members face legal challenge
By Laila Nasry
The position of two chief ministers and over a dozen provincial
council members who have been nominated to the post without facing
elections is set to be challenged shortly after the courts this
week held the appointment of one of the chief ministers appointed
in a similar manner was illegal.
Times learns that the petitions are to be filed before the Court
of Appeal by different groups subsequent to last week's judgment
delivered by the Supreme Court. The Commissioner of Elections also
has sought a list of all provincial councillors who have been appointed
without being on the list of candidates.
Province Chief Minister Berty Premalal Dissanayake and Western Province
chief minister Reginald Cooray and other members representing the
PA, JVP and the UNP were among those who have been appointed to
the councils without facing elections.
The JVP has
nominated the most number of members from outside the nomination
list. The Supreme Court in a 10 page judgment reversed the order
of the Court of Appeal, holding that in the event of a vacancy arising
in a Provincial Council, the power of the secretary of such a political
party to nominate an alternative is confined to candidates whose
names appeared in the original nomination list and who secured some
preferences at the election.
delivered by Justice Mark Fernando with Justices D.P.S. Gunesekera
and C.V. Wigneswaran agreeing, interpreted Section 65 of the Provincial
Councils Elections Act, which gave rise to the question whether
the vacancy can be filled by any person, and held that such an interpretation
would only give rise to an anomaly. For the fact that the nomination
paper is required to have three additional candidates than the number
to be elected is indicative that the nomination paper is a pool
from which subsequent vacancies are to be filled.
To permit the
ability to nominate an outsider can only be justified on the ground
of "supremacy of the party" which in court's view undermines
the scheme of the Act, which provides for the right of the electorate
to be represented by persons who have faced votes and obtained their
at the Section as a whole held that there was an ambiguity and that
in such an event "a court is not justified in adopting an interpretation
which has undemocratic consequences in preference to an alternative
more consistent with democratic principles, simply because there
are other provisions whether in the constitution or in any other
statute, which appear undemocratic."
said that although such office does not stand automatically nullified
subsequent to this judgment it could be challenged on the basis
of the principles enumerated in it. The Parliamentary Elections
Act provides similar provisions for the filling of vacancies of
of the clear constitutional provisions, there are a number of MPs
among JVP ranks who have stepped in to fill vacancies although their
names did not feature in the relevant nomination lists.
Human torch shocks oil town
Anguished father sets himself
ablaze near school
A 37-year-old man committed suicide by setting himself on fire in
front of his daughter's school last Thursday in protest at the authorities
refusing to allow the girl to pursue her A/L studies in the Commerce
W.A. Piyal Udayakumara
from the oil town of Kolonnawa soaked himself in kerosene and set
himself ablaze in front of the Kolonnawa Balika Vidyalaya on Thursday
evening allegedly due to refusal by the school Principal to allow
his daughter to enter the Commerce stream for her A/L studies.
Nadeeka Sevvandi had been admitted to the Arts stream. However,
her enthusiasm has been to study for her A/Ls in the Commerce stream.
"My daughter who was distressed that she is not able to study
in the Commerce stream, kept talking about it to her father often,"
Nadeeka's mother Champa Damayanthi (37) said.
runs a grocery, was equally enthusiastic about his daughter pursuing
her studies in the Commerce stream.
However, neighbours say that Nadeeka did not have the required aggregate
to enter the Commerce stream. Although she had passed her O/Ls,
Nadeeka is said to have obtained less marks in mathematics, which
disqualified her from being admitted to the Commerce stream.
Yet, her family
members deny that she had obtained less marks and claim that the
school principal cited the overcrowded classroom as an excuse and
not the lack of marks. Piyal had approached several known officials
in the educational sphere in an attempt to persuade the school authorities
to admit Nadeeka to the Commerce stream. In a final attempt, both
parents had met the Principal on Thursday.
and pleaded, but the Principal refused entry to my daughter to the
Commerce stream. She told us that the Commerce class was full and
the teacher had refused to take in any additional students,"
Damayanthi said. She claimed that her daughter had passed her O/Ls
and had the aggregate required to enter the Commerce stream.
was anxious to know the Principal's response and my husband, disappointed
over what had happened, tried to evade the topic. He borrowed Rs.
2000 from me to buy puchases for the grocery store and left the
school premises while I proceeded home," Damayanthi said relating
the events that unfolded into a tragedy.
Piyal had returned home around 1.30 in the afternoon with several
boxes of biscuits and went out again.
returned at 4.30 p.m. he asked for Nadeeka and I told him she would
be back from classes only around 6 p.m. Then he borrowed another
Rs. 200 and went out. At 5.45 p.m. my aunt came rushing in and told
me that my husband had set himself ablaze in front of the school,"
She said that
her husband had severe burn injuries so that he couldn't open his
eyes to see her. At the hospital Piyal had told his wife that he
had decided to end his life as he was frustrated at not being able
to get his daughter into the Commerce stream in school.
the sudden turn of events Nadeeka is, however, determined to seek
admission to a different school in order to pursue her studies in
the Commerce stream.
issue still deadlocked
By Chandani Kirinde
The deadlock in the Development Lotteries Board (DLB) issue is dragging
onto a fourth week, with both the Prime Minister and the DLB Chairman
yet to reply to letters sent to them by President Chandrika Kumaratunga
on the issue.
wrote to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe last Monday asking
that the letter ordering the Government Printer not to print the
relevant gazette be immediately withdrawn warning of "corrective
action" if this was not done.
for the President's Office said that the form of "corrective
action" would be decided after waiting for a few more days
for a reply from the relevant parties.
In her letter to Mr.Wickremesinghe the President dismissed government
claims that her move was "unconstitutional' stating that her
decision was in conformity with the Constitution and anybody who
thinks otherwise can seek legal remedies and not seek to thwart
the decision by extra-legal means.
A copy of the
letter was also sent to Mass Communication Minister Imthiaz Bakeer
Markar who had ordered the Government Printer not to print the gazette,
as the President's move was "unconstitutional." A spokesman
for the Prime Minister's office said the Premier is yet to reply
the letter and would not say when this would be done.
The President in her latest letter states that the Prime Minister
had failed to reply an earlier letter, which she sent to him on
May 11 on the same issue.
In a separate
letter addressed to the Chairman of the DLB J.K.Fernando on May
26, the President had directed that all payments other than recurrent
expenditure of the Board be immediately stopped especially with
regards to expenditure on publicity and advertising.
SLMM settles dispute
A possible clash between the LTTE and security forces over a search
of an LTTE political wing office was averted by the Scandinavian
monitors. The dispute arose after the monitors acting on a complaint
of the security forces arrived at the Vadmaarachchi LTTE's political
office on Friday to carry out a search for transmitting equipment.
They were accompanied by police and the army.
At the entrance,
the LTTE cadres had stopped SLMM area chief, Ole Boundm, and told
him they were against the presence of the security forces and also
could not allow the SLMM officers to carry out the search without
permission from the LTTE's Jaffna office. The LTTE area leader,
Daya, who arrived at the scene half an hour later also objected
to the presence of the security forces.
forces responded by saying that they were invited by the SLMM.
The SLMM official had intervened to prevent the argument aggravating
and had insisted that he wanted to go ahead with the search. Accordingly
the LTTE area leader said that as a sign of respect for the SLMM
he would allow to carry out the search. No Transmitting equipment
urges PM to accept interim body
The Tamil National Alliance is to meet Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe
to urge the Government to accept the proposals put forward by the
LTTE to set up an interim council.
A TNA official
said they would tell the Premier that it was the Government which
had first proposed an interim council with a big role for the LTTE.
TULF Parliamentarian Joseph Pararajasingham told The Sunday Times
that the Government had to keep to its promise.
not the LTTE which proposed this, but the Government. It was included
in the UNF election manifesto. The TNA feels that the LTTE has to
be given the authority and power to look into the administration.
The LTTE has to play a vital role in the political and financial
affairs of the North and East," Mr. Pararajasingham said.
sets sights on Presidency
Former Speaker Anura Bandaranaike has appointed a special operations
committee to support him in his bid to run for the Presidency after
the term of his sister President Chandrika Kumaratunga expires.
consists of professionals, including a leading professor, and political
activists. Mr. Bandaranaike who has hand-picked his team has wanted
them to work for his political advancement.
They will be
advising him on his strategies, speeches to be made and matters
that he will have to address specially with the upcoming SLFP-JVP
alliance. A team member told The Sunday Times that Mr. Bandaranaike
who is hoping for a major political role within the alliance will
work out a parallel political plan to strengthen his claim for the
He is also
to appoint a new media team to boost his political image. The team
comprising journalists and electronic media personnel will play
a vital role in his media campaign. He has also taken up the role
of overseeing party restructuring in the Kurunegala district and
stepped up his political role as seen in the flood relief programme
which he headed in some districts.