Tamil Diplomat

CA says ’no’ to Writ of Prohibition to amend constitution as urgent bill

The Court of Appeal dismissed the Writ of Prohibion sought to prevent the parliament from amending the constitution as an ‘Urgent Bill’ under the 100 day program.

A proposal has been made under the election mandate of President Maithripala Sirisena to repeal the 18 th amendemet, restore independent commissionsetc as an urgent bill. The Court observed that the power to interpret constitution lies with Supreme Court.  The petition by Jayantha Liyanage sought a Writ of Prohibition against

the Secretary to the Cabinet, Sumith Abeysinghe, from endorsing a Constitutional Amendment as an ‘Urgent Bill’ if such an amendment is submitted to him for endorsement under Article 122 (1) of the Constitution.

The petition had said that, the “100 day programme”, would shortly amend the Constitution under the “Urgent Bill” provision, and thereby deny the citizens their right to argue constitutional changes before the Supreme Court. The proposed amendment would abolish the executive presidential system and introduce an executive Cabinet of Ministers, responsible to Parliament, the petitioner had said. The 18th Amendment to the Constitution would also be repealed, it said.

Among the respondents were Secretary to the President P. B. Abeykoon, Secretary to the Cabinet, Sumith Abeysinghe, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Attorney General  Additional Solicitor General Indika Demuni de Silva appeared for the Attorney General.

Counsel Dharshana Weerasekera appeared for the petitioner.  The Bench comprised Justice Vijith Malalgoda (President) and Justice A. H. M. D. Nawaz.