Counsel for P.B. Jayasundera Secretary to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa told a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court on Wednesday that there was no evidence that the parliamentary elections could not be held while the corona virus pandemic rages.
President’s Counsel Romesh De Silva appearing for Dr Jayasundera while outlining his objections to the eight petitions before the Supreme Court challenging the June 20th polls date and Rajapaksa’s refusal to recall Parliament, told a stunned courtroom that there was “no evidence or health opinion that an election cannot be held” as the country battles COVID-19.
The submissions by De Silva PC appearing for President Rajapaksa’s top official came after three Counsel for the Elections Commission elaborated on how the prevailing curfew and partial lockdown situation was making it impossible to make election preparations, and announced that it could take 9-11 weeks after health experts declared normalcy for a poll to be held.
Making submissions at the end of proceedings yesterday, De SIlva PC outlined his objections to the petitions. They were mala fide and malicious in intent, Counsel for Jayasundera declared and did not meet the time bar requirement for fundamental rights applications to be brought before the Supreme Court. De Silva PC also said that the petitions had failed to cite all necessary parties to the case, including he said the general secretaries of all the political parties contesting the polls.
Jayasundera’s lawyer further submitted that the joint declaration made by all opposition parties in Parliament was a ridiculous document because it pledged opposition support to the Government to fight COVID19 and vowed to not bring a no confidence motion against the ruling party.
“The job of the opposition is to oppose. If they are not going to oppose then why do they want to reconvene the House” he submitted.
Proceedings will recommence at 10AM at Court Room 501 of the Supreme Court on Thursday May 21 to hear further from the respondents to the eight petitions. (By Chinthika de Silva)