Imminent dissolution of Eastern PC: CA allows move to amend prayers in petition

By S.S.Selvanayagam

The Court of Appeal yesterday (19) allowed the move by the Petitioner to amend the prayers in the Writ application challenging the imminent premature dissolution of the Eastern Provincial Council.

The Bench comprising Justices S.Sriskandarajah (President C/A) and Deepali Wijesundera fixed the matter to be supported on July 11 with the amended prayers.

A voter in the Eastern Province filed a Writ application in the Court of Appeal challenging the imminent premature dissolution of the Eastern Provincial Council.

Petitioner K.K.P.Rangana Amarasinghe who is voter in the Eastern Province his cited Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, Eastern Province, Governor Rear Admiral (Retd) Mohan Wijewickrama, Eastern Provincial Council’s Ministers M.S.Subair, T.Navartanarajah, Meera Saibu Uthuma Lebbe and Wimalaweera Dissanayake as Respondents who constitute the Board of Ministers of said Council.

President’s counsel K.Kanag Iswaran with M.A.Sumanthiran, Bhavani Fonseka and Niran Anketell instructed by Moahan Balendra appeared for the Petitioner. President’s Counsel Faisz Musthapha withi Namal Rajapaksa appeared for the Chief Minister.

Deputy Solicitor General Janak de Silva with Senior State Counsel Sumathi Dharmawardana, State Counsel Sanjaya Kodituwakku appeared for the Governor.

Faizer Musthapha appeared for Minister Subair while Kalinga Indatissa for Minister Navaratnarajah, Kushan D’Alwis forMinister Uthuma Lebbe and M.V.M.A.Ali Sabry for Minister Dissanayake.

The Petitioner states the date appointed for the 1st meeting of the said Council was after May 10, 2008 the date on which elections were held for the said Council.

He contends in terms of the Constitution, the said Council would ordinarily dissolve in terms of the Article 154 E on or after May 10, 2013.

He expresses concerns that there is imminent dissolution of the said Council by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister.

On April 23 of 2012, Provincial Council Member S. Pushparajah – on credible information that the said Council and other Provincial Councils would be dissolved prematurely – gave notice of a proposed Urgent Resolution to be taken up on April 24 and requested that the said proposed Resolution be included in the agenda.

The said proposed Resolution stated that there were many reports that the Eastern Provincial Council would be dissolved before the expiration of the five year term of the Council which ends after May 10, 2013.

It proposed to inform the President of the steps taken to dissolve the Provincial Council and that the Eastern Provincial Council should continue to operate until the end of its term, the Petitioner states.

On April 24, the said Resolution was taken up for discussion and adopted without objection and the Chief Minister spoke in favour of the Resolution and expressed the view that the Resolution should be adopted and the President be informed of its passage, the Petitioner said.

In terms of Article 154 E of the Constitution, “A Provincial Council shall, unless sooner dissolved, continue for a period of five years from the date appointed for its first meeting and the expiration of the said period of five years shall operate as a dissolution of the Council.” The said Article provides that “The Governor may dissolve the Provincial Council” while stipulates that “The Governor shall exercise his powers in accordance with the advice of the Chief Minister, so long as the Board of Ministers commands, in the opinion of the Governor, the support of the majority of the Provincial Council.”

The Article 158 F provides that “There shall be a Board of Ministers with the Chief Minister at the head and not more than four other Ministers to aid and advise the Governor of a Province in the exercise of his functions.

The Governor shall, in the exercise of this functions, act in accordance with such advice except in so far as he is by or under the Constitution required to exercise his functions or any of them in his discretion.”, the Petitioner points out.

Three of the four Ministers besides the Chief Ministers, were present when the Resolution proposed by Pushparajah was adopted without objections and therefore the unequivocal, unanimous position of the Council and the Board of Ministers was one of opposition to the premature dissolution of the said Council, he maintains.

Petitioner is seeking an Interim Order from the Court to prevent any steps being taken by the Chief Minister to advice the Governor to dissolve the said Council and suspend the operation of the advice of the Chief Minister to the Governor to dissolve the said Council prior to the expiration of its five year term on or after May 10, 2013 until the final determination of his application.

He is also seeking another Interim Order preventing the Governor from dissolving the said Council until the final determination.

He is asking the Court for a Writ of Prohibition preventing the Governor from taking steps to dissolve the said Council prior to the expiration of it five year term. courtesy: Financial Times