By S.S. Selvanayagam
Galle District UPFA Parliamentarian Geetha Kumarasinghe yesterday filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the judgment of the Court of Appeal cancelling her seat in Parliament over her dual citizenship.
The Court of Appeal on 5 May ruled that she was not entitled to hold the post of a Member of Parliament as she had contested the election while being a dual citizen. Former actress-turned politician Kumarasinghe is a citizen of both Sri Lanka and Switzerland.
Justice Preethi Padman Surasena, with Justice Vijith Malalgoda (President CA) agreeing, also directed the State to recover her debt to the State for each day she sat in Parliament knowing that she was a dual citizen and disqualified from being a Member of Parliament.
The Attorney General had earlier informed the Court of Appeal that Kumarasinghe was still a citizen of Switzerland and according to the 19th Amendment to the Constitution a person who is a dual citizen cannot be a Member of Parliament.
Deputy Solicitor General Janak De Silva also informed Court that according to Clause 91(1) of the Constitution, she was not entitled to parliamentary privileges and could not be a Member of Parliament.
Under the Constitution of Sri Lanka, no person can be elected to Parliament if they hold dual citizenship.
Five voters of the Galle District have filed a petition in the Court of Appeal requesting court to declare Kumarasinghe ineligible to remain a Parliamentarian while holding dual citizenship.
Court held that under the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, a dual citizen is not eligible to contest for parliamentary membership and therefore Kumarasinghe can no longer function as a Parliamentarian.
The petitioners in their writ application challenged her appointment and election as a Member of Parliament due to her dual citizenship.
The Petitioners are W.W.E. Buweneka, J.K. Amarawardhana, A.C. Gunasekera, J.K. Wijesinghe and Prasanna Deepthilal. They cited Kumarasinghe, the Controller of Immigration and Emigration, UPFA Secretary Prof. Vishwa Warnapala and the Secretary General of Parliament as respondents.
The petitioners contested the election of Kumarasinghe as a Member of Parliament contending that she was not legally entitled to such an appointment and was holding this position without authority.
The petitioners claimed that she by virtue of the Constitution was not qualified to be elected as a Member of Parliament and charged that she was thus a usurper of the authority of a Member of Parliament.
She had been declared a Member of Parliament representing the UPFA from the Galle District, they stated.
They petitioned Court to issue a prerogative writ order requiring her to show by what authority she claimed to hold office as a Member of Parliament and an another order declaring that she is disqualified from being a Member of Parliament and thus not entitled to hold office as a Member of Parliament.
J.C. Weliamuna appeared for the petitioners. Manohara de Sivla PC appeared for Geetha Kumarasinghe. Deputy Solicitor General Janak de Silva appeared for the Controller of Immigration and Emigration, the Secretary General of Parliament and the Attorney General.