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SC reserves judgement in SLMC expulsion cases

by Wasantha Ramanayake

The Supreme Court yesterday reserved judgment in the three expulsion cases against the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC).

The Bench comprised Justices Dr.(Mrs.) Shirani Bandaranayake, Nihal Jayasinghe and Nimal Dissanayake.

Three petitioners M.N. Abdul Majeed, Rishard Badiudeen and Hussein Bhaila in separate applications cited the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), its leader Rauff Hakeem, General Secretary M.T. Hussein Ali, the United National Party (UNP), its leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, UNP General Secretary Milroy Perera, Election Commissioner Dayananda Dissanayake, Parliamentary General Secretary Priyani Wijesekera and the Attorney General as respondents.

The petitioners submitted that they were charged sheeted by the SLMC General Secretary dated May 25, in connection with a press conference held by them.

They were required to show cause as to why they should not be expelled from the party.

Petitioner Abdul Majeed MP stated that he was expelled form the party without giving him sufficient time to answer the charges in violation of the natural justice.

However, the third respondent informed the petitioner the decision of the party High Command to expel him from the party. In terms of the petition of Rishard Badiudeen MP, the SLMC could not unseat him since he was elected from the UNP nomination list for the Wanni District.

He stated; since there was a secret agreement between the SLMC and the UNP, UNP General Secretary would inform the Parliamentary General Secretary to unseat him.

Hussein Ahamed Bhaila MP stated that he resigned from SLMC on October 22, 2003 and subsequently, was appointed as a UNP national list MP to the present parliament, he worked for the party without being a member until he crossed over to the Government ranks on May 18.

The counsel contended that the respondents would take steps to expel him form the UNP and unseat him from Parliament. The petitioners sought to set aside the purported expulsions and declarations that the petitioners could continue as Members of Parliament.

Wijedasa Rajapakse PC with Kuvera de Silva and Kapila Liyanagamage appeared for the petitioners. Romesh de Silva PC with Harsha Amarasekera and Sugath Caldera instructed by G.G. Arulpragasam appeared for first second and third respondents.

Ikram Mohamed PC with A.A.M. Illiyas, M. Nayan Kariapper and Padma Bandara instructed by G.G. Arulpragasm appeared for fourth, fifth and sixth respondent.

Additional Solicitor General P.A. Rathnayake PC with Senior State Counsel Indika Demuni appeared for the Election Commissioner and the Parliamentary General Secretary.

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