A Fundamental Rights Petition was filed in the Supreme Court on Friday against former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s alleged use of state vehicles and properties for his election campaign. The petitioner, Attorney-at-Law Senaka Perera, is National List nominee of the Nava Sama Samaja Party.
Meanwhile, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) filed a separate petition with the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka stating that the former President possessed privileges that gave him an unfair advantage over other candidates at the General Election.
Attorney-at-Law Sunil Watagala, who filed the petition on behalf of the JVP, stated that the fundamental rights of other candidates contesting the election in the Kurunegala District had been violated as Rajapaksa’s privileges were giving him a clear unfair advantage over them. Rajapaksa is now the leader of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) candidates in the district.
According to Watagala, the former President had been provided with 105 police officers and 104 army personnel for his protection. In addition about 20 vehicles including four trucks, two buses, one car, three defenders, three land cruisers, two double cabs and three motorbikes had been provided to him by the army, he stated.
Watagala claimed the former President also possessed seven other vehicles provided by the government, including the best Benz car that is currently in Sri Lanka. The cost of 750 liters of petrol for the Benz and 1200 liters of diesel for the other vehicles was also been borne by the state, he further revealed. “This is in addition to the salaries of all the security and other personnel who are currently with the former President’s entourage. All this gives him a clear and unfair advantage in his election campaign” he pointed out.
Watagala said the JVP had no issue in the security provided for Rajapaksa. “However, we would like the Elections Commissioner to limit these privileges at least until August 17”.