President Maithripala Sirisena last week sought a determination on whether the provincial council (PC) polls
could be conducted in line with the previous proportional representation (PR) system, which existed before the enactment of the Provincial Councils (Amendment) Act in 2017, which introduced a hybrid of the PR and first-past-the-post systems.
The Supreme Court is to take up the request for observation on Friday (23) and is expected to deliver its opinion to the President before 30 August.
The President, in terms of Article 129 (1) of the Constitution, had referred to the Supreme Court the following questions for its consideration:
(a) In view of the review committee failing to submit its report to me in accordance with sub sections (13) and (14) of Section 3A of the Provincial Councils Elections Act No. 2 of 1988 as amended by Act No. 17 of 2017, (I query) whether, I, as President, can by proclamation forthwith publish the new number of electorates, (and) the boundaries and names assigned to each electorate so created in terms of the report of the Delimitation Committee submitted to the Minster assigned the subject of Provincial Councils?
(b) Whether the provincial council elections can be held under the Provincial Councils Elections Act No. 2 of 1988 as amended by Act No. 17 of 2017, once the proclamation referred in (a) above is published?
(c) Whether in the absence of such inability to hold such provincial council elections in terms of the present law, the said provincial council elections can be held under the law that was in force prior to the enactment of the Provincial Councils Elections (Amendment) Act No. 17 of 2017 in view of Section 6(2) of the Interpretation Ordinance?
Section 6(2) of the Interpretation Ordinance stipulates that “whenever any written law repeals in whole or part a former written law and substitutes therefore some new provision, such repeal shall not take effect until such substituted provision comes into operation”.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has requested the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) to submit observations if any on this matter by Wednesday (21).
Chairman of the Elections Commission, Mahinda Deshapriya has said that if the provincial council elections are to be held before the presidential election this year, the gazette calling for the provincial polls should be issued by August 17th.