By S.S. Selvanayagam
The Supreme Court fixed for support on 5 September the special leave to appeal filed by Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran contesting the interim order issued by the Court of Appeal in respect of the purported removal of B. Deniswaran from his post of minister.
The bench comprised Justices Buweneka Aluvihara, Priyantha Jayawardane and Prasanna S. Jayawardena.
Wigneswaran in his appeal cited Dineswaran, Governor Reginold Cooray and five members of the Board of Ministers as respondents.
Chief Minister Wigneswaran removed Deniswaran from the post of minister and the portfolios held by him were distributed amongst other respondent ministers.
Dineswaran claims the Chief Minister has no authority to remove him from the post of minister. The Chief Minister in response counterclaims that in terms of Article 154 F (5) of the Constitution read with Section 14(f) of the Interpretation Ordinance, he has the power to remove Dineswaran.
However, the Chief Minister, despite his request to set aside the interim order granted by the Court of Appeal, asserts it is relevant. The Court of Appeal granted the interim orders as asked for by Dineswaran restraining the respondents from interfering with or prohibiting Dineswaran from functioning as the Minister and suspending the portfolios which had been allocated to others other than Dineswaran.
Dineswaran contends the Chief Minister does not have the power to appoint or remove ministers under the Constitution and the power of appointment of ministers is provided to the Governor who shall appoint such a Minister on the advice of the Chief Minister at his own discretion. He also points out that the Constitution is silent on the question of removal.
The Chief Minister counters that the Governor cannot appoint a minister on his own initiative or in his own discretion and that the Governor can appoint a Minister only upon the advice of the Chief Minister.
He says that neither the Governor nor the Chief Minister has been expressly conferred with the power to remove a minister from his post.
He says that the grant of interim orders by the Court of Appeal has occasioned an unmitigated Constitutional chaos and impasse and political mischief. K. Kanag Iswaran PC instructed by Moahan Balendra appeared for Chief Minister Wigneswaran. Suren Fernando appeared for Dineswaran.