The Court of Appeal today issued notice on the North Central Province Governor MaheepalaHerath and four others returnable on July 12.

The notices are in respect of a writ petition filed, challenging the Governor’s decision to reinstate Chairman of Rambewa Pradeshiya Sabha, disregarding an inquiry report in which the Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman found guilty for 14 out of 15 charges.

The Vice-Chairman of the Rambewa PradeshiyaSabha has filed a writ petition in the Court of Appeal seeking an order restraining the incumbent Chairman from functioning as the Chairman of the Rambewa Pradeshiya Sabha.

The petitioner Salibuge Thaibu, the Vice Chairman of Rambewa Pradeshiya Sabha is challenging the reinstatement of the PradeshiyaSabha Chairman Mahanamage Ajith Prasannawho was initially suspended by the Governor of the North Central Province for alleged mismanagement of public funds.

Court of Appeal two-judge-bench comprising Justice M. T. M. Lafar and Justice K. K. A. V. Swarnadhipath called for the entire report of the inquiry conducted against the Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman as per the Gazette Notification issued by the Governor.

The Petitioner states that he contested for the Local Government Elections in 2018 as a candidate of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna(SLPP) and was elected as a member of the Rambewa Pradeshiya Sabha, and subsequently appointed the Vice Chairman of the PradeshiyaSabha in 2018.

The present Chairman Mahanamage AjithPrasanna was appointed as the Chairman in 2018 amidst opposition by a majority of the elected members. He was appointed based on a policy decision taken by Sri Lanka Podu Jana Peramuna.

The petitioner said the present Chairman during his previous term also had the same allegation of mismanagement of public funds and improper administration. But he was nevertheless appointed the Chairman.

The Petitioner and the other elected members on several occasions had written to the senior leadership of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna and the other relevant authorities complaining about the conduct of the Chairman.

Finally, an institutional inquiry was conducted by the then Commissioner of the Department of Local Government and a report had been handed over to the Governor of the North Central Province Mahiepala Herath.

The Governor Mahiepala Herath by an order dated 01.01.2021 published in Gazette Extraordinary No. 2208/48 dated 01.01.2021 temporarily suspended Mahanamage AjithPrasanna from the post of Chairman of the Rambewa Pradeshiya Sabha with immediate effect, and appointed the Vice Chairman, (Petitioner) to execute and exercise duties and powers of the office of the Chairman of the Rambewa Pradeshiya Sabha.

The Governor also appointed Saman WickramaWickramarachchi, a retired High Court Judge to conduct an inquiry against the Chairman.

The Chairman of the Rambewa PradeshiyaSabha was charge-sheeted on 15 charges by the retired High Court Judge Saman WickramaWickramarachchi. At the end of the inquiry, Mahanamage Ajith Prasanna found guilty of 14 out of 15 charges and acquitted from the 15th charge. Subsequently, the inquiry report handed over to the Governor.

Governor Maheepala Herath by an order dated 01.04.2021 published in Gazette Extraordinary No. 2222/40 dated 08.04.2021, reinstated Mahanamage Ajith Prasanna as the Chairman of the Rambewa Pradeshiya Sabha stating that he had received and studied the report of SamanWickrama Wickramarachchi.

The petitioner stated that the Governor reinstated a person who was found guilty of14out of 15 charges and had disregarded the inquiry report of the inquiring officer acting contrary to the existing law and he has also withheld information from the public without making the inquiry report available for public inspection.


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