The attorneys of MP Premalal Jayasekara, who was sentenced to death, have filed a writ application before the Court of Appeal requesting to grant him permission to attend Parliament sessions.
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 stresses that he was handed the death sentence by the Ratnapura High Court and that he has filed an appeal challenging the verdict.
However, 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, he said further.
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, won the 2020 General Election and managed to secure the second position in the Ratnapura District Preferential List after contesting through Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP).
Thereby, the Speaker of the Parliament instructed the Commissioner General of Prisons to bring Jayasekara, who is currently imprisoned, 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.