Will be gazetted in a month: Minister to SC

Published : 9:43 am  January 31, 2017 | No comments so far |  | 


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By S.S. Selvanayagam   
Counsel Romesh de Silva PC with Sugath Caldera appearing for the Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government yesterday informed the Supreme Court that the Minister would endeavour to gazette the delimitation committee report within a month.   

He said the Minister would gazette the report after considering the appeals made by stakeholders.  

 Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle appearing for the Elections Commissioner and the Attorney General informed Court that the EC would act according to elections law no sooner the report is gazetted.   

The People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) filed a fundamental rights petition requesting that the elections to the Local Authorities be held forthwith or within a time frame provided by the Court. The matter was taken up for hearing by a Bench comprising Justices Priyasath Dep, Upali Abeyratne and Nalin Perera. The Court fixed the matter to be mentioned on March 13.   

Asthika Devendra with Danuka Nandasiri instructed by Mangala Balasuriya appeared for the petitioner while Riad Ameen appeared for the members of the Delimitation Committee.   

Minister Faizer Musthapha, Ministry Secretary, the Elections Commission, Members of the Delimitation Committee and the AG were cited as respondents.   

The petitioner said the minister or the other respondents have repeatedly postponed or delayed the holding the LG elections which were to be held in 2015 and 2016.   

It said the EC had failed to hold the elections though the Local Authorities Election Act has specifically provided for the elections to be held within a period of four months preceding the date on which the terms of office of members who are to be elected is due to begin.   
The petitioner said the citizens right to select their representatives to perform legislative and executive power at a local level had been violated arbitrarily and illegally.   

The 13th Amendment to the Constitution recognises local governance with the legislative and executive power of the people being devolved from the Central Government to Provincial Councils and to the local government institutions and that the LG institutions represent the people’s sovereign power.   

The petitioner said the exercise, performance and discharge of the rights, privileges, powers, duties and functions vested in or conferred or imposed on all local authorities are exercised by the government officers who are neither the representatives nor elected by the people to exercise the sovereign power of the people.