Petitions against Parliament dissolution to be further considered tomorrow

Petitions against Parliament dissolution to be further considered tomorrow

Petitions against Parliament dissolution to be further considered tomorrow

Written by Staff Writer

21 May, 2020 | 9:38 pm

COLOMBO (News1st) : The petitions against the dissolution of Parliament and the general elections will be taken up for further consideration on Friday.

During Thursday’s court session, PC Romesh De Silva questioned the court as to how the inability of the elections commission to hold the general election can invalidate the proclamation issued by the President dissolving parliament.

He also submitted that a mere change in the dates of the election mentioned in the proclamation by the president does not render the document null and void.

PC De Silva pointed out that the attorneys representing the petitioners failed to consider the Parliamentary Elections Act which was promulgated by parliament according to Article 101 of the constitution, and sets out the procedure to elect representatives to the legislature.

He further stressed that Section 24(3) of the Parliamentary elections act does not impose a limit on the duration for which the elections commission can postpone elections.

He also submitted that the requirement under Article 70(5)(a) of the constitution to set a date for parliament to be summoned no later than 3 months after the proclamation dissolving Parliament, is only a fetter on the president and not a mandatory requirement for parliament to convene within 3 months.

PC De Silva in his preliminary objections contended that the Fundamental applications are also time-barred.

Speaking on the powers of the president to withdraw money from the consolidated fund, he acknowledged that article 148 of the constitution give parliament full control over public finances.

He, however, submitted that the supreme court should decline the request made by Attorney at. law Moditha Ekanayake to interpret the words “sums necessary for public service” in Article 150 (3) of the constitution.

Citing a parliamentary document he said that parliament has interpreted the words “sums necessary for public service” to include funds required for development, capital expenditure and recurrent expenditure, and rejected the notion that this provision only encompasses the payment of monthly wages of state sector employees.

He went on to note that even borrowings can be brought under the ambit of “sums necessary for public service”.

PC Romesh De Silva referred to the letter endorsed by party leaders of the opposition and addressed to the president, as an invitation to strike a deal and submitted that the president had outright rejected this.

He also argued that leave to proceed should not be granted to the petitioners as none of the actions complained of had violated their fundamental rights.

He concluded his submissions for the day by saying that the FR applications are merely red herrings from disgruntled people who want to reconvene the old parliament.

The consideration of the petitions will continue tomorrow at 10 a.m.

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