Following an interim injunction issued by a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, suspending, until Dec. 07, the presidential proclamation dissolving Parliament, Gamini Marapana, PC yesterday, through a motion filed on behalf of added respondent Mallika Arachchige Channa Sudath Jayasumana, moved the Chief Justice to appoint a fuller bench of the Supreme Court to hear the petitions.
The CJ has been requested to ‘make order in terms of Article 132 (3) of the Constitution constituting a Divisional Bench comprising of five (5) or more Judges, and in the totality of the circumstances attendant upon the above styled and numbered Application and the said connected Applications, comprising of seven (7) Judges, of the Supreme Court” presided over by the CJ, to hear the relevant petitions.
Marapana PC has pleaded that the subject matter of the Application and the said connected Applications are of grave general and public importance including inter alia the interpretation of several critically important provisions of the Constitution, the executive power of the People exercised by the President of the Republic, the separation of powers, the Constitutional safeguards and checks and balances vis-à-vis the Legislature and the Franchise and the inalienable Sovereignty of the People;
The connected Applications, would have serous and far reaching consequences including inter alia :-
a. on the General Election declared by the Gazettes in question, directly impacting on the Franchise of the People ;
b. on the separation of powers by the usurpation by the Legislature of the Executive Power of the President ;
c. on imperative safeguards in the Constitution of the Republic being overleaped and/or sidestepped motivated by achieving political expediencies of parties with vested interests ; and
d. on the Rule of Law and Constitutional Governance of the Country.
On Tuesday the court granted leave to proceed with the fundamental rights petitions which sought a court order nullifying the presidential proclamation dissolving parliament. The intervenient petitions were also allowed.
The petitions were fixed for argument on December 4, 5 and 6.
Several petitioners including UNP Chairman Kabir Hasim, UNP MP Ajith P. Perera, JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, TNA leader R. Sampanthan and Attorney Lal Wijenayake filed FR petitions challenging the dissolution of Parliament.
Earlier Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya in his submissions said the President had invoked his plenary executive power, which was not pruned by the 19th Amendment and could only be pruned by a referendum.
He said “No provision of the 19th Amendment had called for a referendum and the pruning of President’s powers must have been done via referendum. The 19th Amendment did not require a referendum because executive power was intact as it stood before the referendum. Executive powers cannot be eroded. It can be approved by people exercising the franchise.
“The Article 70(1) cannot be read in isolation when all provisions of the 19th Amendment taken together did not require a referendum because it did not erode the powers of the President,” he said.
The Attorney General had been made the respondent in the twelve fundamental rights violation petitions filed in the Supreme Court, challenging the recent dissolution of the parliament by the President.
AG Jayasuriya, PC appeared with Additional Solicitor General Dappula de Livera, PC, Additional Solicitor General Indika Demuni de Silva, PC and Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle.
Seventeen intervention petitions were filed. Some supported the petitions while the others, opposed the petitions and said that the President had the power to dissolve Parliament.
Prof. G. L. Peris, the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Podu Jana Peramuna and Sanjeewa Jayawardena, PC filed two interventions which said that the President had the power to dissolve Parliament.
Sanjeewa Jayawardena, PC and Manohara de Silva, PC both held the view that the President had the power to dissolve Parliament.
The bench comprised the Chief Justice Nalin Perera, Justice Priyantha Jayawardane and Justice Prasanna Jayawardena.