Further argument fixed for today

The Supreme Court seven-judge-Bench headed by Chief Justice Nalin Perera yesterday commenced hearing arguments into several Fundamental Rights petitions filed challenging the President’s decision to dissolve Parliament on November 9.

When the ten petitions came up before the seven-judge-Bench comprising Chief Justice Nalin Perera, Justice Buwaneka Aluvihare, Justice Sisira de Abrew, Justice Priyantha Jayawardena, Justice Prasanna Jayawardena, Justice Vijith Malalgoda and Justice Murdu Fernando further argument into the petitions fixed for today (05).

On November 13, the Supreme Court three-judge-Bench unanimously issued an Interim Order staying the operation of the Gazette notification issued by the President to dissolve Parliament.

This Interim Order will be effective until December 7.

The Supreme Court further issued an Interim Order restraining the Election Commission from proceeding to take any steps to conduct the Parliamentary election by virtue of the proclamation until December 7.

The Attorneys who appeared on behalf of the petitioners yesterday concluded their oral submissions and Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya will make his oral submissions today (05).

President's Counsel K. Kanag-iswaran appearing for Tamil National Alliance leader R.Sambanthan submitted to Court that the primary duty of the President is to uphold the Constitutional provisions by discharging his duty in accordance with the Constitution.

He argued that the President has the power to dissolve Parliament in terms of Article 70(1) of the Constitution after completion of four and a half years of Parliament or a resolution to Parliament by a 2/3 majority of Parliamentarians.

President's Counsel M.A. Sumanthiran stated that President Maithripala Sirisena prior to the Presidential Election in 2015 sought a mandate from the public to abolish the unlimited Executive Powers of the President. He went on to say that the main purpose of bringing the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was to curtail the President's Executive Powers. He argued that the President is responsible to Parliament and cannot act in an arbitrary manner.

President's Counsel Dr. Jayampathi Wickremaratne stated that during the first four and a half year of the Parliament, the President is not entitled to dissolve Parliament but he can do so only upon a resolution of the 2/3 majority of Parliament.

President's Counsel J.C. Weliamuna submitted to Court that following the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, the President has vested with a limited role into the Parliamentary affairs.

These petitions had been filed through Tamil National Alliance leader R.Sampanthan, UNP General Secretary Kabir Hashim, JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader Rauf Hakeem, All Ceylon Makkal Congress Party leader Rishad Bathiudeen, R.A.S.D. Perera, Prof. S.Ratnajeevan H. Hoole, former MP Mano Ganeshan, Attorney-at-Law Lal Wijenayake and G.C.J. Perera.

They sought an interim order to suspend to concerned proclamation. The Petitioners state that upon the Proclamation being published the petitioners were of the view that the proclamation dissolving Parliament was unconstitutional and illegal.

President’s Counsel K. Kanag-Iswaran with M.A.Sumanthiran PC, Thilak Marapana PC, C.J. Weliamuna PC, Dr. Jayampathi Wickremaratne PC, Counsel H. Hizbullah, Counsel Suren Fernando and Manjula Balasuriya appeared for the petitioners.

Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya PC, Solicitor General Dappula De Livera, Additional Solicitor General Indika Demuni de Silva PC, Nerin Pulle DSG, Dr. Avanthi Perera SSC appeared for the Attorney General.

President's Counsel Gamini Marapana, Manohara de Silva PC, Sanjeewa Jayawardena PC, Ali Sabry PC and Counsel Navin Marapana appeared for the intervenient petitioners.

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