The court took up the case today (06) for the third day running and decided to resume further hearings tomorrow.
A seven member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by chief justice Nalin Perera, is considering fundamental rights petitions filed by 13 parties, including the UNP, JVP, TNA, SLMC and the ACPC.
President’s powers to dissolve parliament
Lawyers for the intervening petitioners made their submissions at the hearing today.
The lawyer for SLPP chairman Prof. G.L. Peiris explained the powers vested in the president as per clause 62 (2) of the constitution to dissolve parliament.
He said this clause enabled presidents to dissolve all parliaments, excepting the one elected in 1978, and noted the provisions further confirming it were contained in clause 10 of the parliamentary elections act.
The lawyer for Udaya Gammanpila requested that the petition be dismissed, claiming the petitioners had failed to establish that their fundamental rights had been violated by the presidential move.
He said the president has been empowered by the constitution to dissolve parliament if he felt there was no parliamentary majority for any party.
The lawyer for Jagath Wellawatte claimed clause 33 (2) (c) of the constitution additionally empowered the president to dissolve parliament.
Since this is a matter regarding the supremacy of the people, it is better to get it resolved by placing it before them, he said.
‘On two instances only’
On the first day of the hearing of the petitions, lawyers for the UNP and the TNA noted the president was empowered by the constitution to dissolve parliament on two instances only - after its term lapses four and a half years, or if a two-third majority of MPs request the president to do so.
The lawyers noted that the manner of the dissolution of parliament belonged to neither and was in total contravention of the 19th amendment to the constitution.