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No Constitutional provision for No Confidence Motion against Prime Minister


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Article 48(2) provides for a No Confidence Motion against the Government and not the Prime Minister, or if Parliament rejects a Statement of Government Policy or the Appropriation Bill that the Cabinet of Ministers shall stand dissolved – See Article 48(2) of the Constitution given below:

Article 48 (2) – If Parliament rejects the Statement of Government Policy or the Appropriation Bill or passes a vote of no-confidence in the Government, the Cabinet of Ministers shall stand dissolved, and the President shall, unless he has in the exercise of his powers under Article 70, dissolved Parliament, appoint a Prime Minister, Ministers of the Cabinet of Ministers, Ministers who are not members of the Cabinet of Ministers and Deputy Ministers in terms of Articles 42, 43, 44 and 45.

Therefore it is very clear that, if a No Confidence Motion is passed as above, then the Cabinet would stand dissolved and the President would have to appoint a new set of persons and not any of those who had held the Office of Prime Minister, Cabinet Minister or State Minister or Deputy Minister. 

This means that all those who hold such Offices will have to vacate such Office. In such circumstances would any such Minister or State Minister or Deputy Minister bring a No Confidence Motion against the Government, as they would all have to go out and cannot be re-appointed by the President as per the Constitution in terms of Article 48(2) above? 

Also how could a Member of the Government have no confidence with the Government? In other words, would this not amount to no confidence of the Government of which he or she is an integral part, thereby admitting no confidence of such person in himself/herself? 

On the other hand, to dissolve Parliament before 4½ years from August 2015 it would require the Parliament to pass a Resolution by a 2/3rd majority as per Article 70(B)(1). 

Pertinently, as per Article 43(2) of the Constitution, on the advice of the Prime Minister the President shall appoint Ministers nominated by Prime Minister for the Ministries determined by the President in terms of the Article 43(1). Therefore if the Prime Minister nominates Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka as Minister of the subject of Law and Order, then President is bound by the Constitution to make such appointment in terms of Article 43(2).   

C. Ramachandra FCA


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