Supreme Court issues stay order on dissolving Parliament

By Easwaran Rutnam

The Supreme Court today issued a stay order on the gazette notice by President Maithripala Sirisena dissolving Parliament, till December 7th.

The Supreme Court said it will consider all the petitions filed on the President’s decision to dissolve Parliament on December 4th, 5th and 6th before giving a final ruling on December 7th.

With the stay order the court also prevents the Elections Commissioner from taking steps to hold an election on January 5th.

The stay order was given after two days of deliberations during which petitions both in support and against the President’s decision were submitted.

President Maithripala Sirisena dissolved Parliament last week and called for a snap Parliamentary election on January 5th.

However several political parties, including the United National Party and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, challenged the President’s decision in court.

Local civil society groups as well as a member of the Election Commission, Ratnajeevan Hoole, also filed fundamental rights petitions against the move.

The Government however defended the move and submitted petitions in court in support of the President’s right to dissolve Parliament.

Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya also informed the Supreme Court today that President Maithripala Sirisena has the right, under the Constitution, to dissolve Parliament.

The AG said that the President had used the Executive Powers vested on him in the Constitution to dissolve Parliament.

A political crisis erupted in the country after the President sacked United National Party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister, appointed former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the new Prime Minister and prorogued Parliament.

Wickremesinghe however objected to his removal and demanded that Parliament be convened to hold a vote among the Parliamentarians to decide who has majority support in Parliament to be Prime Minister.

As pressure grew and both sides claimed they had the numbers, the President dissolved Parliament and called for elections in January. (Colombo Gazette)