SC to consider fuller bench for MCC, SOFA, ACSA petitions on 13 Nov.

Thursday, 7 November 2019 01:12 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By S.S. Selvanayagam

The Supreme Court yesterday determined that it would reconvene on 13 November to deliberate whether it should nominate a fuller bench to hear petitions challenging the signing of the Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact (MCC), Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA).

The bench comprised Justices Buwaneka Aluvihara and S. Thurairaja.

One Petition was filed by Dr. P.S.M Anuruddha Bandara Padeniya, Dr. Haritha Punu Aluthge, Dr. A. K.A. Samantha Kumarasiri Ananda, Dr. H.N. Deshika Soysa and the Government Medical Officers’ Association.

Another Petition was filed by Angulugalle Siri Jinanda Thero, Bengamuwe Nalaka Anunayake Thero and Madegoda Abhayathissa Thero.

A third Petition was filed by Attorney-at-law Dharshana Weraduwage citing the Attorney General, President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Foreign Affairs Minister Tilak Marapana, and Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera as respondents.

Sanjeeva Jayawardena PC with Ravindranath Dabare, Lakmini Warushawitharana, Rukshan Senadhera, Charitha Rupasinghe, Milhan Mohamed, Ranmalee Meepagala, and Niranjan Arulpragasam, instructed by Miwunhella, appeared for the petitioners.

Additional Solicitor General Farzana Jameel appeared for the Attorney General.

The Petitioners allege that the contents of the purported agreements are shrouded in secrecy.

They are petitioning Court to request for the MCC and SOFA agreements or their final drafts that are set to be signed as well as the ACSA Agreement which has purportedly been executed.

They state that the issues highlighted in their petition erode the territorial integrity of the country and thus impinges on the people’s sovereignty 

They assert that the agreements deliver overwhelming benefits to the US and its military personnel, which hurts Sri Lanka’s national interest along with the rights of all citizens and future generations.

Citing the US’s history of expansive and highly penetrative investment campaigns in Third World countries, they say there is a serious danger of Sri Lankan interests being denied in favour of those of the US.

They claim that the US will exert power in order to secure its own interests, weakening Sri Lanka in the process.

The petitioners list the agreement as an instance of State sovereignty being bartered for a superpower’s alleged development project.

They say that the US Government and other nations such as Japan, Iraq, Iran, Germany and South Korea have entered into SOFA agreements and have faced many sovereign conflicts. These agreements have periodically earned the ire of each nation’s citizens.

They asked Court to declare that the MCC, SOFA and ACSA gain mandatory parliamentary approval, as required by Article 157 of the Constitution, if they are to be pursued.

They are also seeking a declaration that the purported agreements have no legal power until they are presented before and approved by Parliament.

Furthermore, the Petitioners are seeking an interim order staying or suspending these agreements until the final hearing and determination of their application.


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