ParliamentARY Elections ACT

Arrangement of Sections

1. Short title.

PART I

Preliminary

2. Number of Members to be returned for each electoral district.

3. Polling divisions and polling districts.

4. Polling divisions and polling districts.

5. Register of electors to be conclusive evidence of right to vote.

6. Returning officers.

7. Recognised political parties for the purpose of elections.

8. Recognised political parties to comply with certain requirements.

8A. Commission to be notified of any alliance of political parties.

9. Cessation of recognition of a political party.

PART II

Nomination

10. Nominations period and date of poll.

11. Notice of intention to contest elections.

12. Change of approved symbols of recognised political parties.

13. Power of Commissioner to direct which one of the rival sections of a recognised political party is that party.

14. Who may contest election.

15. Nomination papers.

16. Deposits.

17. Disposal of deposit.

18. Consent to nomination an offence under certain circumstances.

19. Rejection of nomination papers.

20. Uncontested elections.

21. Procedure where no nomination papers are received.

22. Contested elections.

23. Persons entitled to be present at nomination.

PART III

The Poll

24. Notice of poll.

25. Death of candidate after nomination.

26. Voting by Post.

27. Official poll card.

28. Presiding officers.

29. Facilities to be provided at polling stations.

30. Notices to be exhibited at polling stations.

31. Ballot boxes.

32. Ballot paper.

33. Hours of poll.

34. Appointment of polling agents.

35. General conduct of the poll.

36. Sealing of ballot boxes and commencement of poll.

37. Issue of ballot papers.

38. Inspections of voter and marking with the appropriate mark.

39. Manner of voting.

40. Assistance to voters to enable them to vote.

41. Voting by proxy forbidden.

42. Plural voting to be an illegal practice.

43. Power to require voter to make declarations.

44. Spoilt ballot papers.

45. Tendered votes.

46. Closure of poll.

47. Procedure of closure of poll.

48. Presiding officer may act through officers appointed to assist him.

48A. Disturbances at polling stations.

PART IV

Counting of Votes and Declaration of Result

49. Counting officers.

50. Notice of count.

51. Appointment of counting agents.

52. The count.

53. Ballot papers to be rejected.

54. Special provisions relating to powers, duties and functions under sections 52 and 53.

55. Closure of the count.

56. Counting of postal ballot papers.

57. Notice of declaration of result.

58. Appointment of agents to attend at the declaration of the result.

59. Persons entitled to be present at the declaration of the result.

60. Declaration of the result.

61. Special provisions relating to powers, duties or functions under section 60.

62. Publication of result in the Gazette.

63. Disposal of ballot papers.

PART V

Filling of Vacancies

64. Filling of vacancies.

65. Repealed.

PART VI

Offences

66. Offences relating to nomination papers ballot papery official poll cards.

67. Certain persons not to canvass or act as agents.

68. Certain acts prohibited on polling day.

69. Restriction on processions.

70. Restriction on public meetings.

71. General provisions relating to offences under sections 66, 67, 68, 69 and 70.

72. Printing of election publications by persons other than candidates.

73. Restriction on number of election offices.

74. Provision relating to display of handbills, posters.

75. Candidate not to visit residences for canvassing.

76. Maintenance secrecy at elections.

Corrupt Practices

77. Personation.

78. Treating.

79. Undue influence.

80. Bribery.

81. Punishment and incapacities for corrupt practice.

82. Special provisions relating to punishment and incapacity for a corrupt practice by an un-successful candidate at an election.

Illegal Practices

83. Certain expenditure to be illegal practice.

84. False reports in newspapers.

85. Certain employment to be illegal.

86. Printing of election publications.

87. Punishment on conviction for illegal practices.

88. Special provisions relating to punishment and incapacity for an illegal practice by an un-successful candidate at any election.

Excuse for Corrupt or Illegal Practice

89. Report exonerating candidate in certain cases of corrupt or illegal practices.

90. Power of Court to except innocent act from being illegal.

PART VII

Election Petitions

91. Avoidance by conviction of candidate.

92. Avoidance of election on election petition.

93. Court of Appeal to try election petitions.

94. Place of trial of an election petition.

95. Who may present petition.

96. Relief which may be claimed.

97. Parties to a petition.

98. Contents of the petition.

99. Special provisions relating to the procedure before an Election Judge.

100. Determination of Election Judge.

101. Report of Judges as to corrupt or illegal practice.

102. Appeal on question of law against declaration under section 100 and any other decision or order of Election Judge.

103. Security by appellant of appeal.

104. Power of the Supreme Court in appeal.

105. Transmission to President of certificate and report.

106. Effect of certificate.

107. Effect of report.

108. Time for presentation.

109. Prohibition of disclosure of vote.

110. Votes to be struck off at a scrutiny.

111. Procedure and practice on election petitions.

112. Rejection of ballot paper by counting officer to be final.

PART VIII

General

113. Power to order elections.

114. Failure to comply with provisions of Act.

115. Death, withdrawal or disqualification of candidate not to invalidate nomination paper of party or group.

116. Use of schools as polling stations.

117. Secretary of a recognised political party or group leader to act as his own agent or assist his agent.

118. Non-attendance of the agents of recognised political party or independent group.

119. Prohibition of disclosure of vote.

120. Inaccurate description of places and persons.

121. Publication of notices.

122. Duty of employers to grant leave to enable employee to vote.

123. Requisitioning of premises for use as polling stations.

124. Compensation for requisitioning premises.

125. Right of secretary of recognised political party or group leader to send matter relating to elections post free.

126. Political broadcasts.

127. State assistance to recognised political parties.

127A. Police to assist Commissioner

127B. Procedure for casting vote where there's a tear of an reasonable inability to east vote at a given polling station.

128. Powers of Commissioner.

129. Removal of difficulties.

129A. Repealed.

130. Repeal.

131. Interpretation.

SCHEDULES

1 of 1981,

15 of 1988,

29 of 1988,

35 of 1988,

54 of 1988,

14 of 2004,

58 of 2009,

28 of 2011.

AN ACT to make provision for the procedure for the election of Members of Parliament, the creation of offences relating to such elections, the grounds for avoiding such elections, and where an election has been held void the manner of holding fresh elections, the manner of determination of disputed elections, and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

[Date of Commencement: 22nd January, 1981]

1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the Parliamentary Elections Act.

PART I

Preliminary

2. Number of Members to be returned for each electoral district.

Each electoral district shall return such number of Members as the Commissioner of Elections (hereinafter referred to as the "Commissioner”) has certified in the Order for the time being in force under Article 98(8) of the Constitution.

3. Polling divisions and polling districts.

Each polling division and each polling district for the time being in force under the Registration of Electors Act, No. 44 of 1980, shall be deemed to be a polling division and a polling district, respectively, for the purposes of this Act.

4. Polling divisions and polling districts.

(a) The secretary of any political party, other than a party which is already entitled to be treated as a recognised political party for the purpose of elections, may, subject to the provisions of paragraph (c) and paragraph (d), at any time make on behalf of that party a written application to the Commissioner, that such party be treated as a recognised political party for the purpose of elections. This application shall also specify which one of the approved symbols such party desires to be allotted to such party if so treated.

(b) The secretary of a political party shall, at the time an application is made under paragraph (a), furnish to the Commissioner a copy of the constitution of such party and a list of office bearers of such party.

(c) Nothing in paragraph (a) shall be read or construed as enabling the secretary of a political party to make an application under that paragraph at any time during any of the following periods, that is to say, the period—

(i) commencing on the date of a Proclamation dissolving Parliament or of an Order requiring the holding of an election under the Parliamentary Elections Act, No. 1 of 1981 and ending on this date of poll specified in such Proclamation or Order; or

(ii) commencing on the date of an Order made under section 2 of the Presidential Elections Act, No. 15 of 1981 and ending on the date of poll fixed by that Order; or

(iii) commencing on the date of a notice under section 10 of the Provincial Councils Elections Act, No. 2 of 1988, relating to an election under that Act, and ending on the date of poll specified for that election in an Order made under section 22 of that Act; or

(iv) commencing on the date of a notice under section 10 of the Development Councils Elections Act, No. 20 of 1981, relating to an election under that Act and ending on the date of poll specified for that election in a notice made under section 22 of that Act; or

(v) commencing on the date of a notice under section 26 of the Local Authorities Elections Ordinance, relating to an election under that Ordinance, and ending on the date of poll specified for that election in a notice under section 38 of that Ordinance; or

(vi) commencing on the date of a Proclamation issued under section 2 of the Referendum Act, No. 7 of 1981 and ending on the date of poll appointed by that Proclamation.

(d) Where an application made under paragraph (a) in respect of a political party is disallowed by the Commissioner, no application shall be made under that paragraph in respect of that political party until after the expiration of a period of six months from the date of the order disallowing the first application.

5. Register of electors to be conclusive evidence of right to vote.

A register of electors referred to in section 4 shall be conclusive evidence for the purpose of determining whether a person is or is not entitled to vote at an election under this Act and the right of voting of any person whose name is for the time being contained in such register shall not be prejudiced by any appeal pending under any written law for the time being in force in respect of the entry of such person's name in the register, and any vote given by any such person during the pendency of such appeal shall be as good as though no such appeal were pending and shall not be affected by the subsequent decision of the appeal:

Provided that if any person, who by reason of his conviction of a corrupt practice or an illegal practice or by reason of any of the provisions of the Constitution is incapable of voting at an election under this Act, votes at such election, he shall, on conviction before a Magistrate, be liable to a fine not exceeding five hundred rupees or to imprisonment of either description for a period not exceeding six months:

Provided further that nothing in this section shall affect the liability of any person to any penalty for an infringement of the provisions relating to voting in person under section 26 or to plural voting under section 42.

6. Returning officers.

(1) The Commissioner, shall, from time to time, by notice in the Gazette, appoint by name or by office a person to be the returning officer of each electoral district and may appoint by name or by office one or more persons to assist the returning officer in the performance of his duties. A person so appointed to assist any returning officer shall have all the powers and may perform all the duties of the officer whom he is appointed to assist, and any reference in this Act to a returning officer shall, unless the context otherwise requires, be deemed to include a reference to an assistant returning officer. An appointment made by the Commissioner under this subsection may be revoked by him at any time.

(2) If any returning officer is by reason of illness or other cause prevented or disabled from performing any of his duties under this Act and there is not time for another person to be appointed by the Commissioner, the returning officer may appoint by name or by office, a deputy to act for him. Every such appointment shall as soon as possible be reported to the Commissioner and may be revoked by him, but without prejudice to the validity of anything already done by such deputy.

7. Recognised political parties for the purpose of elections.

(1) A political party shall, under and in accordance with the provisions of this Act, be entitled to be treated as a recognised political party for the purpose of elections.

(2) Subject to the other provisions of this Act, a political party entitled to be treated as a recognised political party under the Ceylon (Parliamentary Elections) Order in Council, 1946, on the day immediately preceding the date of coming into operation of this Act, shall be entitled to be treated as a recognised political party for the purpose of elections under this Act.

(3) Where a political party is entitled, by virtue of the operation of the provisions of subsection (2), to be treated as a recognised political party for the purpose of elections, the approved symbol allotted to such party under the said Order in Council shall be deemed to be the approved symbol allotted to that party for such purposes until the date on which such party ceases to be so entitled as hereinafter provided under this Act, or the date on which such party is allotted a new approved symbol by the Commissioner by order as hereinafter provided under this Act, whichever date is earlier.

(4) —

(a) The Commission shall, before the thirty-first day of January of each year publish a Notice calling upon the Secretary of a political party, other than a party which is already entitled to be treated as a recognised political party for the purpose of elections, to make a written application to the Commission, on behalf of that party within such period as may be specified in such notice, subject to the provisions of paragraphs (d) and (e), that such party be treated as a recognised political party for the purpose of elections. The application shall also specify the approved symbol which such party wishes to have allocated to it, out of the available approved symbols, in the event such party is to be so treated.

(b) The Commission shall at the beginning of every calendar year, cause to be published in the Gazette a Notification containing a list of the names of all political parties entitled to be treated as recognised political parties for the purpose of elections.

(c) The Secretary of a political party shall, at the time an application is made under paragraph (a), furnish to the Commission a copy of the Constitution of such party and a list of office bearers, an audited statement of accounts and the contemporary policy statement of such party.

(d) In order to guarantee better representation of women in political parties and in politics, every recognised political party shall ensure the inclusion of one or more women office bearers in the list of office bearers of such party.

(e) Nothing in paragraph (a) of this subsection shall be read or construed as enabling the Commission to call for applications from political parties for recognition for the Secretary of a political party to make an application under that paragraph at any time during any of the following periods, that is to say, the period—

(i) commencing on the date of a Proclamation dissolving Parliament or of an Order requiring the holding of an election under this Act and ending on the date of poll specified in such Proclamation or Order; or

(ii) commencing on the date of an Order made under section 2 of the Presidential Elections Act, No. 15 of 1981 and ending on the date of poll fixed by that Order; or

(iii) commencing on the date of a Notice under section 10 of the Provincial Councils Elections Act, No. 2 of 1988, relating to an election under that Act and ending on the date of poll specified for that election in an Order made under section 22 of that Act; or

(iv) commencing on the date of a Notice under section 26 of the Local Authorities Elections Ordinance relating to an election under that Ordinance and ending on the date of poll specified in a Notice under section 38 of that Ordinance; or

(v) commencing on the date of a Proclamation issued under section 2 of the Referendum Act, No. 7 of 1981 and ending on the date of poll appointed by that Proclamation.

(f) If paragraph (d) is in operation during the month of January of any year Commission shall publish the Notice as specified in paragraph (a) after the expiration of a period of thirty days from the date of poll, calling for applications for the recognition of eligible political parties.

(g) Where an application made under paragraph (a) in respect of a political party is disallowed by the Commission, no application shall be made under that subsection in respect of that political party until after the expiration of a period of one year from the date of the Order disallowing such application.

[S 7(4) subs by s 2 of Act 58 of 2009.]

(5) Upon receipt of an application duly made under subsection (4) on behalf of

any political party, the Commission shall, after such inquiry as it may deem fit—

(a) if in the opinion of the Commission such party is a political party and is capable of contesting elections under this Act; and

(b) if the Commission is satisfied that—

(i) such party has been engaged in political activities for a continuous period of at least four years prior to the date of the making of such application; or

(ii) —

(a) out of at least two candidates nominated by such party at least one was successful at the last Parliamentary general election held immediately preceding the date of the application of such party; or

(b) out of at least five candidates nominated by such party for five different Provincial Councils at least three were successful at the last provincial elections held immediately preceding the date of application of such party, the Commission may make Order—

(i) that such party shall be entitled to be treated as a recognised political party for the purpose of elections, subject however, to the provisions of this Act;

(ii) allotting an approved symbol to such party, being the approved symbol which the political party wishes to have allocated to it out of the approved symbols, determined by the Commission in its absolute discretion, but not being the approved symbol of any other political party which is entitled to be so treated.

[S 7(5) subs by s 2 of Act 58 of 2009.]

(6) A political party shall not be entitled to be treated as a recognised political party under paragraph (a) of subsection (5) if its name is identical with the name of any party which is already entitled to be treated as a recognised political party or in the opinion of the Commission so nearly resembles such name as to be calculated to mislead, confuse or deceive.

[S 7(6) subs by s 2 of Act 58 of 2009.]

(7) The Order of the Commission made under subsection (5) on any application made under subsection (4) shall be final and shall not be called in question in any court.

[S 7(7) subs by s 2 of Act 58 of 2009.]

(8) For the purposes of subsection (5) of this section, the words "such party”

shall include a constituent party of a party which is formed, based on a political alliance.

[S 7(8) ins by s 2 of Act 58 of 2009.]

8. Recognised political parties to comply with certain requirements.

(1) It shall be the duty of the Secretary of every recognised political party to submit to the Commission a copy of the Constitution of such party together with a list of the office bearers of such party and a copy of the political programme of such party—

(a) in the case of a recognised political party referred to in subsection (2) of section 7, within three months from the date of coming into operation of this Act; and

(b) in the case of any other recognised political party, within three months from the date on which such party is entitled to be treated as a recognised political party under paragraph (a) of subsection (5) of section 7.

(2) Every recognised political party shall hold a general meeting once a year or as specified in the Constitution of the party. The procedure to be followed at such meeting shall be specified in such Constitution.

(3) Where a recognised political party amends its Constitution or changes its Office bearers, the Secretary of such party shall, before the expiry of a period of thirty days from the date of such amendment or change, inform the Commission in writing of such amendment or change.

(4) A copy of the annual statement of accounts of every recognised political party audited by a registered auditor shall be submitted to the Commission.

(5) Every recognised political party shall be entitled to State assistance as provided for in the relevant written laws applicable to the conduct of elections.

(6) —

(a) For the purpose of exercising the powers conferred on the Commission Under this Act, the Commission may by notice in writing require the Secretary of any political party to furnish such information specified in the notice issued, pertaining to such political party or to produce any document as shall be specified therein, within such period as shall be specified in the notice.

(b) It shall be the duty of the Secretary of any political party who is required by notice to furnish any information under subsection (1), to comply with those requirements within the time specified in such notice, unless such Secretary is precluded from divulging such information under the provisions of any written law.

(7) Any person shall, on payment of a prescribed fee to the Commission have the right to call for and refer to the Constitution of a political party and on payment of the prescribed fee shall have the right to obtain a certified copy of such Constitution.

(8) Commission may issue from time to time a Code of Conduct to be observed by political parties and candidates during elections.

(9) The Commission may from time to time issue such general or special directions to the political parties, a person or body as may be necessary for the effective and efficient implementation of the provisions of this section and section 7.

[S 8 subs by s 3 of Act 58 of 2009.]

8A. Commission to be notified of any alliance of political parties.

It shall be the duty of the Secretary of any alliance which is formed between two or more recognised political parties, to notify the Commission of the names of the constituent parties of such alliance and the office bearers thereof.

[S 8A ins by s 4 of Act 58 of 2009.]

9. Cessation of recognition of a political party.

(1) Subject to subsection (2), where any recognised political party fails to comply with the provisions of section 8, such party shall cease to be a recognised political party.

(2) The Commission may, upon application made in writing in that behalf by the Secretary of a recognised political party, in its discretion, extend the period referred to in section 8 for a further period not exceeding sixty days.

(3) A political party which is entitled to be treated as a recognised political party for the purpose of elections shall cease to be so entitled—

(i) if not one single candidate of such party is nominated for two consecutive Parliamentary general elections;

(ii) if it does not conform to the requirements of subsections (1), (3), (4) and (7) of section 8.

(4) For the purposes of this section, the words "such party” shall include a Constituent party of a party which is formed based on a political alliance.

[S 9 subs by s 5 of Act 58 of 2009.]

PART II

Nomination

10. Nominations period and date of poll.

(1) The President shall, in every Proclamation Nomination dissolving Parliament or in any Order requiring the holding date of an election, specify—

(a) the period (hereinafter referred to as the "nomination period”) during which nomination papers shall be received by the returning officer during normal office hours at his office; and

(b) the date on which the poll shall be taken.

(2) —

(a) The nomination period shall commence on the tenth day after the date of publication in the Gazette of the Proclamation or Order referred to in subsection (1) and expire at twelve noon on the seventeenth day after the date of publication of such Proclamation or Order; and

[S 10(2)(a) subs by s 2 of Act 15 of 1988.]

(b) The date fixed under paragraph (b) of subsection (1) shall be—

(i) a day not less than five weeks and not more than seven weeks from the closing day of the nomination period;

[S 10(2)(b)(i) subs by s 2 of Act 15 of 1988.]

(ii) any day other than a Full Moon Poya day or any public holiday specified in the First Schedule to the Holidays Act, No. 29 of 1971;

and if, after the publication of the Proclamation or Order referred to in subsection (1), the day specified in such Proclamation or Order is declared to be a public holiday, such declaration shall in no way affect the validity of anything done on such day for the purpose of taking the poll.

11. Notice of intention to contest elections.

After the date of publication in the Gazette of a Proclamation or Order requiring the holding of an election, the secretary of a recognised political party shall, if such party intends contesting such election, give the Commissioner written notice of such intention. Such notice shall be so given as to reach the Commissioner within seven days from that date.

12. Change of approved symbols of recognised political parties.

(1) Within seven days from the date of the publication in the Gazette of a Proclamation or Order requiring the holding of an election, the secretary of any recognised political party may make a written application in that behalf to the Commissioner that any such new approved symbol as shall be specified in such application, not being the approved symbol of any other such party, shall be allotted to such party in lieu of the existing approved symbol of such party.

(2) Upon the receipt of an application duly made under subsection (1) by the secretary of any recognised political party, the Commissioner shall make an order allotting to such party, in lieu of its existing approved symbol, the new approved symbol specified in such application or some other approved symbol determined by him in his absolute discretion, not being the approved symbol of any other recognised political party.

(3) An order made by the Commissioner under sub section (2) shall be final and shall not be called in question in any court.

13. Power of Commissioner to direct which one of the rival sections of a recognised political party is that party.

(1) Where the Commissioner has reasonable cause to believe that difficulties may arise at an election which is due to be held in any electoral district by reason of the fact that there are rival sections of a recognised political party all of whom claim to be that party, the Commissioner may, in order to remove such difficulties, issue in his absolute discretion a direction to the returning officer for that district that in the case of such election such recognised political party is either any one such section or none of such sections. It shall be the duty of such returning officer or any other officer, at such election, to act in accordance with that direction.

(2) No suit or other proceeding shall lie against—

(a) the Commissioner by reason of his having issued a direction under subsection (1); or

(b) a returning officer or any other officer for any act or thing done or omitted to be done in accordance with that direction.

(3) A direction issued to a returning officer under subsection (1) shall be final and shall not be called in question in any court.

(4) The preceding provisions of this section and any direction issued thereunder shall have effect notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any other provisions of this Act.

14. Who may contest election.

Any person who is qualified to be elected as a Member of Parliament in terms of Article 90 of the Constitution may be nominated as a candidate for election, as hereinafter provided.

15. Nomination papers.

(1) Any recognised political party or any group of persons contesting as independent candidates (hereinafter referred to as an "independent group”) may, for the purpose of an election of Members of Parliament for any electoral district, submit one nomination paper setting out the names, of such number of candidates as is equivalent to the number of Members to be elected for that electoral district, increased by three. Such nomination paper shall be substantially in Form A set out in the First Schedule to this Act.

[S 15(1) subs by s 3 of Act 15 of 1988.]

(2) The written consent of each candidate to be nominated by a recognised political party or an independent group and an oath or affirmation, as the case may be, in the Form set out in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution, taken or subscribed or made or subscribed, as the case may be, by every such candidate, shall be endorsed on the nomination paper.

[S 15(2) subs by s 3 of Act 15 of 1988.]

(3) Each nomination paper shall be signed by the secretary of a recognised political party and in the case of an independent group by the candidate whose name appears first in the nomination paper (hereinafter referred to as the "group leader”) and shall be attested by a Justice of the Peace or by a notary public.

(4) Such nomination paper shall be delivered to the returning officer at his office during normal office hours within the nomination period by the secretary of a recognised political party or by the candidate whose name appears first in such nomination paper (hereinafter referred to as the "authorised agent”) in the case of a recognised political party, or by the group leader in the case of an independent group.

(5) Where, due to any reason whatsoever, the secretary of a recognised political party or the authorised agent or the group leader is unable to deliver a nomination paper, the candidate whose name appears second on such nomination paper shall deliver such nomination paper to the returning officer as required by subsection (4).

(6) The returning officer shall as soon as practicable make a copy of each nomination paper received by him and display such copy on his notice-board.

(7) The returning officer shall, on application made on any date after the publication of the Proclamation or Order requiring the holding of an election and before the expiry of the nomination period, supply free of charge a nomination paper to any recognised political party or any independent group; but nothing in this Act shall be deemed to preclude the use of any form of nomination paper not supplied by the returning officer, so long as such form does not differ substantially from form A set out in the First Schedule to this Act.

(8) —

(a) Where it appears to the secretary of a recognised political party or an authorised agent or a group leader that there is any omission or clerical error in a nomination paper submitted by such party or independent group he may make an application to the returning officer before the expiry of the nomination period to correct such omission or error on such paper.

(b) Where the returning officer is satisfied that such omission or error is due to inadvertence, the returning officer may allow such secretary or authorised agent or group leader to correct such omission or error in his presence.

(c) For the purposes of this subsection, the omission of the name of a candidate, or the failure of a candidate to endorse his consent on a nomination paper, or the failure of the secretary of a recognised political party or a group leader to sign a nomination paper, or the failure of a Justice of the Peace or a notary public to attest such signature shall be deemed not to be an omission or a clerical error due to inadvertence.

16. Deposits.

(1) A group leader or any person authorised by such group leader, shall, between the date of publication of the Proclamation or Order requiring the holding of an election and the submission of the nomination paper of that group, deposit in legal tender with the returning officer a turn calculated at two thousand rupees in respect of each candidate nominated by such group.

(2) No deposit made by a group leader or a person authorised by such group leader under subsection (1) shall be accepted by the returning officer unless it is made within the time prescribed in that subsection.

(3) Where a deposit under this section is accepted by the returning officer, such officer shall forthwith issue to the person by whom the deposit was made, a receipt in writing signed by such officer acknowledging his acceptance of such deposit, and the receipt shall state—

(a) the name of the group leader by whom the deposit was made or of the authorised person by whom and on whose behalf the deposit was made;

(b) the number of candidates;

(c) the amount of the deposit; and

(d) the time and date of the deposit.

17. Disposal of deposit.

(1) Every deposit made with a returning officer under section 16 shall forthwith be credited by such officer to a deposit account and shall be disposed of according to the provisions of subsections (2), (3) and (4).

(2) Where a nomination paper of an independent group is rejected under the provisions of section 19, the deposit shall be returned to the person who made the deposit.

(3) Where the number of votes polled by any independent group does not exceed one-eighth of the total number of votes polled at the election in any electoral district, the deposit made in respect of the candidates of such group shall be declared forfeit and shall be transferred by the returning officer from the deposit account to the Consolidated Fund, and in every other case the deposit shall be returned to the person who made the deposit, as soon as may be after the result of the election is declared.

(4) For the purposes of this section, the number of votes polled at an election in any electoral district shall be deemed to be the number of votes actually counted and shall not include any votes rejected as void.

18. Consent to nomination an offence under certain circumstances.

Where any person who is not qualified to be elected as a Member of Parliament—

(a) by reason of his conviction for a corrupt or illegal practice or by reason of the report of an Election Judge under the Ceylon (Parliamentary Elections) Order in Council, 1946, or under this Act, or by reason of the report of the Supreme Court under the Presidential Elections Act, 1981; or

(b) by reason of the imposition of civic disability on him in terms of Article 81(1) of the Constitution, signifies his consent to be nominated as a candidate at an election under this Act, he shall be guilty of an offence, and shall, on conviction before a Magistrate, be liable to a fine not exceeding one thousand rupees or to imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding three months or to both such fine and imprisonment.

19. Rejection of nomination papers.

(1) The returning officer shall, immediately after the expiry of the nomination period, examine the nomination papers received by him and reject any nomination paper—

(a) that has not been delivered in accordance with the provisions of subsection (4) or subsection (5) of section 15; or

(b) that does not contain the total number of candidates required to be nominated in terms of Article 99(3) of the Constitution; or

[S 19(1)(b) am by s 4 of Act 15 of 1988.]

(c) in respect of which the deposit required under section 16 has not been made; or

(d) where the consent of one or more candidates nominated or the oath or affirmation, in the form set out in the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution, of one or more candidates, has or have not been endorsed on the nomination paper.

[S 19(1)(d) subs by s 4 of Act 15 of 1988.]

(e) where the signature of the secretary in the case of a recognised political party, or of the group leader in the case of an independent group does not appear on the nomination paper or where such signature has not been attested as required by subsection (3) of section 15.

(1A) Objections to a nomination paper may be made to the returning officer between twelve noon and one-thirty o'clock in the afternoon of the last day of the period of nomination, and no such objection shall be entertained by the returning officer after one thirty o'clock in the afternoon of that day.

[S 19(1A) ins by s 4 of Act 15 of 1988.]

(2) Where any nomination paper has been rejected by the returning officer under subsection (1), the returning officer shall inform the secretary of the recognised political party or the group leader, as the case may be, who had submitted such nomination paper the fact of such rejection. The decision of the returning officer to reject such nomination paper shall be final.

20. Uncontested elections.

(1) Where the candidates of only one recognised political party or one independent group stand nominated for election, the returning officer shall call upon the secretary of such recognised political party or the group leader of such independent group to decide, within such period as may be specified by the returning officer, which of the candidates whose names appear in such nomination paper shall be declared elected as Members. If such secretary or group leader communicates his decision to the returning officer within the period specified by the returning officer, the returning officer shall declare elected as Members the respective candidates specified in such declaration. If on the other hand, such secretary or group leader fails to communicate his decision to the returning officer within the period specified by the returning officer, then such number of candidates, in the order in which their names appear in such nomination paper, as is equal to the number of Members to be elected shall be declared elected.

[S 20(1) subs by s 5 of Act 15 of 1988.]

(2) The returning officer shall forthwith make a return, which shall be substantially in form B set out in the First Schedule to this Act, to the Commissioner who shall cause the names of the Members so declared elected to be published in the Gazette.

21. Procedure where no nomination papers are received.

Where, in the case of any electoral district, returning officer finds at the expiry of the nomination period—

(a) that no nomination paper has been duly received on behalf of any recognised political party, or any independent group; or

(b) that all the nomination papers received by him have been rejected,

the returning officer shall forthwith report to the Commissioner the fact that no nomination papers have been received or that all the nomination papers received by him have been rejected. The Commissioner shall, not later than seven days after the receipt of such report, publish a notice prescribing a second nomination period. Such period shall commence on the seventh day after the date of the publication of the notice and expire at twelve noon on the tenth day after the publication of such notice. The provisions of this Act shall apply in relation to the second nomination period, subject however that the duration of the nomination period referred to in section 10 shall not be applicable to the second nomination period.

22. Contested elections.

(1) If at the expiry of the nomination period and after the rejection of any nomination paper, candidates of more than one recognised political party or independent group stand duly nominated for election, the returning officer shall forthwith allot—

(a) to each recognised political party for the purpose of that election, the approved symbol of that party; and

(b) in respect of each independent group, an approved symbol, and where there is more than one independent group an approved symbol and a distinguishing number determined—

(i) in the first instance by agreement among the group leaders; or

(ii) in the absence of such agreement by lots cast or drawn in such manner as the returning officer may, in his absolute discretion, determine, and such symbol shall be printed on the ballot paper opposite

(i) the name of such party; and

(ii) in the case of an independent group, the words "Independent Group” and the distinguishing number, if any, allotted to that group.

(2) The approved symbol of a recognised political party shall not, whether or not such party is contesting an election, be allotted under paragraph (b) of subsection (1) to any independent group.

(3) After the allocation of symbols under subsection (1) the returning officer shall forthwith—

(a) adjourn such election to enable a poll to be taken in accordance with the provisions hereinafter set out;

(b) report to the Commissioner that the election is contested; and

(c) send to the Commissioner copies of the nomination papers of the recognised political parties and independent groups, a statement of the symbols allotted to each party or group,

and where there is more than one independent group the distinguishing numbers allotted to each such group, and a statement giving the situation of the polling station or polling stations for each of the polling districts in that electoral district and the particular polling stations, if any, reserved for female voters.

(4) Unless the returning officer considers it necessary or expedient in the special circumstances of any case to provide a separate polling station for the female voters of any polling district, there shall be for each polling district one polling station and no more.

(5) The polling station or stations for each polling district shall be situated within such polling district save where the returning officer, having regard to the special circumstances in any polling district, may decide upon a polling station outside such polling district. The location of the polling station shall be such as to cause the minimum inconvenience to the electors of the polling district.

23. Persons entitled to be present at nomination.

No person other than the returning officer, the secretary of a recognised political party, the authorised agent, the group leader, the candidate whose name appears second on a nomination paper and one other person, if any. selected by each authorised agent or group leader shall, except with the consent of and for the purpose of assisting the returning officer, be entitled to be present at the proceedings under sections 15, 19, 20 and 22.

PART III

The Poll

24. Notice of poll.

(1) Upon the receipt of a report under section 22 in respect of an electoral district the Commissioner shall publish a notice in the Gazette specifying—

(a) the electoral district in which the election is contested;

(b) the names of the candidates, (as indicated by the candidates,) placed in alphabetical order, according to the Sinhala alphabet of each recognised political party and independent group nominated for election as Members of that electoral district, the serial number assigned to each such candidate, the approved symbol allotted to such party or group and in the case of an independent group the words "Independent Group” and the distinguishing number, if any;

[S 24(1)(b) subs by s 6 of Act 15 of 1988.]

(c) the date of poll, being the date specified under section 10; and

(d) the situation of the polling station or polling stations for each of the polling districts in that electoral district and the particular polling stations, if any, reserved for female voters.

This section of the article is only available for our subscribers. Please click here to subscribe to a subscription plan to view this part of the article.


Recent Updates

LAW COMMISSION (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 19 OF 2016


VALUE ADDED TAX (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 20 OF 2016


PORTS AND AIRPORTS DEVELOPMENT LEVY (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 21 OF 2016


NATION BUILDING TAX (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 22 OF 2016


IMMIGRANTS AND EMIGRANTS (AMENDMENT) ACT, No. 7 OF 2015


LAW COMMISSION (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 19 OF 2016


VALUE ADDED TAX (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 20 OF 2016


PORTS AND AIRPORTS DEVELOPMENT LEVY (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 21 OF 2016


NATION BUILDING TAX (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 22 OF 2016


IMMIGRANTS AND EMIGRANTS (AMENDMENT) ACT, No. 7 OF 2015


LAW COMMISSION (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 19 OF 2016


VALUE ADDED TAX (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 20 OF 2016


PORTS AND AIRPORTS DEVELOPMENT LEVY (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 21 OF 2016


NATION BUILDING TAX (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 22 OF 2016


IMMIGRANTS AND EMIGRANTS (AMENDMENT) ACT, No. 7 OF 2015


LAW COMMISSION (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 19 OF 2016


VALUE ADDED TAX (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 20 OF 2016


PORTS AND AIRPORTS DEVELOPMENT LEVY (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 21 OF 2016


NATION BUILDING TAX (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 22 OF 2016


IMMIGRANTS AND EMIGRANTS (AMENDMENT) ACT, No. 7 OF 2015


LAW COMMISSION (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 19 OF 2016


VALUE ADDED TAX (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 20 OF 2016


PORTS AND AIRPORTS DEVELOPMENT LEVY (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 21 OF 2016


NATION BUILDING TAX (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 22 OF 2016


IMMIGRANTS AND EMIGRANTS (AMENDMENT) ACT, No. 7 OF 2015


LAW COMMISSION (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 19 OF 2016


VALUE ADDED TAX (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 20 OF 2016


PORTS AND AIRPORTS DEVELOPMENT LEVY (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 21 OF 2016


NATION BUILDING TAX (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 22 OF 2016


IMMIGRANTS AND EMIGRANTS (AMENDMENT) ACT, No. 7 OF 2015


LAW COMMISSION (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 19 OF 2016


VALUE ADDED TAX (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 20 OF 2016


PORTS AND AIRPORTS DEVELOPMENT LEVY (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 21 OF 2016


NATION BUILDING TAX (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 22 OF 2016


IMMIGRANTS AND EMIGRANTS (AMENDMENT) ACT, No. 7 OF 2015


LAW COMMISSION (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 19 OF 2016


VALUE ADDED TAX (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 20 OF 2016


PORTS AND AIRPORTS DEVELOPMENT LEVY (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 21 OF 2016


NATION BUILDING TAX (AMENDMENT) ACT, NO. 22 OF 2016


IMMIGRANTS AND EMIGRANTS (AMENDMENT) ACT, No. 7 OF 2015