Lawyers Urges Election Commissioner to give binding directives to ITN and other state owned business undertakings
It has been brought to our notice that the Election Commissioner has expressed the view that no steps can be taken against Independent Television Network (ITN) as it is not a state corporation. This misconception would probably be applicable to other state owned business underakings including Defence Ministry run Rakna Lanka. We wish to clarify the legal position in respect of this legal issue.
ITN is a fully state owned business undertaking having been taken over by Government two decades ago. Its legal status never changed thereafter. It comes under the purview of the Ministry of Media and is totally funded by the Treasury. ITN is subjected to financial and administrative control of the Media ministry. Having regard to its functions and operations, it is no different from any other public corporation. Similarly, several other public institutions, established under the Companies Act, such as Rakna Lanka (under the Defence Ministry) should be considered as public property.
In our view, the Election Commissioner should consider ITN and all state owned companies as a state property. Thus, Election Commissioner is vested with authority to act under Article 104(b)(4) to give directives to those institutions and ensure compliance thereof.
Conveners of Lawyers Collective
1st January 2015
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