The Supreme Court today granted leave to proceed with a Fundamental Rights petition filed challenging the failure and refusal of several government departments to take the necessary steps to hold local government elections.


The matter came up before a Supreme Court bench comprising three judges, namely, Justices Preethi Padman Surasena, Gamini Amerasekera, and Janak De Silva, who granted leave to proceed with the petition under Articles 10, 12(1), and 14(1)(a) of the constitution.


The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) and its Executive Director, Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, filed this petition, naming the Treasury Secretary, Government Printer, Inspector General of Police, and several others as respondents.


The petitioners stated that the elections to elect persons as members of local authorities are required to be held every 04 years in terms of the relevant statutes. Elections were previously held in 2018, and the terms of the local authorities that were due to expire in 2022 were extended for a year thereafter.


The petitioners stated that the conduct of the government printer and the inspector general of police is indicative of a coordinated campaign to procrastinate the holding of local authority elections. The petitioners also stated that the President, in his capacity as Minister of Finance, and the Secretary to the Treasury had not, until the very last minute on February 23, 2023, indicated that there was a challenge in the allocation of funds to conduct the elections.


The petitioners maintained that these actions are prejudicial to the fundamental rights of the petitioners and the citizens of Sri Lanka.


The petitioners are highlighting the failure of the Government Printer, IGP, President Ranil Wickremesinghe (as Finance Minister), and the Election Commission to protect the fundamental rights of citizens by failing to take proper steps as required by law to hold elections by March 19, as made compulsory in terms of the Municipal Councils Ordinance, Urban Councils Ordinance, and Pradeshiya Sabhas Act.


Senior Counsel Viran Corea, Luwie Ganeshathasan, and Khyati Wikramanayake appeared for the petitioners. Senior Additional Solicitor General Priyantha Nawana appeared for the respondents.




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