22 July, 2017

Elections Chief Awaits Supreme Court Verdict On Geetha’s Future In Parliament

The Elections Commissioner today said that he will await the Supreme Court verdict to decide on Geetha Kumarasinghe’s future in Parliament.

Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya

The announcement came soon after the Supreme Court issued an order to suspend the Appeal Court’s decision after it ruled last week that Kumarasinghe could not be a Member of Parliament due to her dual citizenship status.

The Supreme Court suspended the Appeal Court’s decision today till 15 May, after Kumarasinghe who is a Member of Parliament elected from the Galle district filed a petition at the Supreme Court challenging the Court of Appeal decision to annul her status as a MP.

According to the newly introduced 19th amendment to the Constitution, a Sri Lankan Citizen holding citizenship status in another country cannot hold a seat in the legislature.

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  • 11
    1

    If “according to the newly introduced 19th amendment to the Constitution, a Sri Lankan Citizen holding citizenship status in another country cannot hold a seat in the legislature”, will it make a difference whether one is elected or nominated?

    It is bad practice to let a person with a foreign nationality sit in bodies that make crucial decisions in political and economic matters of the country.

    Mahendran’s CBSL appointment was a bad precedent. If M was willing to forfeit Singapore citizenship, considering his past, he could have been, but only after renouncing foreign nationality.

    The rule should apply to all MPs and holders of position in policy making bodies including various Commissions.

    We cannot afford divided loyalty.

    • 4
      4

      Agree with you with this but thousands SL people have Dual citizenship and still have good jobs in srilanka too…with big pension too….for instance Central Bank governor…and many academics and many more people..
      Why not politicians exceptional to this…may be not PM or PRESIDENT SHOULD NOT BE ….NOT ALL OTHERS

      • 3
        0

        Dr NAS
        Thanks.
        I have no objection to service at any level where decisions are taken concerning the affairs of the state, especially major policy matters.

        Governor of Central Bank certainly not. Legislators, Executives who directly influence state policy matters etc.– No!
        It is more than conflict of interest, it is also divided loyalty in many matters.

        A company director or a campus academic has no direct say in the affairs of the state.

        • 0
          0

          SJ …I can not but accept your explanation…yes, political executive powers are more dangerous..do not you see how sri Lanka is already sold to China…for 99 years in some parts of south ..China can now dump it’s chemical waste in SL…it can fish deep water of SL sea…I have been working with Chinese people..they do told me not to trust any Chinese people.rarely we find good ones …we can not generalise at nation or any communtiy. Bad guys are everywhere…but it has been geopolitics of china to rob third world countries with such aids and helps. They do not come to our country to do charity …they are crafty business minded people..they no longer live for their poltical idealology but for money ..
          It is similar to pre-ww2..japan tried to dominate world ..
          It has been dream of china to dominate world …to do that they are making use of all third world countries in this way of helping …but it is not help it is economic trap …MR get PhD from Chinese government…now you pay back for generation..
          I do not care who come into power but I want to see honest, loyal and accountable leaders with good qualifications…we live in modern world with high level of IQ ..

          • 1
            0

            Dr NAS
            Thanks.
            As this country has been under foreign rule for 450 years, I will be very general.
            The country has to be firm in matters affecting its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
            No to foreign bases or other such concessions to serve foreign interests.
            No to ownership of land or other territorial rights. (Exceptions may be made for housing and such matters on a limited, personal basis. Long leases could be a safe option.)

            • 1
              0

              I agree with you fully and we should not give any land for any foreign countries but see what has seen…poor people in South can not move…personally I feel sorry for people In down South …Hembanthota..why I do not have any Trusth in Chinas plan…it will destory our ecology and all environment…it is like a battle between poor man and strong & Rich man …if you equal you can negotiate and bargain….but…I’m sorry to say …Sri Lanka has had one of best civil service people in foreign service..and recently politicians messed this good service…that is where our weakpoint started…now economically SL is in a trouble situation…May God protect it …

    • 3
      0

      SJ,

      “The rule should apply to all MPs and holders of position in policy making bodies including various Commissions.”

      Is there anybody you dare to name in the Election Commission with divided loyalty?:)

      What about academics who claim to be dual citizens but might be unable to show a certificate of dual citizenship as proof of it? As you know many studied overseas, obtained foreign citizenship and thus automatically lost their SL citizenship but never informed the authorities in SL.

      • 0
        0

        LW
        Mine was a general statement.

        Born citizens declare loyalty to the state when nominated to posts.
        When one accepts a second citizenship one declares loyalty to another.
        There are many matters where the loyalties compete.
        Thus it is best to keep dual citizens out of policy making.

        There are plenty of other places to serve the country. One can be adviser or consultant to a policy making body, but without power to recommend policy to government or make policy. (The government routinely consults foreign experts.)

        In my view, if one truly wants to be a policy-maker for the country, one should renounce foreign citizenship.
        Accepting foreign citizenship is a definite decision. I will be glad to see one changing his/her mind on the matter in favour of this country.
        Even if one takes the first essential step to renounce foreign citizenship, that should be sufficient to let the person serve in policy making bodies, for we know how slow bureaucracy is everywhere.

    • 0
      0

      I agree with you and would take of falling of colletaratials like Geetha, while it was targeted at the Old Brother Princes and had rendred them practically handicapped.

      I know you would not like to comment on Ajith Nivard and the $18B, Grease Bond, Petroleum price hedging….. Let us leave it aside.

      SJ, I know Profs. Sam Thiagalingam or Rajeevan Hoole are not, but do you think Vasanthi Arasaratnam could be a good precedent.

      What about if somebody brainwashed in a western university to become a Stalinist? They could continue to mess up things?

      • 1
        0

        Dear ol’ Malla
        You know I will not tell anyone, not even if you plead with me, what they should do with their lives, some good healthy habits excepted

        Just being curious. Are you living in some place in a neo-Mccarthy era of sorts?

        • 0
          0

          “Just being curious.”

          That is ok, but it as usual, one more time you just misused the word “Curious”. If you read Ramón Mercader only you can find the correct to plug is there. It is not Curious, Garrulous or even nosy – the word is “Spying”.

          “Are you living in some place in a neo-Mccarthy era of sorts?”

          I don’t know where that land is you are talking of. Did you mean the EPDP’s masters’ floating Armory that was never subjected any countries’ law and operated like a pirate ship? But I am sure I didn’t dream anything Stalin dreamed or didn’t run to where Trotsky ran thinking safe. Do you think, then, I may be save from the arch enemies of Macarthy?

          what they should do with their lives, You are good apple out of bad apple basket, because I hear when diaspora money coming into aid Tamils back there, there are many keep insisting the Tamils that they should not diaspora money it all should be returned! Did you also heard that story?

          • 0
            0

            If you do not know about Mccarthy, it may be a good thing. Ignorance is bliss they say.

            As I said I am not one who instructss individuals what to do with their lives.
            And therefore do not take instructions either.
            Nobody sends me money and I am happy.

            • 0
              0

              ” If you do not know about Mccarthy.It may be a good thing. Ignorance is bliss they say.”

              I would guess the they must be Satlin. Sorry man I didn’t read that part of Stalin history. Anyway thanks for telling me.

              As I said I am not one who instructss individuals what to do with their lives.
              And therefore do not take instructions either.
              Nobody sends me money and I am happy.

              SJ, Just being curious. Are you living in some place like UOJ instructing, teaching, professing………? Are you a Member of any committee and contribute in decisions of what to do, by voting? Anytime time you advocated a point of appointing or dismissing of somebody who are not suitable of because they may have double citizenship?

              • 0
                0

                See Malla
                You are making a mallung of things.
                Good old Joe was never a man for proverbs although made some pithy quotes like his contemporaries.
                That proverb probably was God’s own idea, plagiarized by someone. (You know what happened to the bliss of A&E defying Him and eating the fruit of knowledge. Naughty. Naughty. Naughty.)

                I am sorry I do not appoint anyone but disappoint many because I do not dance to their tune.
                (Between you and me. Do not remind them. They have now dumped the American candidate to be without a hum. Let sleeping dogs lie.)

                • 0
                  0

                  Let sleeping dogs lie SJ I was thinking about it.

                  You are confusing me. How can I believe you?

                  Earlier you said ignorance is bliss and now you say god said it. That makes sense, god would like to keep man ignorant but thinking he in bliss. God too did know Lankawe standardization; that is why probably he forbid to consume and assimilate from the knowledge tree.

                  Now you are saying the sleeping dogs may lie, let alone. Don’t come back and tell me that you meant they lie in their dream. I know people sleep walking, but ling in sleep? guess, how dangerous that … SJ… a question man, Do you sleep write in CT? But I swear I never sleep write in CT. SJ Don’t look at me like that…. I am not a liar.

                • 0
                  0

                  Malls
                  This is a free world for you to do many (but unfortunately not all) things. Getting confused is one thing that you can do effortlessly.

                  I do not want anyone to believe me.
                  I question and like being questioned— intelligently that is.
                  Lie does mean what people do much of the time when there awake.
                  It means lying down.
                  It means if the dog does not trouble you, do not trouble the dog.
                  You can substitute several other words for trouble and get very nearly the same result.

                  Funny language, English!

                  BTW, you must read the OT story about Adam & Eve before you ask me questions about blissful ignorance.

    • 10
      0

      Oh, give me a break!

      The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, is a Canadian. He has substantial influence on monetary policy in the UK.

      The President of Nanyang University in Singapore, Bertil Anderson, is Swedish. He has substantial influence on technological and educational policies of the Singaporean government — ministers and senior civil servants regularly consult him.

      Amartya Sen (Indian) served as Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. I believe the present president of Imperial College, Alice Gast, is American.

      The important thing is to seek and appoint talented people to do a good job. What passport one carries is not a good indicator of ability or loyalty, particularly for expatriate Sri Lankans, many of whom would have left Sri Lanka under difficult circumstances and chosen to grab passports of other countries for personal reasons.

      Ex Central bank governor Mahendran might have been brought in with good intentions of his talents, but in office did wrong. I do not know the level of his guilt, but knowing the conflict of interest of his immediate family benefiting from the bond sale he should have stepped down. The PM was wrong in letting him continue. The could around Mahendran would have been exactly the same even if he had renounced his Singaporean citizenship and suspended himself on a kaavadi behind the Nallur thEr to prove to us his re-discovered loyalty.

      The driver here is the narrow minded view “we know best, outsiders are not welcome here”. This is sad.

      • 0
        0

        T20

        Will the UK have a Chinese or a Russian national as Governor of the Bank of England?
        If the British government feels comfortable with it that is their business.

        A Third World country has to be cautious as it is vulnerable to external manipulations.

        Mahendran was brought in for a purpose which he knew and his sponsor knew.
        The crime is not in the doing but in getting caught.

        “Oh, give me a break!” you said. Relax. Have a KitKat.

        • 7
          0

          Goodness. Are you equating UK’s relationship to Chinese or Russian nationals to Sri Lanka’s relationship to people of Sri Lankan origin currently carrying US/UK/Australian passports?

        • 0
          0

          A person brainwashed by Lenin’s, Stalin’s, Trotsky’s communism cannot identify the difference between Lankawe commission, nepotism, crony administration, SLFP-EPDP thuggery based management and laissez-faire capitalism, market forces and competition based management. Competition based system rewards to manager based on his performance. It is against to Russian communist philosophies. That is too sad, but that is how now even Russia is going.

          Here the story of how the Sri Lankan Airline’s single citizenship precedent at the work of its best:

          Wikipedia:
          “In 2008, President Mahinda Rajapakse ended the partnership with Emirates and removed the Emirates-appointed CEO Peter Hill and appointed his brother-in-law, after Hill refused to remove fare-paying business-class passengers to economy class and give their seats to members of Rajapakse’s family, who were returning from London……………
          …………..
          ………..

          The SriLankan airlines has been accused of corruption and the Chairman Nishantha Wickramasinghe having affairs with air hostesses (“If this had happened by Mahendran, Tamil in Lankawe would have been wiped a pogrom bigger than Black July, 1983). Wickramasinghe, who is the brother-in-law of the former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, has been accused of lacking experience or formal education that qualifies him to be the head of an airline, and hundreds of millions of rupees of losses since its management was taken back from Emirates Airlines by the Rajapaksa Administration.

          I don’t think Ajith Nivard or Nishantha a Singaporean Ceylon Tamil or Russian or Chinese.

        • 0
          0

          T20
          The point is that Britain does not appoint foreigners to key posts.
          Canadians were (and are?) ‘British subjects’ and like Sri Lankans could vote in British elections until Colvin R de Silva denied us the privilege of being the Queen’s loyal subjects.

          Comparing what they do in the West to what we should do here is not very clever.

          Malla
          You should adopt cookery as a a career. You make fantastic mallum.

          • 0
            0

            SJ,

            “The point is that Britain does not appoint foreigners to key posts. Canadians were (and are?) ‘British subjects’”

            Citizens of the Common Wealth countries have many rights in the UK.

            • 0
              0

              True.
              My young Greek friends in London 25 years ago used to protest that they had to sign up at the police station while I did not have to.
              But some of the concessions have gone out or are going out.

              There is also a difference in status between citizens of dominions and republics I think.

          • 0
            0

            The point is loyalty, how to test it and how to demonstrate it.
            Passport is not a good test.

            • 0
              0

              t20
              If a passport is not, even citizenship is not.
              I have a long list of names to support my case.

          • 1
            0

            SJ

            “The point is that Britain does not appoint foreigners to key posts.”

            The queen of Great Britain is close relative of Tsar,

            married to Greek,

            has relatives all over Europe and

            her Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is a direct descendant (great grand son of )of Ali Kemal of Turkey(was a close ally of Nazis),

            the former Deputy Prime minister Nick Clegg Clegg a descends from “Russia’s old Tsarist nobility”, his paternal grandmother, Kira von Engelhardt, Baroness von Smolensk, was a Russian noblewoman, and the granddaughter of Attorney-General of the Russian senate, Ignatiy Platonovich Zakrevsky.

            her present Bank of England Governor Mark Carney is a Canadian of Irish origin,

            her Deputy Bank of England Governor (1 August 2014 – 28 February 2017) was Egyptian born Dame Nemat Talaat Shafik,

            We can go on until the cows come home.

            What seems to be your problem?

            Do you want Chinese to rule United Kingdom?

    • 0
      0

      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/ [Edited out] Comments should not exceed 300 words.Please read our Comments Policy for further details.

  • 3
    2

    This is a game play to avoid Goata come to power ..he tasted power and now he is greedy to come back to it …but MS and RANI’L will have something to fool him..take away his sri Lanka citizenship on account of all corruption or put him behind bars just before election…Ban him from any nominations for providential election …MS and RANI’L and co will be worried if he comes back …MR family want to make use of fame and popularity they have now..
    They made some terrible mistake…internal MR family dispute cost them a lot..
    So wait and see how all parties move their political ball…who will win ? Who will be punished ?

  • 1
    0

    Why look at this matter from a “Divisive Political” angle? The 19th Amendment to the Constitution voted by all politicians in Parliament is now the LAW of the country. At the time of accepting nominations, an objection was raised; but the Returning Officer rejected it on grounds that the 2015 August elections were held in terms of the Election Law in force previous to the said Amendment. This decision of the Returning Officer has been challenged and the Court Order was that the nomination of this candidate was against the 19th Amendment that was in force in August 2015. Now the Supreme Courts have to make a decision on what is the LAW applicable to the nominations of 2015 August elections. Is it the provision of the 19th Amendment OR the Election Law on which those nominations were accepted? Therefore, it is no use to look at it from MR,MS,Ranil, Basil, Gota or any other other persons perspective. What is relevant and the people must understand and perceive is to UPHOLD the LAW of the land and apply it strictly irrespective of persons concerned. In this context, I believe, what we must discuss and strive for is to ENFORCE the LAW in all matters of Governing. Let the JUDICIARY and the LAW ENFORCEMENT retain and work on that INDEPENDENCE.If that happens, these personalities of MS, MR, Ranil, Basil, Gota, Mahendran and such others are of no CONCERN what so ever.

  • 3
    0

    Thank you, Colombo Telegraph. There are, however, a few subtle errors in your news item that are important enough to be corrected at a time when all kinds of wrong things are said with authority – such as that a by election is required, a nomination is required for the successor, etc.

    1) There is no Election Commissioner any more. After the nineteenth amendment, there is an Election Commission which takes decisions collectively. The old Election Commissioner was made the Chairman of the new Commission of three persons including the Chairman.
    2) The Election Commission decided this morning (12th) that it will not act on Ms. Geetha Kumarasinghe’s matter until the Supreme Court reaches a final decision on it – whether she stays on as MP or not.
    3) There is no “decision” for the Commission to make on Ms. Geetha Kumarasinghe’s matter. The law simply says that if she is removed, the next person on the preference list takes her place. The Commission’s role would be limited to announcing the successor.
    4) Subsequently to the Commission’s decision to await finality from the Supreme Court, this afternoon the Commission was served by the Supreme Court an order to maintain the status quo (effectively a stay order on the Court of Appeal order) until the 15th.
    5) According to the Commission’s decision, even if the stay order is not continued by the Supreme Court on the 15th, the Commission will not act until the Supreme Court reaches finality. No one wants a situation where the Supreme Court upholds Ms. Geetha Kumarasinghe’s position and we have two MPs in place of one. That finality might be on the 15th itself if the Supreme Court decides against Ms. Kumarsinghe on Monday, or perhaps even months later in her favour or against. I hope long delays will not deny the people of Galle District their right to an MP. But that, the Commission has no control over. The Commission could have announced a successor before the Supreme Court’s order but that would have violated Ms. Kumarasinghe’s rights. The Commission was in one mind in reaching the decision not to act — that is, it acted unanimously.

    As for the nineteenth amendment, it prohibits dual citizens from being MPs or the President. It is not correct to say that dual citizens cannot serve on a legislature because there are legislatures besides parliament, such as local government and provincial government legislatures that make laws of limited scope. Dual citizens may serve in these, but not in parliament, the supreme legislature if you like.

    For more, contact the Election Commission’s information officer.

    • 0
      0

      What is the authority of he commission? If it find one as dual citizen, then is the 19A not giving the commission the authority to remove that person from certifying the election victory? Is that the commission has to inform the court if it wants to remove based on 19A? How M/S Geetha is serving in parliament after the commission had come to know that she is dual citizen?

      Then why the commission has to wait a court order to remove or appoint a person to parliament?

      Isn’t the Stay Order has to be on the other way. As soon as the guilt comes known to commission and Commission verifies the documents, court stop her from serving in parliament, provided she had appealed the Commission decision?

    • 1
      0

      Dr Jeevan Hoole,

      Thank you for all the information. Who is the IO of the Election Commission?

      I am happy because the Courts have taken this matter seriously. I expected that like many other politically sensitive cases this one also vanishes from media and will be postponed during 15 years.

      As far as I know the case was filed by some private persons in Galle. Many thanks for them also.

      • 0
        0

        Thanks, dear Lone Woolf.

        I saw your comment just BEFORE submitting one of my own as a response to the very first by SJ.

        I have asked you to tell us who you are! I’ve always liked the common sense in your comments!! I hope that you understand that I mean that as a compliment. I think that Bernard Shaw was one of those who said that common sense and “normal eye sight” are two very UNcommon characteristics of human beings.

        Now, I’d better hasten back to the top, and enter the additional comment I had planned. It appears unfair for me to reveal OTHER people’s identity, unless I prove my own beyond all doubt!

  • 0
    0

    Dear Hoole ..
    I can not understand this issue of dual citizenship issue ….for the last 10 years of MR and co family rule No one dare to talk about this issue …even Supreme Court judges did not dare to do this …
    All of sudden now …this issue come up? Why ?.is it law of evolution in Sri Lanka judiciary? Late wisdom come into our system???
    Ok one theory is to block Goata from contesting election ?.If it is true many more MPS will have to give up their posts? Anyway, I think Sri Lankan politicians and policy makers are living in stone age ?why and how .?. It may need a volumes to write

    • 0
      0

      DR NAS et. al. The intention of this new law is to prevent Gota and the likes to come to politics as well as hiding their loot in foreign soil. However, with Geetha’s ruling it came to light that even TNA MPs are in the same boat. This started sending shock waves through high places and it came down to this stay order. I can bet that this will be thrown away by the supreme court.
      On Dual citizenship, I would think it should not be a criteria to determine whether a person could serve at the parliament. However, for the purpose ensuring loyalties are at the right place there must be a separate vetting process in place. Mandatory disclosure at during nomination process can be one.

    • 0
      0

      Are you sure you are a “Dr” Mr Nas?
      Seems you don’t have a clue about what this artical is about…
      Read before comment!!!!!

      • 0
        0

        What is topic …it is dual citizenship issue that created this berate?
        Dear Damlan…you look dump as you name sounda?
        Tell me if there would be any problem if she is not dual citizenship..it is the topic of discussion.
        What is wrong with you ?

        • 0
          0

          The name is Damian not Danlan.
          “…you look dump as you name sounda?”

          Now, can some on ask you: “What is wrong with you?”

          Cannot we be a little more polite on these pages? This is for Damian’s eyes too.

          • 0
            0

            Come to the point..you too have some silly arguments…it is OK..all human beings make mistakes..no one is perfect ..

            • 0
              0

              Moonshine
              Silly comments beget silly responses.
              Did you change name by deed poll?

              No one is perfect, but you are imperfect to the point of perfection.

  • 0
    0

    Oh !!1 Many will & should get unseated ………….
    Come SC give your decision the Wesak full Moon has gone down now or not yet?

  • 0
    0

    The law as it stands disqualifies Geetha. Only one MP opposed the law – that was not Geetha.

    • 0
      0

      “The Island” of 14 May says that the Geetha verdict may open a Pandora’s box.

      GL Pieris said if the Supreme court decided that Kumarasinghe was not qualified to be an MP by virtue of the Appeal Court verdict, the number of seats allocated to the UPFA in the Galle District could be annulled.

      If this happens there can be uncontrollable disturbances – victims this time?

      Brilliant! GoSL is in a soup.

      • 0
        0

        A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court yesterday (15 May) by a majority decision granted leave to appeal with the Application of Appeal filed by Geetha Kumarasinghe against the Court of Appeal judgement of Jan. 31, 2017.

        This is ominous.

        Evidently Geetha Kumarasinghe had become a citizen of Switzerland by virtue of her marriage to a Swiss national. She had not applied for the citizenship of Switzerland. It was an involuntary act.

        Why did she not renounce it? She renounced the marriage though!

        Curiouser and curiouser.

        • 0
          0

          Pillai
          Retaining citizenship is not condition upon keeping the marriage contract.

          I am not sure if citizenship is thrust on one, not even in Switzerland. Some formal request is involved.

          I think that political parties should act more responsibly before nominating candidates and MPs.

          • 0
            0

            SJ,

            “I am not sure if citizenship is thrust on one, not even in Switzerland.”

            Apparently until 1992 foreign spouses of the Swiss automatically became citizens. I have no further details.

            “Some formal request is involved.”

            After 1992 apparently an application and fee are needed.

            I don’t know when Geetha married but she has had time to renounce her citizenship. If she renounced her Swiss citizenship there should be a document some where. Why does she not provide a copy of the document? Why did she apply for a SL diplomatic passport without an endorsement of her Swiss citizenship?

            “I think that political parties should act more responsibly before nominating candidates and MPs.”

            Yes.

  • 0
    0

    19th ammendment to the constitution should be implemented. Not only this but also the 13th ammendment and all other provisions in the constitution should be implemented in full. Otherwise consition will be a questionale one.
    Lets build one Country One Identity – SRI LANKAN

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