Sri Lankan Authorities to Probe Ex-MP Diana Gamage's Visa Status

Sri Lankan authorities will investigate former MP Diana Gamage for living in the country without a valid visa since 2014. The Supreme Court disqualified her from parliament due to her UK citizenship, citing failure to properly resume her Sri Lankan citizenship status.

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Bijay Laxmi
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Sri Lankan Authorities to Probe Ex-MP Diana Gamage's Visa Status

Sri Lankan Authorities to Probe Ex-MP Diana Gamage's Visa Status

Sri Lankanimmigration authoritiesare set to investigate former State Minister and MP Diana Gamage for living in the country without a valid visa since 2014, following a Supreme Court ruling that disqualified her from parliament due to her UK citizenship. The court observed that Gamage ceased to be a Sri Lankan citizen upon acquiring British citizenship and failed to properly resume her Sri Lankan citizenship status.

Why this matters: This case highlights the importance of upholding constitutional provisions related to the citizenship of elected officials, ensuring the integrity of the political system. It also raises questions about the effectiveness of current laws and procedures in verifying the citizenship status of candidates, which could have broader implications for the country'spolitical landscape.

Gamage had been living in Sri Lanka on a tourist visa since 2014, which is invalid for long-term residence. The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) informed the court that she had been residing in the country using a forged document, violating the Immigrants and Emigrants Act. Public Security Ministry Secretary Viyani Gunatilake stated, "We have sought instructions from the Attorney General."

The issue of dual citizenship has impacted other Sri Lankan politicians in the past. Former actress-turned-politician Geetha Kumarasinghe lost her parliamentary seat over her dual citizenship in Sri Lanka and Switzerland. The 19th Amendment to the Constitution had barred dual citizens from contesting elections, but this provision was later revoked in the 20th Amendment, enabling dual citizens to return to Parliament.

Election Commission Chairman R.M.A.L. Ratnayake acknowledged the difficulty in verifying the foreign or dual citizenship status of candidates when they submit nominations to contest elections. The case of Diana Gamage has sparked outrage among the public, with many expressing frustration over the perceived delay in taking action against her and citing double standards in the application of the rule of law in Sri Lanka.

As the investigation into Diana Gamage's visa status unfolds, it remains to be seen how the authorities will proceed and what consequences, if any, the former MP may face for her alleged violation of immigration laws. The Supreme Court's ruling has set a precedent for upholding the constitutional provisions related to the citizenship of elected officials in Sri Lanka.