Sri Lanka parliament sacking unconstitutional, arbitrary: Supreme Court
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s highest court has overturned sacking of Parliament confirming an earlier temporary order and halted a general election, delivering a blow to President Maithripala Sirisena in an ongoing political crisis.
Chief Justice Nalin Perera delivered the judgment. The decision was unanimous but with one judge delivering giving different reasons for the decision.
Chief Justice Perera said President Sirisena’s proclamation outside the legal limits and it violated the rights of members of parliament.
There was arbitrary exercise of power, he said.
Justice Sisira de Abrew delivering a concurring judgment said according to the constitution, the President cannot dissolve parliament until the lapse of 4.5 years.
The proclamation dissolving the parliament was null and void. It holds no power in law, he said.
Sri Lanka’s United National Party officials said they expected the President to appoint Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister.
President Maithripala Sirisena appointed ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister on October 26 sacking incumbent Ranil Wickremesinghe in a contested move, plunging Sri Lanka into an economic and political crisis which is separately challenged in court.
Rajapaksa however failed to gather a 113 majority to show the confidence of parliament. President Sirisena said in a video interview, Rajapaksa was unable to buy over enough legislators as the cost rose to as much 500 million rupees apiece.
President Sirisena then sacked the parliament and called for fresh elections. The Supreme Court suspended the decisions pending a final order.
President Sirisena has refused to appoint Wickremesinghe as PM, despite 117 legislators voting to support him and Rajapaksa suffering multiple no confidence motions.
Sri Lanka’s court of appeal has separately suspended Rajapaksa from acting as PM. The Supreme Court is to take up the case on Friday. (Colombo/Nov13/2018)