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AG says President Sirisena’s term is 6 years

12 January 2018 07:36 am - 24     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya yesterday contended that incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena can continue his term of office as President for 6 years.

The Attorney General appearing with Additional Solicitor General Murdu Fernando and Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle submitted that the incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena has sought the opinion of the Supreme Court whether there is any impediment to him to continue his terms of office for 6 years as President as amended in the amended Article 31 of the 19th Amendment.

He stated that the Presidential election was held on 8th January 2015 and incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena was elected and assumed duty on 9th January 2015.

He stated the date on which he was elected is 9th January 2015 for the term of office for 6 years.

He submitted that the incumbent President was elected by the people for the office to the term of 6 years. It is the sovereignty of the people who exercise their franchise to elect him as President. The power emanated from the franchise of the people. The commencement of his office should be considered from the date on which he is elected.

He said it is the Constitutional structure where the incumbent President was elected. The 19th Amendment to the Constitution is operative after the incumbent President was elected for a term of 6 years by the people.

He continued that therefore the issue is whether the Article 3 and 4 of the 19th Amendment made operative where the term of office has already commenced.

He said there cannot be retrospective effect unless it has been specified or implied in any provision and there is no applicable provision retrospectively in the amendment.

He said that according to Article 49(1)(a) and (b) stating that for the avoidance of doubt it is hereby declared that (a) the 7th Parliament in existence on the day preceding the date on which this Act comes into operation, shall, unless dissolved earlier, continue to function until April 21, 2016 and shall thereafter stand dissolved.

He said that Article 49(1)(b) states the persons holding office respectively, as the President and Prime Minister on the day preceding April 22, 2015 shall continue to hold such office after such date, subject to the provisions of the Constitution as amended by this Act.

He maintained that the mandate of the people to be a term of office for 6 years on which he assumed duty. He contended that any change would affect and alienate the sovereignty of the people.

Saliya Peiris PC appearing for the intervenient petitioner Ven. Ulapane Sumangala Thera and Faisz Musthapha PC appearing for the Intervenient Petitioner SLFP General Secretary Duminda Dissanayake made similar submissions.

A Panel of five judges of the Supreme Court took up the reference to make a decision on the ambiguity over the question of the tenure of office for the incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena as President.

The Bench of Chief Justice Priyasath Dep, Justices Eva Wanasundera, B.P.Aluvihara, Sisira J De Abrew and K.T.Chitrasiri were nominated for the opinion of the Supreme Court on this matter in respect of the ambiguity arising after the enactment of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.

President Maithripala Sirisena has referred the matter to the Supreme Court for its consideration in terms of Article 129(1) of the Constitution.

He has sought the opinion of the Supreme Court that whether, in terms of Provisions of the Constitution, he, as the person elected and succeeding to the office of President and having assumed such office in terms of Article 32(1) of the Constitution on 9th January 2015, has any impediment to continue in the office of President for a period of 6 years from 9th January 2015, the date on which the result of his election to the office of President was declared.

President invoked the Consultative jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under article 129. (1) If at any time it appears to the President of the Republic that a question of law or fact has arisen or is likely to arise which is of such nature and of such public importance that it is expedient to obtain the opinion of the Supreme Court upon it, he may refer that question to that Court for consideration and the Court may, after such hearing as it thinks fit, within the period specified in such reference or within such time as may be extended by the President, report to the President its opinion thereon.

  Comments - 24

  • ANTON Friday, 12 January 2018 08:07 AM


    Vijitha Friday, 12 January 2018 08:26 AM

    The President shouldn't attempt a Chandrika as under the operative law he could not go beyond five years

    Amare Friday, 12 January 2018 08:29 AM

    Let him first check the pulse of the nation at the LG polls

    Sudu Friday, 12 January 2018 08:31 AM

    Miss Sarath Silva here.

    DJ Friday, 12 January 2018 08:53 AM

    Man after announcing to all and sundry that after the passing of the 19th amendment that his term is now 5 years, has suddenly realized that he will miss the power the post holds and want to stay the year he sacrificed for the betterment of the country.

    Voter Friday, 12 January 2018 08:53 AM

    Why don't we ask the C. justice as well?

    dulan Friday, 12 January 2018 09:01 AM

    Section49(1)(b) of the 19th Amendment states; For the avoidance of doubt it is hereby declared that persons holding office is as President or PM on the day preceding April 22nd 2015 shall hold such office subject to the provisions of Constitution as amended by by this Act!

    Missaka Friday, 12 January 2018 09:11 AM

    Check whether he wears his sarong.

    dg Friday, 12 January 2018 09:13 AM

    Ethically, the person who has shorten the term should set himself as an example and hold Pres. elections in 5 years. Its not fair to enjoy 6 years and curtail term of subsequent presidents.

    Citizen Friday, 12 January 2018 09:16 AM

    President willingly wanted a 4 year term. Finally agreed for a 5 year term. He said many a times that he is the only President who wanted to trim his term. I am confident that he sought this clarification in advance to find a way to make it a 5 year term to honor his word.

    sam Friday, 12 January 2018 09:24 AM

    The legal argument for six year term may correct. However during the election campaign he told the people that 6 year for presidency was not a good thing for the country and promised to reduce it. The question is after coming into power how it can alright. Again the people are being hoodwinked here. We the general public are the fools expecting honesty and morals from these despotic politicians.

    cheers Friday, 12 January 2018 09:25 AM

    One and only time President is Maithree. He can never or will win an election other than staying by force

    shanthapriya Friday, 12 January 2018 09:47 AM

    we knew that.

    Ryan Hudson Friday, 12 January 2018 09:59 AM

    Umma AG Umma

    Chryshan K. Friday, 12 January 2018 10:08 AM

    He took the credit when all countries praised him for reducing his own period to 5 years. 3 years down the line he has become power hungry too.

    voter Friday, 12 January 2018 10:42 AM

    At least M3 is seeking the supreme court's opinion of the possibility. But if MR was in power he would've directed the supreme court what to say.

    Dhammika Friday, 12 January 2018 03:40 PM

    exactly , Very true .

    Amaris Friday, 12 January 2018 12:25 PM

    That means it can be argued that HE may contest one more time after winning or loosing in 2021 if live that age.

    Rohan Weerasuriya Friday, 12 January 2018 12:27 PM

    What a joke! Canvassed for a 4 year term, elected as the President by 99% of the UNP votes, now not only has he kicked the ladder that brought him to this high office, but wants to extend the term of office. Pathetic!

    kukula Friday, 12 January 2018 12:47 PM

    Please refer to G.L peris, from the JO.He will have his own interpretation.

    Dicky Friday, 12 January 2018 01:47 PM

    Close allies of him would have suggested this idea as then they can enjoy one more year under his protection.

    Mason Friday, 12 January 2018 06:02 PM

    The President made public soon after Election that he has reduced his term to five years as he is not power hungry. If he is a morally upright person he should stick to his word and step down. If on the other hand he is like any other, he can turn and twist and stay in power for longer. His Integrity and Moral should guide him, and not the Supreme Court.

    Manoj Wijesekara Friday, 12 January 2018 09:05 PM

    Sirisena and his team asked mandate to abolish the executive power of presidency.theme of the campaign was that.Now aterny general try to say that people was approved 6 year term

    GH Sunday, 14 January 2018 12:28 AM

    No No No..... incumbent president has taken oath in January 2018! Am I right?

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