While expressing its concern regarding the attempts by state authorities to disrupt the local authorities’ elections, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) reiterated that all those responsible for interfering with the electoral process must be dealt with in accordance with the law.
Issuing a statement in this regard, the BASL emphasized that all elections are a vital part of Sri Lanka’s democratic process and must not be hindered.
The BASL noted several decisions by the government in recent weeks, purportedly aimed at managing public funds, that have had the effect of preventing the Elections Commission from conducting the elections. These include a demand by the Government Printer for the release of funds prior to the printing of ballot papers and the Secretary to the Treasury claiming that there are no funds available for the elections, despite a budget allocation of Rs. 10 billion for the purpose of elections.
The BASL stated that the conduct of the Secretary to the Treasury, the Government Printer, and other government officials and institutions over the last few weeks clearly demonstrates a concerted effort to bring the elections to a halt, thus undermining the franchise of the people and endangering the sovereignty of the people. Such attempts to prevent elections mandated by law represent an unprecedented attack on democracy and the rule of law and pose a grave threat to the electoral process in the future.
The BASL warned that such actions could set a dangerous precedent for an unpopular executive or legislature to obstruct the allocation of resources for an election and prevent the people of Sri Lanka from choosing their representatives and leaders.
The BASL also maintained that Articles 104 B (2) and 104 GG (1) of the Constitution make it clear that all state authorities are duty-bound to cooperate with the Elections Commission and that refusing or failing to do so is a criminal offense punishable with imprisonment. In terms of Article 33(c) of the Constitution, the President is also empowered to ensure the creation of proper conditions for the conduct of free and fair elections, at the request of the Election Commission.


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