A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court today issued an interim order till December 7 staying the proclamation issued by President Maithripala Sirisena to dissolve parliament.
It also granted leave to proceed with the fundamental rights petitions which sought a court order nullifying the presidential proclamation dissolving parliament. The intervenient petitions were also allowed.
The petitions were fixed for argument on December 4,5 and 6.
The SC also issued an injunction barring the Elections Commission from taking any action regarding the election until December 7.
Several petitioners including UNP Chairman Kabir Hasim, UNP MP Ajith P. Perera, JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, TNA leader R. Sampanthan and Attorney Lal Wijenayake filed FR petitions challenging the dissolution of Parliament.
Earlier Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya in his submissions said the President had invoked his plenary executive power, which was not pruned by the 19th Amendment and could only be pruned by a referendum.
He said the court had no jurisdiction to hear and issue a determination on the FR petitions against the dissolution of Parliament and that the powers of the President were clear and unambiguous as provided for in the Constitution.
“No provision of the 19th Amendment had called for a referendum and the pruning of President’s powers must have been done via referendum. The 19th Amendment did not require a referendum because executive power was intact as it stood before the referendum. Executive powers cannot be eroded. It can be approved by people exercising the franchise.
“The Article 70(1) cannot be read in isolation when all provisions of the 19th Amendment taken together did not require a referendum because it did not erode the powers of the President,” he said.
The AG also said though he received instructions from the President, his legal arguments in his capacity as the Attorney General were impartial at all times.
He said in the event an interim order was given, it would amount to suspending the Constitution and the sovereignty of the people. (S.S. Selvanayagam, Shehan Chamika Silva and Hafeel Farisz)