Provision to question President’s official activities before a court of law Provision to question President’s official activities before a court of law
Dec 08, 2018

'President’s impunity limited by the 19th Amendment ' - An emphasis in Supreme Court   Featured

While the President had impunity to escape from civil and criminal cases according to paragraph 35 of the Constitution, it has been inhibited to some extent by the 19th Amendment, said President’s Counsel Kanageeswaran in his deliberation before the Supreme Court yesterday (07).

During yesterday’s (07) hearing of the petitions filed by 13 parties against the actions of the President to dissolve parliament on November 09, President’s Counsel S. Kanageswaran, representing the Leader of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) R. Sampanthan presented, submissions on behalf of the petitioners.

Pointing out that the 19th Amendment to the Constitution has made provisions to file lawsuits under Fundamental Rights against the executive and administrative actions of the President, he said that the official activities of the President can be queried before the court.

Hence the dissolution of the Parliament is also an official activity carried out by the President, it can be challenged before the court under the Fundamental Rights provisions, President’s Counsel Kanageswaran has further said.

The other lawyers representing the rest of the petitioners acknowledged the facts presented by Kanageswaran.

Reason for dissolution of parliament?

Sri Lanka was plunged into a constitutional crisis with the decision taken by President Maithripala Sirisena to oust Ranil Wickremesinghe from his post as Prime Minister and appoint Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place on October 26.

With Ranil Wickremesinghe claiming to be the country’s legitimate Prime Minister and Mahinda Rajapaksa being unable to prove their majority in parliament, President Sirisena took the decision to dissolve parliament on November 09.

Thereafter, 13 parties including the UNP, TNA, JVP, SLMC, Sri Lanka People’s Congress, Centre for Policy Alternatives and member of the Election Commission Prof. Ratnajeewan Hoole filed a fundamental Rights Petition in the Supreme Court on November 12th.