The High Court has today ruled that the Supervisor of Elections and Registrar of Political Parties Mohammed Saneem was correct in suspending the National Federation Party last year.
While delivering his ruling on the appeal filed by NFP regarding the earlier suspension of the party High Court Judge Justice Lyone Seneviratne said that NFP’s appeal is dismissed and the appellants have been ordered to pay the Registrar of Parties $2,000 as costs of the appeal within 14 days from today.
The Registrar of Political Parties had suspended NFP from functioning as a political party under the powers conferred upon him by section 19 of the Political Parties Decree on the ground that the NFP had failed to comply with provisions that the auditor who certified that party’s accounts submitted by the NFP did not have a Certificate of Public Practice.
Justice Seneviratne stressed that it is a statutory requirement that every chartered accountant must hold a Certificate of Public Practice to enable him or her to offer services to the public.
He says that this is not a mere technical requirement but it is a statutory requirement.
The judge says that the decision of the Registrar of Political Parties that NFP was in breach of the Political Parties Decree is correct.
Justice Seneviratne says discretion is conferred upon the Registrar to suspend a party enabling it to remedy a breach.
He says that one may argue that the Registrar could have directed NFP to correct the error in accounts without suspending its operation. The judge agrees that the Registrar could have merely asked NFP to correct the error but since the Registrar has acted within the powers conferred upon him by the statute, the court cannot interfere with his decision.