The petition was filed by the General Secretary of Samagi Jana Balawega, Ranjith Maddumabandara, who asked the court to rule that the petitioners’ fundamental rights were violated by the secretary to the Ministry of Finance and others by not releasing funds required to conduct the local government election. Yesterday (February 27th), the Additional Solicitor General, who appeared for the attorney general, objected to the request made by President’s Counsel Upul Jayasuriya, who appeared for the petitioner, to hear the case before a bench that did not include Judge S. Thureiraja.
The petition was heard by a Supreme Court bench comprised of S. Thureiraja, Yasanta Kodagoda, and Priyantha Fernando.
Additional Solicitor General Nerin Pulle appeared before the court on behalf of the Attorney General and requested that the court set a date for summoning another petition similar to this on May 11 and that this petition be summoned for consideration on the same day.
Upul Jayasuriya, president’s counsel, appeared for the petitioner and presented the facts before the court, requesting that the petition be directed to another bench because Judge Turai Raja had already expressed his opinion on the matter.
Responding to that, Justice Turai Raja stated that he has not expressed any opinion regarding this case.
” Your statement is incorrect. I have not expressed any opinion regarding these cases. The case was adjourned until May 11th according to the facts presented before the court. The Election Commission then said that it was not possible to hold the election because there was no money. The Secretary of the Ministry of Finance said that it is difficult to provide sufficient funds. So the petition was adjourned until May 11 to study the facts filed before the court and take a decision. Your statement is unfair. I do not specialize in any case.” Justice Thureiraja said in open court.
Additional Solicitor General Nerin Pulle, who objected to the request submitted by the petitioner, said that it is not justified to issue statements in this manner regarding the judges.
The Additional Solicitor General stated that he expected to make limited objections to the petition.
Another notice to the respondents including the Secretary of the Ministry of Finance..
However, due to the absence of lawyers appearing for the respondents, the bench decided to adjourn the consideration of the petition till March 3rd and ordered the petitioners to issue notices to the respondents including the Secretary of the Ministry of Finance.
The petition presented by Retired Army Colonel W. M. R. Wijesundara requested to issue an order postponing the local government polls as there is a severe economic crisis in the country was also called for consideration on the 23rd before a three-judge bench chaired by Justice S. Thurai Raja.
” The court accepts that any poll should be held. But the subject of money is not under the judiciary. Therefore, the power of the court to issue orders on that subject is very limited.” Therefore, Judge Thurai Raja had stated in the open court during the hearing that it was appropriate to make this request.
During the petition hearing that day, lawyer Vijit Singh, who appeared for the Paffaral organisation, stated that it is possible to hold this election by collecting money from the general public. In open court, Judge Thureiraja criticised this statement.
“At the moment, the general public is in dire straits. They pay their taxes. It is not appropriate to hold elections by soliciting public funds “Judge Thurairaja stated in open court that day.