by Chitra Weerarathne
President Maithripala Sirisena, who publicly proclaimed several times, that he had voluntarily agreed to get his term of office reduced from six years to five through the 19th Amendment passed in April 2015, making it a world record by a sitting leader, has now asked the Supreme Court whether he can complete the original six year term.
A source close to the President yesterday confirmed that the Head of State had, in fact, asked the highest court for its opinion on the matter.
President Sirisena has asked the Supreme Court “Whether, in terms of Provisions of the Constitution, I, as the person elected and succeeding to the office of President and having assumed such office in terms of Article 32(1) of the Constitution on 9th January 2015, have any impediment to continue in the office of President for a period of six years from 9th January 2015, the date on which the result of my election to the office of President was declared”.
Consequently, Supreme Court Registrar Mrs M.M. Jayasekera has written to the President/Secretary of the Bar Association yesterday stating “I have been directed by His Lordship the Hon Chief Justice to inform you that His Excellency the President, in terms of Article 129(1) of the Constitution, has referred to this court (regarding the above) for its consideration and for an opinion to be submitted to His Excellency on or before 14th January 2018.
“I shall be pleased, if you could inform to the membership that the above mentioned reference will be listed on 11th January 2016 at 11:00 am in the Supreme Court.”
The Bar Association Secretary in turn yesterday sent notices to its membership to make their observations to the court tomorrow as requested by it as per ‘Supreme Court Reference 01/2018’.
The Island learns that the SC Registrar has made a similar request to the Attorney General.