Friday, 22 May 2020 08:20

UNP goes before SC, challenging indefinite dissolution of P’ment

States President’s proclamation of dissolution “null and void”; old Parliament can function after 3 June


United National Party General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam yesterday filed a Fundamental Rights (FR) petition before the Supreme Court, challenging the indefinite dissolution of the eighth Parliament.

In his petition to the Supreme Court, the General-Secretary of the UNP states that the Election Commission (EC) had announced the date of the Parliamentary Election for the ninth Parliament as 20 June.

This date exceeds the obligatory three-month period envisaged in Article 70(5) of the Constitution.

Article 70(5) states that the new Parliament must meet on a date no later than three months after the dissolution of the existing Parliament. The eighth Parliament was dissolved on 2 March, and the three-month period will lapse on 2 June.

The petition stated that post-2 June, the “Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers will also cease to hold office as the Constitution does not contemplate the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers holding office indefinitely without a free and fair Parliamentary Election being held within the compulsory time limit of three months specified in the Constitution”.

The petition goes on to state that through the President’s refusal to reconvene the eighth Parliament, thereby allowing a lapse of more than three months without a sitting Parliament, he has failed in his mandatory duty imposed on him by Article 33(1)(a) of the Constitution.

The petition has requested the court to render the President’s Proclamation, dissolving Parliament as “null and void and of no force or effect in law”, and to recognise that the eighth Parliament is legally empowered to function from 3 June according to the Standing Orders of Parliament.

(FT)

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