Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court Thursday upheld a lower court decision which unseated Geetha Kumarasinghe from parliament after finding her to be holding dual citizenship in violation of the constitution.
A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Priyasath Dep ruled that the 62-year-old actress-turned-politician could not be a member of the legislature because she held dual Sri Lankan and Swiss nationality.
The judgement read by justice Buwaneka Aluwihare noted that she was not qualified to be a candidate at the August 2015 elections because she had not renounced her Swiss nationality. She was in violation of the 19th amendment to the constitution.
The Court of Appeal in May held that Kumarasinghe was in breach of the 19th amendment introduced before the August 2015 elections which brought her to parliament.
She is a supporter of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa and remained a stalwart of the Joint Opposition faction of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party.
The apex court’s decision means she will have to repay the salary she drew as a member of parliament since August 2015 and also reimburse the cost of other privileges she enjoyed as a lawmaker, including a luxury car.
President Maithripala Sirisena who came to power in January 2015 amended the constitution to bar Sri Lankans with dual citizenship from contesting elections, a move that directly affected two brothers of former strongman president Rajapakse who held US citizenship.