Dissolving Parliament: President has no constitutional power to rescind Gazette – AG

Sri Lanka Parliament and Supreme Court

The Attorney General (AG) informed the Supreme Court yesterday (26) that the Constitution does not provide legal provisions for the President to withdraw the Gazette notification issued by the President dissolving the Parliament.

Additional Solicitor General, President’s Counsel (PC) Indika Demuni de Silva appearing for the AG pointed out before the five-Judge bench that according to the Constitution, the President only has the power to reconvene a dissolved Provincial Council.

She requested the Court to dismiss the petitions without hearing as the relief sought by the petitioners could not be granted.

She made this statement when the Court began hearing the Fundamental Rights (FR) petitions for the sixth consecutive day, petitions which were filed challenging the Gazette notification issued regarding the dissolution of the Parliament and regarding fixing the date for the Parliamentary Election on 20 June.

The petition was taken into consideration yesterday before the five-member bench comprised of Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya PC, Justices Buwaneka Aluwihare PC, Sisira J. de Abrew, Priyantha Jayawardena PC and Vijith Kumara Malalgoda PC.

De Silva PC, citing various case law excerpts, further informed that according to the Parliamentary Elections Act, there are no legal barriers to accepting nomination papers on public holidays. She pointed out that there is no provision under the said Act to call for fresh nominations if it is decided that it is illegal to accept nominations for the Parliamentary Election as requested by the petitioners. She said that although the petitioners have stated that it is illegal to accept nomination papers on 17, 18 and 19 March, 339 nominations from 42 political parties and 313 nominations have been handed over by independent groups during that period and said that all of them had been accepted as legal nominations and that no one had complained that it was illegal to accept them.

De Silva PC requested the Court to dismiss the petitions filed by the petitioners as the facts mentioned in the petitions are baseless.

Accordingly, the Court yesterday ordered the petitions to be taken up again for hearing today (27).

Eight FR petitions have been filed by a group including Attorney-at-Law Charitha Gunaratne, the Centre for Policy Alternatives, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya, and Editor Victor Ivan challenging the Gazette Notifications issued to hold the Parliamentary Election on 20 June and the President’s dissolution of the Parliament.

(Source: Ceylon Today – By Kavindya Perera)