SC fuller bench to hear FR against MCC, SOFA, ACSA | Daily News


 

SC fuller bench to hear FR against MCC, SOFA, ACSA

A request was yesterday made in the Supreme Court seeking a fuller bench comprising more than five Supreme Court judges to hear several Fundamental Rights petitions filed against Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact, Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and, Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA).

President’s Counsel Sanjeewa Jayawardena appearing for Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) sought an order in terms of the Article 132(3) of the constitution comprising five judges or more judges of the Supreme Court presided over by Chief Justice to hear these petitions.

Accordingly, Supreme Court three-judge-bench headed by Justice Buwaneka Aluvihare decided to refer the request for the attention of the Chief Justice. These petitions were fixed for support on November 13.

In its petition, the GMOA had sought an interim order staying all approvals and decisions issued by anyone in respect of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact, Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and, Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA).

Five petitioners representing the GMOA including its President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya filed this petition naming 38 respondents including the Finance Minister and Cabinet of Ministers.

The petitioners sought a declaration that the petitioners Fundamental Rights guaranteed under Articles 12 (1) and/or 14(1)(h) of the Constitution, have been infringed and continue to be infringed by the Cabinet of Ministers when granting approval for the execution of the Millennium Challenge Corporation compact with the Millennium Challenge Corporation of the United States of America.

The petitioners state that in the event that the purported Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact is signed or executed in Sri Lanka, it will undoubtedly erode and impinge on the fundamental tenet of Sovereignty of the Country, which the Constitution expressly provides to be “Free, Sovereign and Independent”.

The Petitioners state that the purported Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA) was entered into in the year 2007, between the Department of Defence of United States of America and the Defence Ministry - Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, and it was valid for only 10 years, thereafter, upon the expiry of the said agreement, Sri Lankan Government entered into fresh ACSA Agreement with 50 annexures in 2017. The Original Agreement which was a very simple agreement which consisted of only 8 pages, subsequently in 2017, it was converted into an extensive, exhaustive and extensive agreement, which contains more than 80 pages, the petitioners stated.

The petitioners state that the said new purported ACSA agreement is highly in favour of the United States of America and its Citizens, and accordingly, is against the national interest of Sri Lanka.

President’s Counsel Sanjeewa Jayawardena with counsel Ravindranath Dabare appeared for the petitioners. Additional Solicitor General Farzana Jameel PC appeared for the Attorney General.

 


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