Seeking SC opinion again is inappropriate & unnecessary SLPP ready to go before SC
Posted on May 20th, 2019

By Methmalie Dissanayake Courtesy Ceylon Today

Chairman of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), Professor G.L. Peiris yesterday (20) said, they would go before the Supreme Court (SC) if President Maithripala Sirisena and his supporters try to extend the President’s term in office.

Speaking at a media briefing, Prof. Peiris said, many Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Members, including its General Secretary, Parliamentarian Dayasiri Jayasekara, had indicated that the President was considering seeking the SC’s opinion on the dates of his term of office.

Jayasekara said, the Speaker had signed the 19th Amendment to the Constitution Bill on 22 June 2015.  Based on this, they argue the President’s team seems to believe that his term ends in May 2020, not January 2020. Jayasekara had said, they hoped to seek the SC opinion after 30 April.

By that time a new Chief Justice would be appointed. It seems that the SLFP is trying to check whether this new Chief Justice will extend the Presidential term. You can’t do things like that. The SC is not a place for such kind of gambling.”

Speaking further, he said that Lecturer in Public Law at the School of Law, University of Edinburgh, Dr. Asanga Welikala had said that the President has already made a reference to the SC about his term.

The SC clearly stated that President has only five years in the office, not six years. According to Dr. Welikala, seeking the opinion of the SC once again on the same matter is a waste of the time of the Court. The last thing the people need at this moment is postponing Elections. We do not need that. Therefore, if anyone tries to extend the Presidential term we would also intervene in the SC to stop that. We would also form a strong public opinion against it as well. We would do everything possible for us to stop postponing the Polls,” he observed.

Meanwhile, the National University Teachers’ Association (NUTA) said that any move to seek the Supreme Court’s opinion regarding the date on which President Sirisena’s term will expire is inappropriate and unnecessary.

Professor Channa Jayasumana, Secretary of the NUTA, has informed the President in writing, that they are aware that the President is hoping to get a renewed opinion on Article 129 of the Constitution. With regard to the tenure of the Presidency, would it terminate within the five years from 8 January 2015 after the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was passed, or five years from the date when Speaker Karu Jayasuriya signed the 19th Amendment to the Constitution into law on 15 May 2015?

Prof. Jayasumana has said that after the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, the Supreme Court gave their verdict stating that the Presidential term is not six years but limited to five. Moreover, according to the verdict given in November 2018, the de facto and de jure President before the 19th Amendment to the Constitution is President Sirisena.

General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, Parliamentarian Dayasiri Jayasekara has mentioned that after appointing a new Chief Justice they will again seek the Supreme Court’s opinion on the term of the President. So there is a reasonable doubt among the people about the credibility of justice,” he added.

Further, Prof. Jayasumana urged that a Presidential Election be called after the Presidential term is over and to thereby fulfil Sri Lankans right to vote.

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