Parliament alone can judge its members. Courts of law could not disqualify Member of Parliament Geetha Kumarasinghe as she never applied for Swiss citizenship. She married a Swiss national. She was conferred Swiss Citizenship involuntarily, said President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva in the Supreme Court yesterday.
He supported an application of appeal filed by Geetha Kumarasinghe of the UPFA, who was disqualified from sitting in Parliament, as she held dual citizenship of Sri Lanka and Switzerland at the time of the last general election.
Some citizens of Galle have complained to the Court of Appeal that Kumarasinghe was a dual citizen at the time of her election and could not seek nominations to contest to enter Parliament.
Romesh de Silva PC submitted that on August 25, 2015, Kumarasinghe had given up her Swiss citizenship. That document had not been submitted to the Court of Appeal.
On June 25, 2015, Kumarasinghe wanted to give up her Swiss citizenship, as she wanted to contest the elections of August 17, 2015. The Swiss authorities on August 25, 2015 stripped Kumarasinghe of Swiss citizenship. Before seeking nominations Geetha Kumarasinghe had attempted to give up the Swiss citizenship.
Kumarasinghe had written to Swiss authorities and said that Switzerland was a wonderful country, but she loved her country more. She wanted to give up Swiss citizenship. She had written to them in June 2015, the Counsel pointed out.
The Supreme Court asked Counsel Romesh de Silva P.C., whether he had an official endorsement from Swiss embassy, on these documents he had referred to.
Counsel de Silva: I will get them from my client for submission to court.
The client is not well at present. She is seeking medical treatment.
A court can only hear election petitions. Article 144 of the Constitution has given the power to the Court of Appeal to hear election petitions promptly.
Only the Parliament has the right to judge the suitability of its duly elected members, Romesh de Silva said.
The judicial power of Parliament exercised through the court was subjected to levitation on Parliamentary privileges issue, the Counsel said. A writ of quo warranto would not stand in the case of a Member of Parliament, he maintained.
The bench comprised Chief Justice Priyasarth Dep, Justice Buwaneka Aluwihare, Justice Sisira de Abrew, Justice Anil Gooneratne and Justice Nalin Perera.