- Bill pending Speaker’s certification today
A former member of the Kaduwela Municipal Council yesterday filed an application in the Supreme Court for its special determination on the bill titled ‘Local Authorities Elections (Amendment)’ which has already been passed by Parliament and is pending certification by the Speaker.
G.A. Neel Shantha, filing his petition through his attorney Dharshana Weraduwage, cited the Attorney General, Election Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya, members of the Election Commission and the Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government Faiszer Musthapha as respondents.
The petitioner states the bill, titled ‘Local Authorities Elections (Amendment)’, was published in the supplement issued on 2.6. 2017 to Part II of the Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and was placed on the order paper of Parliament for the first reading on 20 June 2017 and its second reading and third reading on 25 August 2017 and the bill was said to be passed by Parliament on the same date. However, the Speaker had not certified the bill at the time of its presentation in the Supreme Court.
He states that during the third reading of the bill, certain new major amendments had been introduced to the original bill, which were not included in the bill published on the gazette as aforesaid, which deprived the petitioner and many other classes of public servants including Samurdhi officers, development officers and Grama Seva Niladharis from contesting the next election by introducing disabilities to their being eligible to contest in the said election, which also has a retrospective effect.
He states the passage of the new amendments is contrary to the established legislative process and is an infringement of articles 78, 121 read with 124 of the Constitution as well as Articles 3 read with 4(d), 12(1), 12(2) and 14(1)(g) of the Constitution.
He claims the amendments have been introduced without the sanction of the Attorney General in terms of 77 of the Constitution.
He alleged the amendments had been introduced without the sanction of the Cabinet of Ministers and contrary to the due process established in submitting Cabinet memoranda which requires the mandatory approval of Cabinet.
He contends that the fifth respondent, the Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government, has no power to introduce the new amendments as aforesaid.
He maintains that the new amendments, which were introduced contrary to the established legislative process, are an infringement of the standing orders of Parliament.
He is asking Court to issue a stay order against the Election Commission from taking any steps to call nominations for elections till the final determination of his application.
He is pleading for a determination from the Supreme Court that the amendments introduced to the bill titled ‘Local Authorities Elections (Amendment)’ not included in the original gazetted Local Authorities Elections (Amendment) Bill, in whole or in part, are inconsistent with one or more articles of the Constitution.