SC reserves order on former Chief Justice’s FR petition

The Supreme Court yesterday reserved its order over the preliminary objections raised against the Fundamental Rights petition filed by former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva who challenged the enactment procedure of the Provincial Council Election Bill.

The Supreme Court will make an order regarding the matter in due course and parties were directed to file their written submissions within one week.

The Supreme Court bench comprised Chief Justice Priyasath Dep, Justice Buvaneka Aluvihare and Justice Nalin Perera.

On October 9, the Attorney General had raised preliminary objections seeking the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction to dismiss (in limine) the Fundamental Rights petition filed by former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva.

Senior Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Rajaratnam appearing on behalf of the Attorney General informed Supreme Court that the Court does not have a jurisdiction to hear this petition in terms of Article 124 of the constitution since it challenges the legislative process of the country.

Article 124 of the Constitution says; ‘No court or tribunal created and established for the administration of justice, or other institution, person or body of persons shall in relation to any Bill, have power or jurisdiction to inquire into, or pronounce upon, the constitutionality of such Bill or its due compliance with the legislative process, on any ground whatsoever’.

ASG Rajaratnam further stated that former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva cannot invoke Supreme Court’s jurisdiction through FR petition in accordance with the Section 3 of the Parliament Powers and Privileges Act. The relevant section says; ‘There shall be freedom of speech, debate and proceeding in Parliament and such freedom of speech, debate or proceedings shall not be liable to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament’.

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