Romesh de Silva PC Appearing for Gotabaya Rajapaksa Submits to Special Three-Judge Bench of Appeal Court Hearing Writ Petition That Litigation Against his Client had been Brought by Political Opponents and was not in the Public Interest
Security was beefed up around the Superior Courts Complex as the high stakes litigation challenging the validity of SLPP presidential hopeful Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Sri Lankan citizenship was taken up before a special three-judge bench of the Court of Appeal yesterday.
Appearing as Counsel for civil society activists Gamini Viyangoda and Prof. Chandraguptha Thenuwara, who filed the writ application, Attorney-at-Law Suren Fernando told the Court of Appeal during a lengthy submission that Rajapaksa’s dual citizenship certificate was a “nullity in law”, illegal on the face of it and “nothing but a blank sheet of paper” – a reference to the UK Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the prorogation of Parliament in that country.
Setting out his case, Fernando said that Gotabaya Rajapaksa was a citizen of Sri Lanka by birth but ceased to be a citizen under the Citizenship Act, when he swore an oath to become a citizen of another country on or around 31 January 2003. He had to subsequently make an application under the Citizenship Act section 19 (2) to resume status as citizen of Sri Lanka by virtue of dual citizenship.
Fernando told the court that Rajapaksa’s dual citizenship certificate was purportedly approved on 21 November 2005 after an application was made on 18 November 2005 which was a Friday. “It was also the day the results of the Presidential Election were released,” Fernando said. 21 November was the immediately following Monday, with a weekend in between.
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