(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –The Court of Appeal issued a stay order preventing the implementation of the Gazette notification on the delimitation of Local Government councils till 4th December.
The decision was given following the hearing of the petition filed against the delimitation of LG bodies today (22nd December).
The petition was taken up on November 16, before a three-member judge bench comprising President of the Appeal Court, Justice L.T.B. Dehideniya, Justice Kumudini Wickramasinghe and Justice Shiran Gunaratne.
Presenting preliminary objections, the Deputy Solicitor General Arjuna Obeysekara who was appearing on behalf of the Minister of Local Government and Provincial Councils and the Secretary to the ministry, stated that the petition should be rejected without being taken up for hearing.
He pointed out that not including the members of the Elections Commission and Delimitation Committee as respondents in the case was a considerable legal error and also claimed that several distorted facts have been included in the petition.
Therefore he requested that the petition be rejected without being taken up for hearing as there was no legal basis to do so.
Attorneys representing several parties including the United National Party (UNP), Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna and Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) also intervened to submit facts to the court.
They alleged that there is an attempt to postpone the forthcoming Local Government elections through this petition. The attorney called for the rejection of the petition as this would violate the fundamental rights of the voters.
The Court of Appeal stated that the decision on whether the petition will be taken up for hearing will be announced next Wednesday (22).
The petition was submitted yesterday by six citizens with voting rights, who are residents of Colombo, Kandy, Hali-Ela, Matara and Embilipitiya.
Minister of Local Government and Provincial Councils Faiszer Mustapha and the Secretary to the ministry H.T. Kamal Pathmasiri have been named as respondents in the application.
The petitioners claim that the gazette notification was issued by the minister disregarding the recommendations of the sub-committee appointed to carry out the demarcation of local government bodies.
They point out that such actions are unlawful and that the minister has no authority to do so. Therefore they request the court to issue an order invalidating the said gazette notification.