The Court of Appeal announced that its decision on whether an interim order will be issued permitting MP-elect Premalal Jayasekara to attend parliamentary sessions will be delivered on Monday (Sep. 07).
The attorneys representing Jayasekara, who was sentenced to death in July, had filed a writ application before the Court of Appeal requesting to grant him permission to attend parliamentary sessions.
The petition was taken up today (04) before a judge bench comprising the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice A.H.M.D. Nawaz and Justice Sobhitha Rajakaruna.
The petitioner was represented by President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva while Deputy Solicitor General A. Nerin Pulle appearing on behalf of the Attorney General also made submissions.
Meanwhile President’s Counsel Uditha Igalahewa made submission on behalf of the Secretary General of Parliament, who has been named as a respondent in the petition.
After considering the facts presented by all parties, the court announced that the decision on whether the petition will be taken up for consideration will be delivered on Monday (07).
Meanwhile the decision on whether an interim order will be issued on the Commissioner General of Prisons granting permission for Premalal Jayasekara to attend parliamentary sittings, will also be delivered on Monday.
The Commissioner General of Prisons, Welikada Prison Superintendent and the Secretary General of the Parliament have been cited as the respondents of this writ application.
The petitioner has stresses that he was handed the death sentence by the Ratnapura High Court and that he has filed an appeal challenging the verdict.
However, he states that the prison officers are refusing to accompany him to attend the parliamentary sittings, despite being elected to the House from the General Election held last month.
Last July 31, Premalal Jayasekara alias ‘Choka Malli’ was sentenced to death by the Ratnapura High Court over a murder committed in 2015.
Jayasekara, however, was elected to Parliament at the 2020 General Election and managed to secure the second position in the Ratnapura District Preferential Vote List after contesting through Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP).
Thereby, the Speaker of the Parliament had instructed the Commissioner General of Prisons to bring Jayasekara to Parliament on the 8th of September.
As prison rules and regulations have not made provisions regarding an inmate on the death row acting as a public representative, the Commissioner General of Prisons had inquired on the matter from the Ministry of Justice, which in turn made an inquiry from the AG.
Subsequently, the Attorney General informed that Premalal Jayasekara was not eligible to act as a Member of Parliament under Articles 89 (d) and 91 (1) (a) of the Constitution.
Accordingly, if Jayasekara loses his parliamentary seat, the next candidate who received the highest number of preferential votes in the district will be eligible for the seat.
As per the results of the 2020 General Election, the next two SLPP candidates after Jayasekara have received the same number of preferential votes.
The two eligible candidates are Sonny Rohana Kodituwakku, and Ranjith Bandara, a relative of Premalal Jayasekara.
The Election Commission has stated that in such a case, the most suitable candidate for the seat would be selected by lottery.