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Petitions against dissolution of Parliament: Supreme Court adjourns till tomorrow

Nov 12, 2018 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court adjourned till the next day as the Attorney General asked time for his submission for the Fundamental Rights petitions filed by several parties challenging the dissolution of Parliament. Supreme Court three-judge-bench comprising Chief Justice Nalin Perera, Justice Priyantha Jayawardena and Justice Prasanna S Jayawardena fixed the petition for further submissions tomorrow morning (10 am). Through these petitions, petitioners say that the right to franchise of voters of Sri Lanka has been affected by the sudden dissolution of Parliament and asks for a stay order against the proclamation. The petitioners cited the Attorney General, Chairman and the members of the Election Commission, Secretary to the President. Prime Minister and several others as respondents. Excerpts from twitter handle public law lka are reproduced below.

Presidents Counsel K. Kanag-Isvaran appearing for Leader of the Opposition R Sampanthan stated that Article 33(2)(c) of the constitution is only an empowerment and not a stand-alone provision. Counsel MA Sumanthiran also argued that the act of dissolution of Parliament is not legally binding and therefore anything that arises out of it, such as the General Election in the proclamation are illegal.

Presidents Counsel Ikram Mohamed appearing for Rauff Hakeem reminded the court of Article 33(1)(a) which says the President is duty bound to ensure that the constitution is respected and upheld. Counsel Hejaaz Hizbullah appearing on behalf of Election Commission member S. Ratnajeevan Hoole, said that the right to the franchise is not only about holding elections but also respecting the choices of the people made in elections. He asked for a stay order pending the final determination of this case because of the large cost of elections. Attorney General will submit his submissions tomorrow.
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