Sumanthiran withdraws FR petition challenging 65,000 house contract in North, East

A fundamental rights petition filed by Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran seeking an Interim Order preventing any steps being taken by Minister D.M. Swaminathan with regard to entering into a contract with a French construction company to construct 65,000 of prefabricated steel houses in the North and Eastern Provinces was yesterday withdrawn by himself before the Supreme Court.

Sumanthiran decided to withdraw his petition while it was being heard before a Supreme Court three-judge-bench comprising Justice Sisira de Abrew, Justice Anil Gooneratne and Justice Vijith Malalgoda.

President’s Counsel Upul Jayasuriya with Counsel Kalana Jayasuriya appearing for Minister D.M. Swaminathan raised objections informing court that the petitioner is challenging a decision taken by the Cabinet to construct houses in the Northern Province.

‘The Cabinet who took this decision had not been named as parties in the petition’, they urged.

In his petition, MP Sumanthiran cited D.M. Swaminathan the Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs, Arcellor Mittal Construction France and the Attorney General as respondents.

The petitioners stated that there are irregularities in the tender process awarding the contract to construct houses for the war affected to the French company. He further said that there is lack of durability of the said prefabricated steel houses and environmental unsuitability of the said prefabricated houses. The petitioner further alleged that the respondents are not employing local labour in the implementation of the project to construct the said prefabricated houses.

“I am further aware that the District Co-ordinating committees of the Jaffna and Kilinochchi Districts of which I am a member also passed unanimous decision on or around September 27, 2016 rejecting the said prefabricated steel houses,” the petitioner added.

President’s Counsel Sanjeewa Jayawardena appeared for Arcellor Mittal Construction France company.

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