Dismisses lawsuit by two political activists:

Affirms District Court judgement

A lawsuit filed by two political activists seeking an order to re-instate former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) was yesterday dismissed by the Colombo Civil Appellate High Court.

The Colombo Civil Appellate High Court two-judge-Bench comprising Judge Manilal Waidyatilleke and D.N. Samarakoon decided to affirm the Colombo District Court’s judgment without a hearing into the matter.

On September 29, 2017, the Colombo District Court dismissed this lawsuit which sought an order to re-instate former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).

However,the two plaintiffs had filed an appeal in the Colombo Civil Appellate High Court challenging Colombo District Court’s decision to dismiss the lawsuit.

Former Colombo District Judge Sujeewa Nissanka had upheld the preliminary objections raised by defendants and decided to dismiss the lawsuit in limine.

This lawsuit had been filed by two Plaintiffs former Boralesgamuwa Urban Council Chairman K.D. Aruna Priyasantha and Asanka Nandana Srinath citing the SLFP General Secretary and the Election Commission Chairman as defendants.

The SLFP General Secretary through his counsel had raised preliminary objections citing that there is no legal basis to proceed with the case.

In his preliminary objections, the SLFP General Secretary stated that plaintiffs are indirectly challenging the acts of the current President of the Republic done in his capacity as chairman of the SLFP.

“It is common ground that the chairman of SLFP is the President of the Republic. In terms of Article 35(1) of the Constitution, the President of the Republic has immunity from suit except in an action filed in terms of Article 126 of the Constitution,” SLFP General Secretary added.

The defendants further submitted that the District Court has no jurisdiction to file action against the Elections Commissioner.

“The second defendant Anura Priyadarshana Yapa has resigned from his position as the General Secretary of SLFP and cannot be named as party defendant in this action. The caption of the action identified third defendant as Sunanda Deshapriya, the Election Commissioner. There is no person who can be reasonably identified as such and in fact no such person used to act as the Commissioner of Election’, SLFP General Secretary further added.

The SLFP General Secretary maintained that the plaintiffs are seeking to circumvent the provisions of immunity from suit accorded to the President of the Republic and as such the plaintiffs’ action is liable to be dismissed in limine.

The plaintiffs alleged that the former SLFP General Secretary Anura Priyadarshana Yapa had sent a letter to the EC on or around January 16, 2015 over the appointment of a new Chairman of the SLFP.

The plaintiffs further alleged that the Executive Committee of the Party without holding a proper committee meeting, had taken the decision to make new appointments to the SLFP leadership.

President’s Counsel Chandaka Jayasundara with counsel Pulasthi Rupasinghe and Lanka Dharmasiri appeared for SLFP General Secretary. Senior Counsel Nimal Weerakkody appeared for the plaintiffs.

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