No need to re-summon a dead Parliament: Counsel tells SC | Daily News


 

No need to re-summon a dead Parliament: Counsel tells SC

The President's Secretary through his Counsel President's Counsel Romesh de Silva yesterday informed the Supreme Court that there is no necessity to re-summon a dead Parliament since the President had dissolved it constitutionally soon after the expiration of four and a half years.

Counsel Romesh de Silva appearing for President's Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundara submitted to Court that a Supreme Court seven-judge-bench had already held that the President has powers to dissolve Parliament after the completion of four and a half years under the 19th Amendment.

Counsel de Silva PC told the five-judge Supreme Court bench that the People's sovereignty could be violated if the old Parliament was re-summoned. “A dead Parliament will not come alive,” Silva said.

In his oral submissions, de Silva PC explained the two occasions in which Parliament can be dissolved. He stated that term of the Parliament comes to end after the completion of five years and Parliament stands dissolved accordingly. The President has powers to dissolve Parliament after a four and a half year period. "Soon after the issuance of the proclamation by President, Parliament stands dissolved,” de Silva added.

Responding to the allegations raised over public finances after the dissolution of Parliament, de Silva PC informed Court that the President can take funds out of the Consolidated Fund at a time where Parliament stands dissolved.

“If Parliament stands dissolved, the President has full powers to withdraw funds from the Consolidated Fund. We do not need Parliament at all for this purpose,” de Silva said.

He argued that the original proclamation issued by President to dissolve Parliament would never become invalid merely because of the change in the election date.

“The Election Commission has failed to hold the election within the stipulated time period. It does not mean that the proclamation issued by President is null and void,” de Silva added.

He informed the Supreme Court that the General Election can be held within a period of one and a half months, although the Election Commission viewed it could be held after 60 days.

There is no necessity for re-summoning Parliament to combat the Coronavirus. We have contained the virus being a poor country. The virus has already been contained and there are no patients reported from the community, he added.

He alleged that these Fundamental Rights petitions had been filed by individuals affiliated to the Samagi Jana Balawegaya to cut a political deal to retain in power.

"The petitioners do not want the election to be held. Those are the people who violate people's sovereignty and franchise rights," de Silva said.

He submitted to Court that laws should be interpreted for the interest of the people.

"Our Parliament consists of elected members. We do not have a king like Britain. The British tradition cannot be applied to Sri Lanka," the President's Counsel explained.

Responding to the allegation that nominations had been accepted on holidays, de Silva stated that there is no restriction to accept nominations on holidays.

“It is crystal clear that nominations can be accepted on public holidays, Poya days and Sundays in terms of section 10 of the Parliament Election Act. Both President and the Election Commission do not have discretionary powers to fix dates for nominations. It happens in accordance with the provisions of Parliament Election Act. Nobody complained in this regard at that time. Therefore, there is no merit in the submissions made by the petitioners that nominations were accepted on holidays. Nominations had been accepted during office working hours," he said.

The five-judge Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya and Justices Buwaneka Aluwihare, Sisira de Abrew, Priyantha Jayawardena and Vijith Malalgoda fixed further hearing for today (22).

M.A. Sumanthiran PC with Counsel Ermiza Tegal appeared for Charitha Gunaratne. Senior Counsel Viran Corea with Counsel Bhavani Fonseka and Luwie Ganeshathasan appeared for CPA and Dr. P. Saravanamuttu. President's Counsel Geoffrey Alagarathnam, Pulasthi Hewamanna, Lasantha Garusinghe, Anurangi Singh instructed by Ishara Gunewardane appeared for petitioner S.C.C. Elankovan.

Additional Solicitor General Indika Demuni De Silva appeared for the Attorney General.

Romesh de Silva, PC appeared for respondent P.B. Jayasundera who is the Secretary to the President. Asthika Devendra appeared for Prof. S. Ratnajeevan Hoole. Counsel V. K. Choksy appeared for the Election Commission. Sanjeeeva Jayawardena PC appeared for intervenient petitioner Ven. Muruththettuwe Ananda Thera. Gamini Marapana, PC with Navin Marapana PC, Counsel Kaushalya Molligoda and Uchitha Wickremesinghe appeared for Ven. Attapattukande Ananda Thera, an intervention party. Senior Counsel Canishka Witharana appeared for intervenient petitioner Premanath C. Dolawatta.

 


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