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POSTED AT 08:11 AM 16-03-2019

FR petition filed challenging non appointment of CA President

Four senior attorneys representing ‘Lawyers for Democracy’ yesterday filed a Fundamental Rights petition in the Supreme Court seeking an Interim Order desisting the President from making further acting appointments to the position of President in the Court of Appeal.

The petitioners Lal Wijenayake, Sunil Jayaratne, Luxman Jothikumar and Namal Rajapaksa are seeking a declaration that the decision to consecutively make acting appointments to the office and position of the President  in the Court of Appeal without the approval of the Constitutional Council is violative of the Constitution and in particular Article 41C of the Constitution read with Article 12(1).

They also sought a declaration that the petitioners’ Fundamental Rights under Article 12(1) have been and continue to be violated by the actions of the President.

This petition had been filed through Attorney-lat-Law Raj Mohan Balendra practicing in the name style and firm of Sinnadurai Sundaralingam and Balendra.

The petitioners have cited the Attorney General, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, Parliamentarian Mahinda Samarasinghe, MP Bimal Rathnayaka, MP Thalatha Atukorale, Jayantha Dhanapala, Naganathan Sellvakumaran, MP Chamal Rajapaksa, Javed Yusuf (members of Constitutional Council), Justice Deepali Wijesundara and Secretary to the President Udaya Ranjith Seneviratne as respondents.

The petitioners state that since January 9, 2019, no appointment has yet been made to the office and position of the Court of Appeal. The petitioners are aware that such has resulted in the Constitution of the benches of the Court of Appeal being unconstitional and disrupted.

They state that there is a constitutional duty on President to duly recommend names to the Constitutional Council for approval for appointment by him to the office and position of President of the Court of Appeal.

The petitioners state that no acting appointment can be made without approval of the constitutional council and such acting appointment sans approval is contrary to Article 41 of the Constitution. They further maintained that continued delay and failure to make nominations to the Constitutional Council violates the Rule of Law and adversely impact on the Independence of the Judiciary.

Lakmal Sooriyagoda