Ferdinando

 The Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) has sought an explanation from the government over the sudden removal of the Secretary to the Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, K.M.A.N. Daulagala on16 Sept.

Matale District lawmaker Rohini Kaviratne yesterday (19) questioned the rationale behind Assistant Governor Daulagala’s removal. The former UNP MP emphasised that Daulagala had played a critically important role in the Central Bank’s response in the wake of Treasury bond scams perpetrated in 2015 and 2016. Therefore, her removal was quite suspicious and might facilitate efforts to suppress those scams as well as future frauds as well.

MP Kaviratne represented the UNP during Ranil Wickremesinghe’s tenure as the Prime Minister (2015-2019).

Declaring that Daulagaha had been at the forefront of the efforts to create a clean administration, Kaviratne stressed that she was second only to Rohini Nanayakkara of the Bank of Ceylon (BOC) and earned the respect of all for courageously taking a stand against fraudulent practices.

The SJB spokesperson said that Daulagala, in her capacity as the head of the non-banking sector financial institutions, handled the ETI investigation at the onset (2010-2012) of the probe. In the wake of her recommendations pertaining to the ETI being rejected by the Central Bank, she received a transfer to another section, MP Kaviratne said.

The Monetary Board is responsible for making all policy decisions related to the management, operation and administration of the Central Bank. It comprises Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Finance Secretary S.R. Attygalle, Sanjeeva Jayawardena, PC, Dr (Mrs) Ranee Jaymaha and Samantha Kumarasinghe.

Cabraal, who served as the Governor (2006-2014) recently replaced W.D. Lakshman on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s request.

Kaviratne asked who had benefited from the removal of the Secretary to the Monetary Board?

MP Kaviratne said that Daulagala had been involved in the internal process following the first Treasury bond scam and the subsequent developments, including the coordination between the Central Bank and the Attorney General’s Department pertaining to the Treasury bond scams. Urging women’s organsations, civil society and law abiding citizens to take up Daulagala’s removal through social media, lawmaker Kaviratne said that the issue at hand should receive attention of the parliament.

“The Parliament is responsible for public finance. The Parliament cannot turn a blind eye to what is going on in the Central Bank. The national economy is in such a perilous state every effort should be made to investigate past frauds and thwart future adventures,” the MP said.

MP Kaviratne also recalled the role played by Deepa Seneviratne, Superintendent of Public Debt at the time of the first Treasury bond scam in exposing the then Governor’s culpability. “Unfortunately, we seem to be unable to change the direction regardless of exposure of past misdeeds,” she said.

Declaring that she had no intention of protecting any wrongdoer under any circumstances, MP Kaviratne said that the incumbent government should ensure transparency and accountability in public finance.

Examination of COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises), COPA (Committee on Public Accounts) and COPF (Committee on Public Finance) proceedings revealed a frightening picture, lawmaker Kaviratne said. Shocking revelations made by the watchdog committee should be examined against the backdrop of overall deterioration of the national economy over the past several years, the MP said.

She said that it would be a grave mistake on the government’s part to blame the current crisis on the raging Covid-19 epidemic. Acknowledging the difficulties caused by the economic downturn, MP Kaviratne said that the country was paying a huge price for unbridled waste, corruption, irregularities and negligence.

The MP asserted that the citizenry could play a bigger role in a political campaign on social media. The vast majority of those who use social media strengthened democratic opposition, she said. Removal of Daulagala could be a rallying point, she said, urging public onslaught on the SLPP government.

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Those responsible for Easter carnage will be haunted eternally – Bishop Galle



Text and pictures by PRIYAN DE SILVA

The Chief Celebrant of the 114th annual feast of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Matara, Bishop of the Diocese of Galle, Rev. Dr. Raymond Wickremasinghe told a virtual congregation that the conscience of those responsible for the Easter Sunday carnage would never be at peace and it would haunt them eternally.

 The celebrations of the 114th annual Feast of the National shrine of Our Lady of Matara commenced on 05 September with the raising of the flagstaff and ended on Sunday 12 September. This year’s feast was held in keeping with strict health guidelines sans public participation.

 Rev Dr. Wickremasinghe reiterated that it was the wish of the general public, especially all Christians that those who carried out and those masterminded and those who knew but did not prevent the Easter Sunday carnage would be exposed and Justice served. “It is our prayer that the divine father guides the authorities in their endeavours” the Bishop added

 Rev. Wickremesinghe also called upon every person including decision-makers to heed the advice of the experts and act intelligently to overcome the pandemic.

 The Marian procession carrying the miraculous statue of our lady of Matara. accompanied by clergy and security personnel paraded the town, concluding this year’s festivities.

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Wild jumbos destroy houses in search of newly harvested paddy




KANDY— Herds of wild elephants raid Ududumbara and Minipe area sdestroying houses in search of newly harvested paddy.

Farmers of Minipe, Hasalaka and Udadumbara keep paddy in their houses as they are without proper storage facilities.

Kandy District Secretary Chandana Tennakoon visited the house of a farmer destroyed by elepheants in Kongahaela, Hasalaka.

The victim informed the District Secretary Tennakoon that a herd of elephants including young ones were roaming had attacked his house.

Similar complaints were made to the District Secretary by farmers at Minipe, Hasalaka, Welgala, Ulpathagama and Udunuwara.

The farmers said at least they should be provided with an adequate number of elephant crackers to scare the elephants away. The farmers had to travel about 30 km to the Randenigala Wildlife Office office to receive one cracker each, they said, adding that they needed many more.

District secretary Tennakoon told the farmers that steps would be taken to resolve the issue this year by putting up an elephant  fence around the affected villages of Ududumbara, Medsadumbara, Minipe and Hasalaka sector.

The project would cost about Rs. 100 million. The length of the fence would be about 43 km, he said.

Divisional Secretary of Minipe Nuwan Hemachandra and Deputy Director of Plan Implementation Palitha Rajapakse were present.

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