Geetha Kumarasinghe dual citizenship case : Petitioner calls for fuller bench of SC | Sunday Observer

Geetha Kumarasinghe dual citizenship case : Petitioner calls for fuller bench of SC

A motion has been filed in the Supreme Court by the Petitioner of the Geetha Kumarasinghe case seeking a fuller bench to hear the appeal.

He has also written to the Chief Justice separately seeking an immediate investigation into the conduct and manner of which the Supreme Court appeal was handled by court officials.

In this matter the Court of Appeal unseated Parliamentarian Geetha Kumarasinghe, on the basis that she holds citizenship in two countries – Sri Lanka and Switzerland.

A three judge bench of the Supreme Court comprising justices Eva Wanasundara, Upali Abeyrathne and Anil Gunerathne through a two to one decision issued an interim order stalling the Court of Appeal judgment unseating Geetha Kumarasinghe, until the final determination of the petition by the Supreme Court.

The Court of Appeal following a petition filed by Camilus Gunasekara issued a writ of Quo Warranto on Geetha Kumarasinghe unseating her as a Parliamentarian. Soon after the judgment Geetha Kumarasinghe went before the Supreme Court seeking a revision of the order and the Supreme Court bench comprising Justices Buwaneka Aluwihare, Priyantha Jayawardana and Anil Gunerathne stalled the operation of the judgment for just one day.

The petitioners was perturbed as to how this appeal came before the Supreme Court in a short span of time and the counsel appearing for the petitioner as well as the Attorney General made submissions before the court that it should not make any order.

However, the court stalled the operation the judgment for one day and thereafter, another bench of the Supreme Court issued a stay order until the final determination of the application.

Following the Court of Appeal order, the Secretary General of Parliament wrote to the Commissioner General of Elections stating that the seat held by Kumarasinghe has fallen vacant.

The original petitioner in this case is Camilus Gunasekara, a resident of Galle.

According to a senior counsel, the motion seeks, as per 132 (3) of the Constitution, for the matter to be taken up for consideration before a full bench.

A full bench consists of five or more judges of the Supreme Court. As per the provision, on an application by a party to an appeal, if the question involved, in the opinion of the Chief Justice, is of general or public importance, a direction shall be made that such appeal be heard before a full bench.

Next in line to be appointed to Geetha Kumarasinghe’s Parliamentary seat, provided she is disqualified from holding her position, Piyasena Gamage has filed papers seeking to be included in the matter as an intervening petitioner. “In an appeal where an interim order is made, in addition to the original parties, if another party is adversely affected, they should be added as a party – by way of an intervening petitioner and be heard,” the counsel weighed in.

Meanwhile, a letter in the form of a complaint has been forwarded to the Chief Justice, Priyasad Dep by the third petitioner, Anton Camilus Gunasekara, of the petition filed at the Court of Appeal and subsequently, the third petitioner-Respondent of the appeal heard before the Supreme Court.

The letter seeks the Chief Justices’ intervention to hold an independent investigation into the conduct of the officials of the Supreme Court, especially that of the Registrar.

The letter states, inter alia, that he got to know that Parliamentarian Kumarasinghe had filed an appeal on the order given by the Court of Appeal on May17 and he had requested his instructing attorney to take action. Despite many attempts, the instructing attorney has not been able to locate the dossier within the record room of the Supreme Court.

“Since May 10 and 11 were public holidays, my attorneys and of the other petitioners failed to find out what steps had been taken by the Registrar of the Supreme Court.

“It was widely speculated by media that the appeal will be heard on the 12th to be supported. During our attempts on the morning of May 12 to find out in which court the matter will be called, we learned that the file had been sent to Court No. 502, although it was not listed before,” the petition reads.

Further inquiries revealed that the undated petition was filed on May 9 at about 11.45 am and notices were sent to the respondents on the same day informing that the matter listed to be heard on the May 12, 2017.

The letter further states that, the lawyers for the respondents informed courts that notices and copies of the petition had not been served on the respondents and requested court to refrain from taking the matter to be supported at such short notice. Justice Aluwihare at this point informed court that there had not been sufficient time to peruse the content.

In raising preliminary objections, the counsel for the respondents had informed court that since the Parliamentary Secretary General had informed the Returning Officer of the order made by the Court of Appeal, the circumstances of the matter had changed and that this fact had not been mentioned in the Petitioner’s prayer.

The original petitioner, and complainant finally states in his letter to the Chief Justice that from the time the matter was re-fixed to be heard on September 25, to the date the letter was written, the petitioners or their lawyers have had not been able to locate the dossier to obtain certified copies of the journal entry orders.

Therefore, he earnestly seeks a special investigation to find out on what basis court and record room officials have acted.