President’s Counsel Sanjeewa Jayawardena said that it would be disastrous if leave to proceed is granted to the petitioners challenging the president’s proclamation dissolving parliament.
He was appearing for Ven. Muruththetuwe Ananda Thero Thero, an intervening petitioner in the Fundamental Rights applications being considered before a five-judge Supreme Court bench.
President’s Counsel Sanjeewa Jayawardena submitted that the phrase “public services” is included in both Article 150 (2) of the constitution which grants parliament authority to withdraw sums from the consolidated fund, as well as Article 150 (3) which grants the president authority to withdraw funds when parliament stands dissolved.
He cited the appropriation bills for the years 2017, 2018 and the vote on account passed in 2019 and pointed out that capital expenditure, recurrent expenditure and even raising of debt are all included in these documents.
He, therefore, submitted that these powers of parliament over public finances are transferred to the president during the interim period that the parliament stands dissolved.
He went on to state “it is ludicrous to suggest that the president cannot raise loans.”
PC Jayawardena submitted that the constitution must be interpreted in a workable manner and it must not be given a restrictive approach.
Speaking on the consequences of granting the petitioners leave to proceed, he said that the elections commission would continue to further delay recommencing the election process, seeking refuge under the fact that the Supreme Court is indulged in the matter.
Appearing on behalf of Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekera, President’s Counsel Kushan De Alwis submitted that the petitioners have come before court for collateral purposes, and are seeking to stutter the country.
He pointed out that initially the Elections commission told court that the elections could be held 70 days after health authorities give a green light, but now they have changed this stance and announced that the election process will resume after the Supreme Court gives their determination on this matter.
He submitted that the petitioners seem to have the tacit support of the elections commission.
President’s Counsel Gamini Marapana appearing on behalf of Ven. Attapattukande Ananda Thero, the Adhikarana Sanghanayake thero of the Malwathu Chapter, submitted that a political decision by the president to dissolve parliament is not justiciable, and added that it is not just and equitable to grant the relief sought by the petitioners.
He submitted that if court rules in favour of the petitioners “we will never be able to hold a legal election”
The petitions will be taken up for consideration to grant leave proceed tomorrow at 10 a.m.
Counsel for the intervening petitioners will continue to make submissions tomorrow.