- Petitioners say duties of Prez do not include those relating to SLRC, SLRC Act
By S.S. Selvanayagam
The Supreme Court (SC) yesterday deferred until September 27 the fundamental rights petition contesting the extraordinary gazette notification which brought Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) under the purview of President Maithripala Sirisena.
The bench comprised Justices Buwaneka Aluwihare, Murthu N.B. Fernando and S. Thurairaja.
Ven. Dambara Amila Thera and Prof. Chandraguptha Thenuwara in their petition cited the Attorney General (AG) as respondent.
In their petition, they state Ruwan Wijewardene was appointed as Non-Cabinet Minister of Mass Media by extraordinary gazette dated February 26, 2019. They state SLRC and the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation Act came under the purview of the Non-Cabinet Minister of Mass Media.
“The President is the Minister of Defence, Mahaweli Development and Environment. The duties of the President do not include those relating to SLRC or the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation Act,” they stated. On September 9, the President by gazette purported to assign to himself the function of implementing programmes for the promotion of peace, harmony and reconciliation among people whilst ensuring national security through the use of audiovisual media.
They impugn that purported proclamation has been promulgated with mala fide, especially in the light of the impending presidential election and amount to the President seeking to achieve what the Constitution prohibits being directly achieved.
Suren Fernando appeared for the petitioners while Additional Solicitor General Demuni de Silva appeared for the AG.