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PC Romesh de Silva submits that once dissolved no Parliament exists to be reconvened

ECONOMYNEXT – Counsel for the Secretary to the President submitted to the Supreme Court today that dissolution ends the term of a Parliament and therefore no Parliament exists for it to be reconvened.

A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court is considering 8 Fundamental Rights petitions that challenged the June 20 poll date and the refusal of the President to reconvene the Eighth Parliament.

The Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya is chairing the bench and the other judges are Supreme Court Justices Buwaneka Aluwihare, Sisira de Abrew, Priyantha Jayawardena and Vijith K Malalgoda.

Today was the fourth day of submissions for the court to decide whether it will grant leave to proceed for the petitions.

After the Elections Commission informed the court through it attorneys yesterday that it cannot hold the elections on June 20 as planned due to the contingencies arising from the COVID 19 pandemic, the focus of the petitions now is narrowed to the reconvening of Parliament.

One of the eight petitions, filed by Charitha Guneratne challenging only the election date was withdrawn by President’s Counsel M A Sumanthiran yesterday.

Yesterday and today the court heard the submissions by counsel for the respondents.

Yesterday it was the turn of the National Elections Commission and today President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva submitted for the second Respondent, the Secretary to the President P B Jayasundera.

De Silva said that a seven-judge bench of the Supreme Court has held that the President has the power to dissolve a Parliament after four-and-a-half years after its election.

He went on to say such a dissolution would end the term of the parliament and that there was no parliament to be called after that.

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De Silva submitted that the proceedings related to the Parliamentary Elections have been carried out in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and the Parliamentary Elections Act as part of the elections process. Nominations have been called and valid papers have been accepted also according to the law, he added.

Accordingly, he said, that the Elections Commission has decided to postpone the election due to the prevailing situation in the country and that it is also a part of the election process.

The President’s counsel stated that the President’s initial gazette notification was not invalidated as stated by the petitioners as the election date was changed by an independent election commission

He further stated that the election has been postponed at this time and that the election is not required for more than 60 days and that it could be held within a month and a half if necessary.

De Silva further stated that if the old parliament, which has run it’s term, is reconvened it will seriously damage the sovereignty of the people. (Colombo, May 21, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana