Dec 07, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Supreme Court today concluded the hearing of the petitions filed against the dissolution of parliament by President Maithripala Sirisena and extended the injunction order issued suspending the Gazette by the President until the judgement delivered.
The apex court for the fourth consecutive day heard the arguments on 13 Fundamental Rights petitions filed by political parties against the Gazette notification 2096/70 issued by the President to dissolve Parliament on 9th November.
The seven-Judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Nalin Perera yesterday extended the interim order to December 8 but today extended the order to until the pronouncement of the verdict on Monday, December 10.
The injunction order issued on Gazette 2096/70, will be in place until the verdict is delivered.
During today's hearing the court granted the petitioners the opportunity to present re-submissions and President Counsel Kanag Ishwaran appearing for Leader of Tamil National Alliance (TNA) R. Sampanthan presented submissions to the bench.
He underlined that under article 35 of the Constitution, the President had immunity from civil and criminal cases, but that immunity was somewhat restricted through the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.
President's Counsel Kanag Ishwaran stated that the provisions of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution provide the right under the Fundamental Rights to prosecute the executive and the administrative acts of the President and question his official duties.
The attorney also emphasized that since the dissolution of Parliament is an official duty of the President, it can be challenged under the fundamental rights provisions.
The other attorneys representing the petitioners also made submissions supporting the same argument.
Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya making his submissions on the second day of hearing on Wednesday, stated that the Supreme Court does not have the legal authority to hear the petitions and therefore called for the petitions to be dismissed.
Thirteen fundamental rights petitions were filed at the Supreme Court by political parties, and other individuals on November 12the requesting the apex court to declare President Maithripala Sirisena's order to dissolve parliament and call snap elections is in violation of the constitution and annul the order.
Political parties including United National Party (UNP), Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA), All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC), and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) as well as civil society organization, the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), Attorney Aruna Laksiri and a member of Elections Commission Prof. S. R. H. Hoole have filed petitions.
A three-judge bench on 13 November issued an interim order staying operation of the Gazette proclamation issued by the President dissolving the Parliament until 7 December 2018.