Petition challenging PM’s seat in Parliament rejected

The Court of Appeal today rejected the petition filed seeking a Quo Warranto preventing Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe from being a Member of Parliament.

The decision was delivered by a judge bench comprising Justices Shiran Gunaratne and Priyantha Fernando.

The petition had been filed by Colombo Municipal Council member Sharmila Gonawala.

When the petition was taken up on 12th February, the attorneys representing the respondents of the case, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, UNP Secretary General Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Bank of Ceylon and People’s Bank, had raised preliminary objections seeking the void of the petition without hearing.

President’s Counsel K. Kanageeswaran appearing on behalf of PM Wickremesinghe had stated that the petitioners have submitted neither original copies nor certified copies of the documents they had presented along with the petition.

Stating that this is a violation of the Supreme Court’s rules, PC Kanageeswaran, hence, sought the Appeals Court to void the petition without conducting a formal hearing.

The Court of Appeal accepted this preliminary objection and decided to reject the petition without taking it up for hearing.

The petition, filed by Sharmila Gonawala, the Co-President of ‘Women for Justice’, had states that PM Ranil Wickremesinghe is a shareholder of Lake House group and that Lake House Printers and Publishers PLC, a company in that group, is engaged in the business of printing of cheque leaves for the state-owned Bank of Ceylon and People’s Bank.

The petitioner hence argued that by doing business after entering into contracts with Bank of Ceylon and People’s Bank, as a shareholder of Lake House, Ranil Wickremesinghe has become ineligible to hold a seat in parliament.

She states that as per Constitutional provisions, under this condition Wickremesinghe is not qualified to hold office as a Member of Parliament (MP).

She has further sought an interim order preventing PM Wickremesinghe from Parliament sitting and voting.