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May 11, 2020

Sri Lanka: SC to begin hearing Fundamental Rights petitions against General Elections next week

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In Sri Lanka, the Supreme Court has decided to begin hearing next week the multiple Fundamental Rights (FR) petitions filed challenging the date of the General Election scheduled on 20th of June. Former MP and lawyer M. A. Sumanthiran, representing a petitioner, informed the court that the issuance of preferential numbers for the General Election is due tomorrow.

He pointed out that if the preferential numbers are issued, the candidates might commence campaigning by visiting voters’ homes, which could result in a serious health threat due to COVID situation and urged the court to issue an interim relief order to suspend elections.

The bench, however, stated that it is difficult to issue an interim relief order without consulting the respondent Election Commission and pointed out that the commission is capable of making a decision regarding this matter. The three-member bench concluded that all relevant petitions will be considered on the 18th and 19th of May.

Meanwhile, a crucial meeting of Election Commission is scheduled for tomorrow to decide upon the finality of holding elections next month.

The commission will seek the views of health authorities and take a decision accordingly. The government has declared restoring normalcy in public life and day curfew has been lifted in 23 out of 25 districts. In other two districts of Colombo and Gampaha, office works and economic activities have begun in a limited way with social distancing norms and safety guidelines.

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