The Attorney General has requested that a full bench of the Supreme Court be constituted to hear the Fundamental Rights petitions filed by political parties and other organisations, challenging the dissolution of Parliament by President Maithripala Sirisena on November 9.
The Motion making the request that the proceedings be heard by all judges of the nine-member Supreme Court was filed by the AG under Article 132(3) of the Constitution this week.
A full bench of the Supreme Court currently consists of nine justices. On October 25, the Constitutional Council gave its approval to the nomination of two others from a list of four names recommended by the President to comprise the maximum 11-member full bench, but President Maithripala Sirisena has not sworn-in the two new appointees.
The AG in the motion said that the substantive matters to be heard by the Court in these proceedings were matters of general and public importance and the Court would be required to interpret several provisions of the Constitution. This would have a direct bearing on the sovereignty of the people, including the exercise of the executive powers of the people by the President, the franchise of the people and their fundamental rights.
An intervenient petitioner, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Chairman G.L. Peiris, has filed a separate motion seeking a five or seven member Supreme Court bench to hear the case.
The Chief Justice will decide whether the case will be heard by a full bench, a fuller bench or the same bench that heard the preliminary inquiry. The case is to come up on December 4, 5 and 6.