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FR against re-convening Parliament: SC re-fixes for support on 13 May

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By S.S. Selvanayagam

 The Supreme Court yesterday re-fixed the Fundamental Rights petition against the re-convening of Parliament for support on 13 May.

The Bench comprising Justices Priyantha Jayawardane, Vijith K. Malalgoda and Murdu N.B. Fernando fixed the matter to be supported for granting of leave to proceed along with related petitions.

Former UPFA Parliamentarian Sarath Weerasekara filed the Fundamental Rights petition, seeking a declaration from the Court that the decision taken by the Secretary General of Parliament and the Attorney General to re-convene the Parliament was unconstitutional.

He states the Supreme Court had already issued an Interim Order staying the operation of a Gazette Proclamation.

 The said Proclamation can only be determined at the conclusion of the argument/hearing of the main matter, and as such the petitioners in the said applications are not entitled to claim the result of the final order from an Interim Order, he maintains.

The Parliament had been dissolved by Proclamation, the Interim Order staying the operation of the same cannot have the effect of re-convening the Parliament, which continues to stand dissolved until the nullification or quashing the said Proclamation, he contends.

However the Secretary General of Parliament on 14 November 2018 made arrangements to re-convene Parliament and the proceedings thereof were initiated after reading the Statement of the President, he states.

Since Parliament continues to stand dissolved, neither the Secretary General nor the Speaker could summon Parliament before the final determination of the Court effecting the quashing of the said Proclamation, he underlines.

Prior to the issuance of Proclamation, the Parliament had been prorogued until 16 November 2018 by the President, he states.

Therefore the summoning of Parliament disregarding the true meaning of the Stay Order, and conducting the proceedings therein, will lead to serious issues relating to the legitimacy of Parliament and all laws and conduct of the Legislature, he claims.

If the lawfully-appointed Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers are dissolved on the strength of a no-confidence motion or any act initiated by the members of the Opposition, in collusion with the Speaker acting in violation of the Constitution, and the Standing Orders of Parliament, and if such Parliament, having no legal sanctity, continues to legislate for the nation, the legislative sovereignty of the people as well as of the Petitioner would be violated, he states.

The Speaker was also cited as one of the Respondents.

W.D. Rodrigo PC with Caniska Vitharana appeared for the Petitioner. Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle appeared for the Respondents.

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