Overriding Elections Commissioner’s interventions to prevent voter bribery by the UPFA that is being heavily carried out in Uva Province, Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa has used the judiciary into achieving their goal of proceeding with the plan to distribute Rs. 2500 per family in the Moneragala district.
Colombo Telegraph learns that few UPFA supporters, under instructions of Basil had filed a case before the Supreme Court under under No: 258/14 as individuals claiming to be farmers from Wellawaya seeking Secretary to the Economic Development Ministry Dr Nihal Jayathilaka and Moneragala District Secretary A Pathinathan to provide ‘drought relief’ to petitioners and other residents of the district.
Although the Elections Commissioner had given clear directives to abstain from carrying out the plan to distribute Rs. 2500 per family in Moneragala, he nor his directive had been mentioned in the case. Moreover, it has been pointed out that although the case was filed on September 11, the legal documents relating to the case states it as one that was filed on September 10.
It has been noted that this particularly case that was heard before the Supreme Court today has been filed in violation of standard Court practice – that no interim relief can be granted without the Court first directing the Petitioner to serve adequate notice, about a week, before submitting the application.
The case had been presided over today by the De facto Chief Justice Mohan Pieris along with Justice Aluwihare and Priyantha Jayawardena who was earlier working for Basil Rajapaksa in his Ministry. Jayawardena’s sister is the Registrar of the Supreme Courts. It is also worth noting that the De facto CJ had not wanted the case to be taken up in ordinary course, but had set it aside to be the last case for the day until most of the lawyers and journalists had dispersed. But some of the lawyers representing political parties had remained to observe the proceedings, having heard of the application.
Colombo Telegraph also learns that the de facto CJ without even hearing the submissions, had granted relief directing the Respondents to grant relief, in a clear reflection of the political agenda behind the application and its hearing. Although junior Counsel Avanthi Perea informed the Court that a directive issued by the Elections Commissioner was already in place, the de facto CJ had ignored it. Having seen the opposition party lawyers observing the case, the Colombo Telegraph learns that the de facto CJ had said ‘no politics, Dr. Jayathilaka’.
Several lawyers who had observed the proceedings said that it is one of the many dubious cases that have been heard in this bizarre manner under the current de facto CJ whose integrity and independance has been called into question time and again. It has also been pointed out that the EC has been made invalid due to the SC turning part of the UPFA political machinery.