The Court of Appeal yesterday ordered Secretary General of Parliament (SGP) to maintain status quo (maintain existing state of affairs) regarding the parliamentary seat of Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Gampaha District Parliamentarian Ranjan Ramanayake, until February 12.
The two-judge-bench of the Court of Appeal comprising Justice (President) Arjuna Obeysekera and Justice Sobhitha Rajakaruna made this order consequent to a writ petition filed by Ranjan Ramanayake claiming his rights to function as a Parliamentarian.
This petition is to be taken up for support on February 11 and status quo regarding the petitioner’s parliamentary seat will be operated until February 12.
On January 11, the Supreme Court convicted Ranjan Ramanayake for the offence of contempt of court and sentenced him to a term of four years rigorous imprisonment.
Filing this petition though counsel Dinesh Vidanapathirana, the petitioner is seeking an order restraining Secretary General of Parliament from taking any steps to inform the Election Commission that he has vacated his seat as a Member of Parliament.
Ramanayake stated that irreparable harm and damage will be caused to him unless the interim relief is granted to the Petitioner inasmuch as he will be deprived of functioning as a Member of Parliament.
The Petitioner further stated that the People’s franchise would also be adversely affected if he is wrongfully prevented from functioning as a representative of his electorate.
Ramanayake alleged that Secretary General of Parliament has not taken any step in terms of section 64 (c) of the Parliamentary Elections Act in respect of Premalal Jayasekara who was elected as a Member of Parliament from the SLPP which is presently the governing party and continues to sit and vote as a Member of Parliament despite his conviction of the offence of murder and has been imposed a sentence of death.
He alleged that Secretary General of Parliament would be acting illegally, unlawfully, and inter alia in violation of Article 12(1) and Article 12(2) of the Constitution which guarantee the Petitioner the equal protection of the law and freedom from discrimination on the grounds of political opinion.