President requests SC opinion on length of his term

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 09: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena attends the Commonwealth Observance Service at Westminster Abbey on March 9, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

  • SC hearing tomorrow 
  • Registrar of the Supreme Court writes to Bar Association to inform membership 

By Chauthri Dissanayale

Hot on the heels of the three-year anniversary celebrations of his presidential term, President Maithripala Sirisena has requested the opinion of the Supreme Court on any impediments preventing him from continuing to hold office for a period of six years from 9 January 2015.

According to the prevailing constitutional provisions at the time of Sirisena’s election, the presidential term was for a six-year period. However, the 19th Amendment passed on 15 May 2015, during the 100-day program, making good of one of his campaign promises, trimmed the term by one year limiting it to a period of five years.

Since then the debate on whether or not Sirisena’s term would end after five years has been debated both by his own Sri Lanka Freedom Party and its coalition partner the United National Party.

The Supreme Court has listed the matter for the reference of the Supreme Court tomorrow.  The Registrar of the Supreme Court, M.M. Jayasekera, has written on the matter to the President and Secretary of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka to inform its membership.

The letter details that President Sirisena has requested the Supreme Court for an opinion on the question of “whether, in the terms of provisions of the Constitution, I, as the person elected and succeeding to the office of President and having assumed such office in terms of Article 32(1) of the Constitution on 09th January 2015, have any impediment to continue in the office of President for a period of 6 years from 09th January 2015, the date on which the result of my election to the office of President was declared”.

The letter also states that Sirisena has requested the opinion of the Supreme Court to be submitted to him on or before 14 January 2018.

Bar Association President U.R. de Silva told the Daily FT that the association’s secretary has already taken steps to write to the membership informing it of the listing.

“They have been asked to present their opinions on the day individually, as a group or representing a political party,” he said.

However, the Bar Association will not be filing an opinion as there was not enough time to reach a collective decision.

“We don’t have time to call for a meeting to discuss the matter and reach a decision. So we will not be filing anything,” de Silva said.

Courtesy : Daily FT

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