GL questions AG’s conduct ; stresses importance of unanimous SC decision
Posted on January 17th, 2018

By Shamindra Ferdinando Courtesy Island

Top Joint Opposition (JO) spokesman Prof. G.L. Peiris yesterday welcomed the unanimous Supreme Court decision that President Maithripala Sirisena’s term of office was five years.

Prof. Peiris said so when The Island asked him at the JO regular media briefing at Punchi Borella whether it accepted that in spite of accusations Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya had made representations before the Supreme Court on behalf of President Sirisena in accordance with an understanding between the UNP and the SLFP, the apex court had done its duty.

Asked whether the JO was prepared to examine the SC decision against the backdrop of the removal of Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, PC, by the Rajapaksa administration, Prof. Peiris said that the ruling couldn’t have been given at a better time. The former External Affairs Minister was flanked by members of parliament Bandula Gunawardena (Colombo District) and Sisira Jayakody (Gampaha District).

The matter was taken up before a five-judge-bench comprising Chief Justice Priyasath Dep, Justice Eva Wanasundara, Justice Buwaneka Aluvihare, Justice Sisira de Abrew and Justice K.T. Chitrasiri

Justice Chitrasiri was the Chairman of the three-member presidential commission of inquiry that probed treasury bond scams of 2015 and 2016 involving the Central Bank and Perpetual Treasuries Limited (PTL). The Island asked MP Gunawardena whether parliament, especially in the wake of the recent brawl in the well of the House, would draw inspiration from the Supreme Court action. The JO economic affairs spokesman said that they respected the Supreme Court and sought its intervention on many occasions.

Prof. Peiris said that he didn’t want to comment on the continuing crisis in the Indian Supreme Court or SC of any other country. The former Law Professor and Vice Chancellor of the Colombo University said so when The Island sought his views on four senior Supreme Court judges publicly expressing their grievances against the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra and how he was assigning cases.

Justice Jasti Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Madan Lokur and Justice Kurian Joseph went to the extent of calling a press conference.

Prof Peiris asserted that it would be the responsibility of the Supreme Court here to avert such damaging situations

Prof. Peiris underscored the importance of the unanimous Supreme Court verdict against the backdrop of the shocking stand taken by the Attorney General as well as the UNP’s silence on the matter.

Attorney General could have had advised President Sirisena against seeking clarification from the Supreme Court with regard to length of his term, Prof. Peiris said, adding that in accordance with section 49 (1) (b) of the 19th Amendment, the incumbent President couldn’t have under any circumstances enjoyed the original six year term.

The Attorney General’s role should be now examined as to how he had refrained from advising President Sirisena not to seek Supreme Court clarification on the basis of the clear cut 19 Amendment, Prof. Peiris said. Pointing out that National List MP Dr. Jayampathy Wickremaratne, who had played a pivotal role in fashioning 19 Amendment was on record as having denied six year presidential term in line with the new law, Prof. Peiris said that the UNP conveniently remained silent. “We moved the Supreme Court against President Sirisena’s move whereas the UNP shirked its responsibility,” Prof. Peiris said.

Prof. Peiris asserted that Dr. Wickremaratne on behalf of the UNP should explain their stand.

Prof. Peiris pointed out that several government members had declared that the Supreme Court would rule in favour of President Sirisena on the eve of historic ruling. Obviously, they had been so confident of receiving SC’s consent there hadn’t been any hesitation on their part making the desired result public, the veteran law academic and former External Affairs Minister noted.

One Response to “GL questions AG’s conduct ; stresses importance of unanimous SC decision”

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