CA stays LG polls Gazette

Published : 9:14 am  November 23, 2017 | No comments so far |  | 

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  • Interim order  to be operative till Dec. 5
  • Gazette issued amending the boundaries, number of members and the constituent parts of wards in respect of the Local Authorities

 

By S.S.Selvanayagam

The Court of Appeal yesterday (22) issued Interim Order staying the operation of the Gazette notification on the amendment of delimitation of local authorities dated February 17, 2017 until December 5.

The Gazette was issued by the Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government Faiszer Mustapha amending the boundaries, number of members and the constituent parts of wards in respect of the Local Authorities.
The Bench comprising Justices L.T.B. Dehideniya (President/CA), Kumudini Wickramasinghe and A.L.S. Gooneratne while issuing the interim order also issued notices on the Minister and the Ministry Secretary returnable on December 5.


Pursuant to certain purported recommendations of the five-member National Delimitation Committee headed by its chairman Ashoka Peiris, the Minister has by Gazette notification dated l7th February 2017 has effected the amendments by amending the boundaries, number of members and the constituent parts of wards in respect of the Local Authorities.


Attorney General on November 16 raised the preliminary objection on the maintainability of the Writ Petition seeking to quash the decision of the Minister of Provincial Council & Local Government Faiszer Musthapha.

 

  • Amending the boundaries, members and the constituent parts of wards …
  • Blame Minister had made alterations to the number of members elected …


When the Writ petition challenging the gazette notification of the Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government Faiszer Mustapha was taken up on November 16 in the several parties namely UNP, Pothujana Peramuna, JVP, PAFFREL, CaFFE, and Eksath Jathika Nidhahas Peramuna indicated their intention to intervene to oppose the original Petition. They had been directed to file their papers on November 20 to consider whether to allow or not allow their intervention. The Court will consider their intervention on December 4 as well. Deputy Solicitor General Arjuna Obeysekera appeared for the Respondents the Minister and the Ministry Secretary had raised the objection on the ground of time limit that the petition has been filed after 9 months and the petitioners has no Locus Standi (The right or ability to bring a legal action to a court of law, or to appear in a court), there are no necessary parties in the petition namely Election Commission etc. Petitioners W.D.G.Wijeratne (Kandy District), T.Sirisena Fernando (Colombo District), R.K.M.Karuatilake Kumara ( Kurunegala District), D.K.Ariyaratne( Badulla District), J.K.Rajapaksha Senadheera( Ratnapura District), P.H.Yohan Dhanushka (Matara District) cited Minister and the Ministry Secretary as Respondents.

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Petitioners state the legislature has sought to amend the manner in which members are elected to local authorities and introduce a new electoral system which is a mixed system comprising elements of a single majority (i.e. first past the post) and proportional systems.


They state the legislature has added another aspect to the electoral process pertaining to the election of members to Local Authorities whereby certain guarantees are imposed on the election of female representatives. The said status required a comprehensive national delimitation process which was necessary for the demarcation of all local authorities into distinct wards and to determine the number of members that could be elected.

 

They contend the Minister is not empowered to cause any alteration to the number of members and the boundaries of wards. They allege the Minister has acted Ultra Vires (beyond his powers) and without jurisdiction


The President by gazette notification dated 21st August 2015 has published the number of wards, the boundaries, names, number alphabetical letter in English assigned to each ward so create on the recommendations of the National Delimitation Committee in respect of the local authorities throughout the Island, they state. The Minister of Local Government & Provincial Councils is vested with the power to cause an alteration to be made to the boundaries of the wards as published in terms of the Local Authorities Act, they state. Such alterations are required to be made on the recommendations of a Committee consisting of five persons appointed by the Minister, they state.

 

Attorney General  on November 16 raised the preliminary objection on the maintainability of the Writ Petition seeking to quash the decision of the Minister of Provincial Council & Local Government Faiszer Musthapha


Consequent to the publication of the Gazette notification dated 21st August 2017, the Minister had ostensibly appointed a Committee to ostensibly effect the alterations to boundaries of a ward, they lament.Pursuant to the certain purported recommendation of the Committee, the Minister has by gazette notification dated 17th February 2017 has effected purported amendments, they state. They bemoan several wards in Colombo and Kandy Municipal Councils as well as Kotapola, Panduwasnuwara, Haliela and Empilipitiya Pradeshiya Sabhas which were designated as Multi-member wards have been re-designated as wards which only elect one member and other several wards which elected only one member have been re-designated as Multi-Member wards. They blame the Minister had made alterations to the number of members elected from the ward in many local authorities throughout the Island.

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