Writ petition filed in SC to prevent LG Election
At the present crisis the entire Nation is forced with, holding a Local Government Election while spending a minimum of Rs 10 billion to elect 8000 more members Local Government Bodies would be the last thing in minds of the General public who are facing a struggle for survival.
It would only lead to a disaster and leave the General Public with additional burden and the expense to be incurred for conducting the elections would affect the economic reforms taking place in the country.
In the event if LG Elections are held and the members are elected to LG Bodies, they would not have funds to do any projects and the Government will have to spend a large sum of money on the allowances and expenses of the members elected at the expenses of the General Public who are currently affected by the present financial crisis.
With all these facts in line, a writ petition was filed by retired Colonel W.M.R. Wijesundera in Supreme Court yesterday (02) seeking an order quashing the decision of the Election Commission to hold the Local Government elections before March 10 as reported by media.
Naming the Chairman of the Election Commission and its four members, the Prime Minister, Secretary to the Ministry of Finance, Secretary of the Cabinet and the Attorney General as respondents the petitioner noted that the Respondents’ decision to continue with an election under the present system runs completely counter to the interests of the Nation and is an absolute absurdity and a disruptive move in the current context.
Although a sum of a minimum 10 billion Rupees is needed for conducting LG polls, such amount of money is not available in the treasury. As per the information obtained by the petitioner from the Election Commission using Right to Information Act, at least Rs 10 billion has to be allocated for conducting election in 2023 as per annual budget. In response to the question whether such amount is available to conduct elections in the country the Election Commission in writing has stated that the finances for holding elections would have to be obtained based on either income received or obtaining money through loans. This will only lead the present inflation state of the country to greater heights.
Meanwhile, the Government is in the process of showing the ability to pay back the IMF for the financial assistance sought to overcome the present crisis and, in the event, if a large sum of Rs. 10 billion is spent to conduct the LG polls at this time would cause prejudice to the monetary assistance sought from the IMF and would cause severe hardships on the Government.
“There are disruptive elements, driven purely by political motives and agenda, that are attempting to exert undue influence on the Elections Commission to conduct a Local government election, even though the present circumstances do not warrant the holding of such an election.” Wijesundera,further stated in his petition.
Two writ petitions filed seeking order to hold LG election
On December13,2022, a group of parliamentarians from the opposition filed two writ petitions before the Supreme Court seeking a court order directing the Election Commission of Sri Lanka to hold Local Government elections.
One petition was filed by MP Ranjith Maddumabandara, the General Secretary of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya and MP Prof. G.L Peiris, of the Freedom Peoples’ Congress, while another petition was filed by opposition MPs Dayasiri Jayasekara, Lakshman Kiriella, Anura Priyadharshana Yapa and M.A. Sumanthiran.
Naming the Election Commission’s Chairman, its members and the Prime Minister as the respondents, the petitioners noted it is upon them to take steps to conduct elections in respect of each such local authority.