By Colombo Telegraph –
“It is to be reminded that Speaker, Deputy Speaker and every member of Parliament has under oath of office as set out in schedule 4(a) to the constitution undertaken to uphold the Constitution.” says Lal Wijenayake, the Convener Lawyers for Democracy.
Issuing a statement he says; “We ‘Lawyers for Democracy’ condemns the attempt to mislead the masses and to push the country towards an authoritarian regime. This dangerous trend has to be checked to prevent a lawless, chaotic situation developing. We demand that all concerned respect the Constitution and honour its allegiance to the Constitution.”
We publish below the LfD statement in full;
Statement by ‘Lawyers for Democracy’ on the statements by the Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Media Spokesman for the Government:
The statement made by the Deputy Speaker of Parliament regarding the notice issued by the Court of Appeal on the Speaker and members of the select committee of Parliament in the case filed by the Hon. Chief Justice for a writ of certiorari to quash the findings and/or the decision contained in the report of the PSC, that the speaker and Parliament is not bound by orders of Courts and the simultaneous statement made by the media spokesman for the government that Parliament is Supreme and that the Supreme Court cannot interpret the Constitution has to be taken seriously as both of them hold responsible positions in the government.
Article 3 of the Constitution clearly lays down that sovereignty is in the people and is inalienable and Article 4 of the constitution sets out how the sovereignty of People shall be exercised. Article 4(a) vests the legislative power of the People in Parliament and Article 4(b) vests the executive power of the People in the President. Article 4(c) vests the exercise of judicial power of the People in the courts, tribunals and institutions created and established by the Constitution or created and established by law. The only exception is in regard to matters relating to privileges, immunities and powers of Parliament and its members where the judicial power can be exercised directly by Parliament according to law. Therefore, it cannot be stated with any stretch of imagination that Parliament is Supreme. Article 125 of the Constitution lays down that the Supreme Court shall have Sole and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and determine any question relating to the interpretation of the Constitution.
Therefore irrespective of his position every citizen is bound by the interpretation of the Supreme Court of any provision of the Constitution and the constitutionality of any law, statute, rule or standing order. Under Article 74(1) which confers in Parliament the right to frame standing orders clearly states that such standing orders has to be subject to the Constitution.
It is to be reminded that Speaker, Deputy Speaker and every member of Parliament has under oath of office as set out in schedule 4(a) to the constitution undertaken to uphold the Constitution.
We ‘Lawyers for Democracy’ condemns the attempt to mislead the masses and to push the country towards an authoritarian regime. This dangerous trend has to be checked to prevent a lawless, chaotic situation developing. We demand that all concerned respect the Constitution and honour its allegiance to the Constitution.
We call upon all sections of civil society to voice their condemnation of these statements.
Convener Lawyers for Democracy.
‘Lawyers for Democracy’ (LfD) is a representative body of legal practitioners throughout the island. Conveners include Lal Wijenayake, Chandrapala Kumarage, J. C. Weliamuna, K. S. Ratnavale, Sudath Netthisinghe, Sudarshana Gunawardana. It was established on 10th December 2009’.