Written by Staff Writer
10 Nov, 2014 | 7:35 pm
The deadline granted by the President for the Supreme Court to provide an opinion on whether there are any constitutional impediments to him seeking a further term in office, expires today.
On November 5, the President submitted two questions to the Supreme Court.
Whether there are any impediments on him, the incumbent President when the 18th Amendment was adopted, from seeking a further term of office after the conclusion of four years since assuming office in his second term on November 19, 2010.
And, whether as the incumbent President serving his second term of office when the 18th Amendment came into effect, there are any impediments to him being elected for a further term of office.
The two questions were considered at the Chief Justice’s chambers on Monday, by a bench comprising of Chief Justice Mohan Peiris and Justices K. Sri Pavan, Chandra Ekanayake, Priyasad Depp, Eva Wanasundara, Rohini Marasinghe, Buwaneka Aluvihare, Sarath de Abrew, Sisira de Abrew and Priyantha Jayewardene.
Thirty eight written submissions had been made to the Supreme Court arguing for the positive and the negative responses to the two questions posed by the President.
Views were also expressed regarding this matter.
Attorney-at-Law, Nimal Karunaratne:
“When the opinion of the Supreme Court was sought on the matter, the Honourable Chief Justice, invited the membership of the Bar Association where all lawyers are represented, to make written submissions. A large number of requests had been made. I too submitted a written submission in which I noted that there is no impediment whatsoever on the President seeking a third term of office, when his second term concludes.”
Attorney-at-Law, Dharshan Weraduwa:
“There are no legal impediments on the President seeking a further term of office since the 18th Amendment to the constitution, strikes off Articles 31 A, 31(2) and 92 C. We have informed the Supreme Court of this in writing.”
Convening a media briefing on Monday, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka noted that an opportunity must be provided for oral submissions to be made in open court.
Secretary of BASL, Attorney-at-Law Ajith Pathirana commented on this situation: “ The Bar Association believes that this should be subject to an open dialogue. The Bar Association is disappointed and saddened by the lack of openness. I believe that the opinion will be informed to the President in private. “
He added: “We will not be able to know what the opinion is. The problem that arises here is that it is only these judges that will participate in this matter when it is taken to court. The same judges who provided the opinion. So there is grave doubt as to whether they are capable of pronouncing a different opinion.”
Registrar of the Supreme Court, Masheyshi Jayasekara noted that the matter would be discussed in private and that the Justices have till midnight to provide their conclusion to the President.
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