A five-judge bench led by the Chief Justice today (August 23) announced it would inform President Maithripala Sirisena of the Supreme Court’s determination on whether the Provincial Council Elections could be held.
The announcement was made after concluding the examination of the President’s application seeking SC determination on whether the PC polls can take place in the absence of a delimitation report. The matter was taken up before Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya and Justices Buwaneka Aluvihare, Sisira de Abrew, Prasanna Jayawardena, and Vijith Malalgoda today.
President’s Counsel Nizam Kariyappan appearing for Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Leader Rauff Hakeem who made an application to be involved as an intermediary in the matter pointed out to the bench, that the President has no right to seek the determination on holding the Provincial Council Elections with or without the report of the delimitation committee. He pointed out that the matter should be undertaken by the National Elections Commission.
Additional Solicitor General Indika Devamuni de Silva appearing for the defence pointed out as Parliament passed the Provincial Councils Elections Act amended by Act No. 17 of 2017, that it is now a law in the country. She pointed out the delimitation process is still taking place in Parliament adding that once the process is complete the recommendations would be presented to the President and the President would make them public, following which an election can be called.
Counsel appearing for 13 intermediary parties including Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Professor Sunanda Madduma Bandara and Venerable Elle Gunawansa Thero informed the court that the Delimitation Report was rejected in Parliament and the Speaker appointed a committee chaired by the Prime Minister to re-examine the matter.
The counsel for the intermediary parties informed the court at a time when the recommendation report of the Interim Committee led by the Prime Minister was not produced, there is no legal provision to act with regard to a Provincial Council Election deviating from the parliamentary process. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe who appeared for an intermediary party informed the court the continuous delay in calling for elections due to a flaw in the Legislature or if any other party is depriving the public of exercising their right to vote stressed the elections can be held according to the previous election system in the absence of the delimitation report.