EPDP contests Commissionerís nominations
[TamilNet, Monday, 12 April 1999, 12:08 GMT]
EPDP sought a stay order from Sri Lanka's appeal court today against the appointment of Suppaiah Jeganathan and Sultan Rahim as Jaffna MPs on the group's list. The group has appealed that the appointment be declared null and void as both Jeganathan and Rahim have submitted their letters of resignation to the group.
The appointment was gazetted by the Commissioner of Elections on Friday according to the Supreme court ruling on March 30 that the EPDP's dismissal of its two Jaffna MPs, R. Rameswaran and R. Ramamoorthy, was valid in law.
Under Sri Lankan law the Commissioner of Elections has to appoint the person or persons of a party or an independent group who polled the highest number of personal preferential votes after the member or members of Parliament whose seat falls vacant due to death dismissal or other reasons set out in the constitution.
EPDP has cited as respondents: 1.Mr.Dayananda Dissanayaka, Commissioner of Elections 2.Jaffna GA Mr.S. Shanmuganathan as the Returning Officer for Jaffna. 3.The Secretary General of Parliament 4.Sultan Rahim 5.Suppaiah Jeganathan.
Accordingly the Commissioner of Elections appointed Suppaiah Jeganathan and Sultan Rahim who as candidates of the independent group contesting the 1994 Parliamentary election in the Jaffna district polled the highest number of personal preferential votes after R. Rameswaran and R. Ramamoorthy.
The EPDP contested the 1994 general elections in Jaffna as an independent group in which it included some members of the UNP as candidates.
The group, according to Tamil party sources in Colombo, is concerned that the appointment of others on the 1994 list of candidates who are not its members, including Nadarajah Sivarajah an active member of the UNP, could harm its interests. Suppaiah Jeganathan is also believed to be a person who represented the UNP on the EPDP list in 1994.
Sources at the Department of Elections said today that the appointments was constitutional.
Sources at the Department of Elections said today that the appointments was constitutional. They cited sections (a) and (b) of paragraph 13 of Article 99 of the Sri Lankan Constitution. Art.99, 13 (a) says " Where a member of Parliament ceases, by resignation, expulsion or otherwise, to be a member of a recognised political party or independent group on whose nomination paper his name appeared at the time of his becoming such member of Parliament, his seat shall become vacant upon the expiration of a period of one month of his ceasing to be such member. and 13 (b) says "Where the seat of a Member of Parliament becomes vacant as provided in Article 66 .... or by virtue of the preceding provisions of this paragraph the candidate from the relevant recognised political party or independent group who has secured the next highest number of preferences shall be declared elected to fill such vacancy."
There is no provision in the Constitution for the Commissioner of Elections to accept the resignation of the person who got the next highest number of preferences on a group's list before he becomes a Member of Parliament and in his stead appoint the person chosen by the group to be a MP said the department sources.
30.03.99 EPDP dismisses Jaffna MPs