3 December, 2021

Blog

Supreme Court Snubs Attorney General, Says President’s Term Ends In 2020

A five-member bench of the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that President Maithripala Sirisena’s term is limited to five years from the date of assuming office.

Chief Justice Priyasad Depp

The ruling followed a reference submitted to the Supreme Court by the President last week seeking opinion whether or not he could serve for six years.

The bench comprised of Chief Justice Priyasath Dep, Eva Wanasundare, Buvaneka Aluvihare, Sisira de Abrew and K. Chitrasiri is reported to have communicated its opinion to the Presidential Secretariat yesterday.

Earlier, Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya claimed that since Sirisena was elected on January 8, 2015 for a period of six years, any change of term would be ‘an alienation of the sovereignty of the people.’

Commenting on the 19th Amendment, which limited the presidential term to five years, Jayasuriya offered the following argument to the Supreme Court:

“There is no provisions in the 19th Amendment to operate same with retrospective effect. Constitutions cannot be amended with retrospective effect.”

Related posts:

Shocking Blow To Yahapalanaya From Sirisena: Asks SC If He Can Continue As President Until 2021

Yahapālanaya In Crisis: UNP Anxious As Sirisena Plays Lone Hand

Sirisena In Damage-Control Mode Re Term Extension

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 11
    24

    One cannot contradict the ruling of five supreme court judges. They obviously had good reasons for their ruling. As a layman “having been elected based on the six years that was existing” seems a valid opinion by the Attorney General.

    • 17
      1

      Andrew
      Extending your argument, not only president’s term of office , entire government was elected by the people on the basis of the existing Constitution at the time of election. That was the wish of the people. So no government in the world is empowered to make any constitutional changes as that goes counter to the wish of the people. Heaven forbids if Rajapaksa’s 18 th amendment contained a clause to the effect that the President is empowered to continue as long as he likes and holding election is an option! ( Sirisena would have voted too.)
      Soma

      • 20
        0

        Why did people elect the government?

        To make changes.

        So after making changes it’s the law to be practiced so uphold SC decision.

        President’s term ends in 2020, thanks; we, the people love it.

      • 0
        0

        S.
        The “constitution making process” in S L is a joke.
        This is a banana republic with antiquated thinking processes with the poor people taken for a ride by crass politicians.
        Sad. No solution.
        ? learn to live with it.

    • 5
      3

      Our Supreme Court still holds the highest trust of people while the Legislature has completely lost the public trust and prestige.
      .
      Legislative corruption is the worst shock to any country. Yahapalanaya Government led by the Prime Minister cuts deals with the Opposition – TNA, JVP, JO in various ways.
      .
      There is no true Opposition in the Parliament. TNA and JVP have never voted against any Acts detrimental to the country. On the other hand, every time there is a crucial debate, JO acts like hooligans to disrupt the debate in support of the Government. The first debate scheduled for Magamapura Port was one such occasion. Anyways the second time in December, JO didn’t vote against the Magampura sale Act even when they had the opportunity which proves that their first rumbustious behaviour was intentional. When there was RTI and OMP debates, JO was not even present in the Parliament let alone voting against them. Our Legislative Branch has lost people’s trust completely. There is a famous saying:
      .
      “Respect is earned:
      Honesty is appreciated:
      Trust is gained:
      Loyalty is returned:”
      .
      Interestingly, the President is someone people could trust in certain cases, irrespective of party colour. The latest example is his admirably brave move to revoke two Gazette Notifications pertaining to extended opening hours of bars/pubs/taverns and removal of the prohibition of sale of liquor and bar tending related occupation for women something they never demanded. At least the President is genuine in protecting and safeguarding our long cherished culture and its unique values. The continuation of the prohibition of liquor related activities for women is very welcome. Anyways, this doesn’t mean that SLFP gained people’s trust.
      .
      I hope that the Supreme Court maintains and protects the trust and confidence placed in them where Legislature is pathetically failed.

    • 1
      5

      I had to delete a few lines as I reached 300 words in my first comment.
      .
      When talking about legislative corruption, I must place in record that the Leader of the National Freedom Front Wimal Weerawansa and his other 3 MPP were not party to legislative corruption.
      People can trust Wimal as someone who could never be bought. He+NFF didn’t take part in the Constitutional Assembly at all, while JO was the arms, legs and body of the Federal Constitution when UNP represents the head part.
      Wimal remains as the only nationalist politician in the Parliament whom people could trust who would never to go against the country. He is a natural born true patriot.

    • 8
      0

      The idiot or the slave called AG was blind not to see the clause 49 b of the 19th amendment!!

    • 4
      0

      A P.
      This AG is a joke; no better than the Pres.

      The whole political system in SL is in an utter state of Collapse.

  • 28
    1

    MS cannot dissolve parliament until February 17 2020. So all his game plans is not going to work.

    • 3
      6

      Sandra Aponso

      Still he has chances to have favorable parliament for him & people in tricky way.

      Appears he’s working towards that. Grabbing MPs from JO & UNP; appoint new PM.

      It’s now or never; to get rid of corrupt politicians.

      • 17
        0

        Outside Lipton circus there is going to be a massive tv screen giving the exact no of days MY3 will be in power the final countdown begins 725 days more. Si rasa your games up.

      • 13
        1

        Grabbing MP’s from UNP is not going to be that easy. No body would want to jump into a sinking ship.

        Yes no matter what corrupt politicians should be hanged like in the Middle east.

        • 3
          0

          Sandra Aponso

          1st of all understand all of us are in sinking ship, apparently there’re rescuers but they want to own the ship after the rescue operation.

          @ least MS is stable till his tenure as nobody is there to impeach him. How can you read UNP back benchers minds?

          Observe carefully there’re protestants who hate sitting with stained hands.

          There’re some with genuine love to party.

          They’ll select to make party victorious by defeating it. Until good people come to the top.

    • 5
      4

      Sandra Aponso

      Sirisena has made a mistake he should have re-appointed Sarath Nanda de Silva as the Chief justice of the supreme court, to have a desired decision.

      It is not too late.

      • 7
        0

        NV.

        If he can bring all the uneducated MR cronies through the national list and recently JNP veerakoomara crossover, bringing in Nanda De Silva would be as the chief justice
        that may happen.

        Veerkoomara was brought in after exchanging a fantastic santhosam just to attack the opponents which he is doing brilliantly.

      • 1
        0

        Does Native Veddaa trust ex judge harak Silva to even do that without a suitable pagaa? Pls dont give ideas to Sirisena. He does not believe in justice by lawyers. Instead he uses Maduwalige and Kaduwa as necessary. He should study our Sharia Law.

        • 0
          0

          Bodin

          Alternatively I am thinking of recommending Dr Mervyn Silva (PhD) who was famously delivered instant justice to a few in the past. He should be called from his retirement, perhaps the country and president need him.

  • 22
    5

    Whatever the drawbacks of Ranil and MY3, they should be applauded for making this happen. The SC is given the freedom to deliver verdict independently on a President’s request. Under MARA the dictator the verdict would have been a foregone conclusion.

    • 14
      0

      Ansar
      Who gave the orders to the Attorney General to argue for 6 years? If acted on his own volition and opinion shouldn’t he resign the office for his poor knowledge on our constitution?
      Soma

      • 7
        3

        Soma,

        I am not saying MY3 or Ranil is a saint, they all should leave and my vote this time is for JVP.

        My point is that, at least the environment is created by the Yahapalanaya for the judges to deliver the judgement devoid of getting a threatening call from MARA and a white van parked outside by GORA, if the judgement goes against MARA’s wishes.

        Let us give the credit where it accrues and also not forget the dark ages under MARA/GORA duo, we people have a very short memory, may be a Serendipity syndrome.

    • 1
      1

      No, MS relied on his cohorts assurances that he could “shape” things at the correct place – MS went for it (AGs version is proof). MS took lame cover on boastfully declaring that he is prepared to step down even today, if necessary!!!!!!!!!!! Typical GS talk.

  • 0
    0

    Ho ho ho………….haa ha ha ha haaaa……. ho ho ho ho ho!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 18
    0

    When will the Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya resign? An attorney General who is not competent enough to interpret the 19th amendment of the constitution correctly is not suitable for the job.

    • 5
      0

      Good point. The unanimous decision by the five judges could be considered as a good portend for My3. The said decision could act as a catalyst to stall the efforts of the JO if My3 knows how to play the cards left in his hands to keep his promise to get rid of the executive Presidency like how he strived to shorten the six year term of the post to five years by enacting the 19th Amendment and also at the same time to have it’s powers pruned.
      The forthright decision of the five bench SC judges should now set the country on a different path without the millstone of an Exucutive Presidency that was utilised to further a culture of impunity and intimidation that existed during previous Presidential administrations

    • 2
      0

      May be he’s waiting for RW, RK & like to set an example.

  • 5
    0

    The infamous application of the “Interpretations Ordinance” to interpret the Constitution has ended. Fortunately the wise Ladies and the Gentlemen have decided to call a spade a spade irrespective of outcomes personal to them. Certainly they cannot aspire to become directors of commercial banks and possibly other plums that the executive can shower on them. But Mr. Attorney should have known better to present matters without openly showing bias. I would have appreciated had he told that there is a doubt as to which point of view should prevail and it is to clear that doubt that this reference was made instead of voicing one side of the story.

  • 5
    4

    AG may be a MR Supporter who wants to get rid of M&S as soon as possible: M&S should change AG or send him on retirement: Now M&S should put his man as a AG.
    get rid rid of all these people and vote for JVP to clean politics in Sri Lanka

    • 6
      2

      Classic logic here, Lankan. The AG could be An MR supporter so he wants MS to continue for 6 years? Sounds like brilliant JVP thinking. Puts the master, Wijeweera into the shadows. If all you JVP guys think so rationally all we need is an equally capable lunatic to run the country!!

  • 9
    1

    Finally judges believe that they can interpret the law without worrying about “White Vans”.

    In a way that is a great achievement of the Yahapalana government.

  • 4
    0

    Lankan.
    AG may be a MR supporter who wants too get rid of MS.

    Now come on Bull lankan every body knows through the 19th amendment that the term is 5 years.

    Now lets see what Killi Seerasa is going to do.

    • 2
      1

      MJ:
      Everyone might know that the 19th amendment limits the term to 5 years but MS was elected under the 18th amendment.
      The 19th amendment is not clear whether it was retroactive or binding on future elections.
      There was nothing wrong in asking for SC’s ruling to put the issue to rest.

  • 1
    3

    Burt

    How could the government allow the judges to do their duty? This is going against the tradition established by JR, Premadasa, ….. Dr Mahinda (LLD), …… The legal establishment needs a guiding hand.Bring in Sarath Nanda de Silva.

    • 0
      1

      NV:
      Sri Lankans should be in shock.

  • 5
    0

    I am confused as to whether Ranil too wanted Sira to continue. Why did AG argue for 6 years?
    Soma

    • 1
      3

      somass

      “I am confused as to whether Ranil too wanted Sira to continue. “

      When did you first realise you are confused?

  • 12
    0

    The 19th Amendment reduced the term of office of the President from six years to five years. Section 48(1)(b) of the 19th Amendment states: “For the avoidance of doubt it is hereby declared that the persons holding office respectively on the day preceding April 22, 2015 shall continue to hold such office after such date, subject to the provisions of the Constitution as amended by this Act.” In plain and simple language what is stated here is that the term of office of the President is as provided for by the 19th Amendment, namely five years. In my view, it did not warrant a reference to the Supreme Court. How the Attorney-General could have supported (or advised?) the President’s reference is inexplicable.

    • 4
      0

      Dear Nihal J

      Logically, the Prez only ‘inquired’ as to whether the term of office is five or six – nowhere he expressly stated that he desires it to be six though it was obvious to all. My confusion is how did AG assume that the “government” position is six ? What is the “government” as far as he is concerned. UNP faction, SLFP faction or both? Even if he was “unofficially” pressured to argue for six by Sirisena faction would he go ahead without confirmation from Ranil faction? Is Ranil playing a crafty double game here? What is your opinion?
      Soma

    • 9
      0

      Dear Nihal Jayawickrema / ? former secretary to the Minister of Justice

      “How the Attorney-General could have supported ……….is inexplicable”
      Simple he wanted favours from the President and so supported him the same way the astrologer did to Mahinda Rajapakse. But it back fired.

      If AG swears he did not knowingly ill-advise the President then he is a Fool cannot read simple English and understand law written in English. I seriously doubt how he passed the law exams , may be did another Namal Rajapakse!

      So better for AG to own up he ill-advised him with hopes of getting favours in return.

      • 0
        0

        …..and retire gracefully

    • 6
      0

      Yes, ..AG’s advice is “inexplicable”.
      Makes me wonder whether he had a late night and was half asleep while making his submissions to the SC!

      Sillysena is giving AG too much of repetitive work…having a COPE report on the Bond issue, the poor man had to burn midnight oil on a Bond Commission!

  • 4
    1

    Soma,

    I am not saying MY3 or Ranil is a saint, they all should leave and my vote this time is for JVP.

    My point is that, at least the environment is created by the Yahapalanaya for the judges to deliver the judgement devoid of getting a threatening call from MARA and a white van parked outside by GORA, if the judgement goes against MARA’s wishes.

    Let us give the credit where it accrues and also not forget the dark ages under MARA/GORA duo, we people have a very short memory, may be a Serendipity syndrome.

  • 2
    1

    Nihal Jayawickrama

    “How the Attorney-General could have supported (or advised?) the President’s reference is inexplicable.”

    Attorney Generals advice is only relevant if his decision is based on constitution. What if it complies with expediency?

    • 0
      0

      Thank you Sir.

  • 4
    0

    No country should be allowed to extend the term of the President or the Prime Minister. Bad for any country. International community must exert pressure on the two bit politicians who are hell bent in robbing the country dry.

  • 2
    0

    Is it possible five member supreme court judges just enter in to the endangers list and soon to be former.?

  • 5
    0

    Dont know what is the just and legal position. After all we have always had very mediocre and political judges.
    Even this AG seems to think his job s to support the government position come what may. He went to cross examine RW at the Presidential Commission which was very unusual.Remember Sarath Silva, Mohan Peiris and even Shirani Bandaranayake ( her husbands appointment ) behaviour ?

    Do not think our judges are any different to the rest of the 22 million. Born bummers with no sense of personal independence. They don’t stand for our freedoms but are only concerned with benefits and privileges they can get from the government. Also the judgments of our courts are often poor quality and narrow minded.Either way only because we must have a system we have to let them decide. That is all there is to it.

  • 4
    2

    Hi. All these UNP and SLFP are public fund looters and money making machines. Look most of MPS came into politics from poor family background and look at them now ? I can name them and sham them..But look JVP : most of them young and good people. Most of them are educated. They do not take on board any bad people: people with fraud and corruption can not approach them at all. I do not generalise all UNP and ALL SLFP are bad people: I know some of them are good but most of them are bad: Without any basic qualifications. 50% MPs do not have any basic A/L qualification So, what could they debate, what could they argue for us in Parliament: We live today in this modern world: People without basic knowledge and qualifications should not go for these high posts in Government . A’m I a racist? no, all human beings are equal and yet,they should have some skills to work as politicians today but most of them are not good in all aspects.

    JVP is will rule Sri Lanka soon. But UNP and SLFP are jeousely of them and they do not let them go for that.. Why, because, UNP and SLFP do not have good as JVP has got. ..
    If you love Sri Lanka vote for JVP.
    if you want a clean politics vote for JVP ..
    if you want to help poor and needy vote for JVP.

    • 0
      0

      No doubt JVP has many good features like commitment to the cause of rebuilding and reconciliation under it’s current AKD’s leadership. But it has a past history which has continued to cast a slur like it’s infantile armed adventurism on two different occasions in the 1971&19888/89 period.
      This doubt in people’s mind coupled and the JVP’s leadership’s hesitation to express an enduring positive policy declaration on the National Question and a secular constitution for the country is that what impedes support for the JVP.
      Empty platitudes just go into thin air.

  • 2
    0

    Fire the AG first. Even a layman can read the amendment and understand that is clearly over rides tge 6 year term. For the AG to say it violates the sovereignty of the people who voted, was clearly an Amudey move to cover his arse! MS wanted to see who will jump up when he made the request and he saw who was standing in his corner. The UNP keeps forgetting He IS the President. They also keep forgetting their leader would NEVER have won the election and thought he had a Trojan horse. Guess what… The Trojan came alive!!

  • 2
    0

    Wht a burning issue in Sri lanka this PR=resident ‘s extra year is.

  • 1
    0

    “There is no provisions in the 19th Amendment to operate same with retrospective effect. Constitutions cannot be amended with retrospective effect.”

    An amendment to constitution is the constitution. A constitution may come into effect on the day it is proclaimed to be binding on the citizens. Constitution may not wait any official severing in the government to retire it to come into effect. Constitution is not an ordinary law. It deal with the citizens rights. It cannot differentiate between two citizens that one was living under the Old Constitution and the one born in the new constitution. AG’s interpretation of it is going back retrospectively is only pompous. New King is learning that he is not Old King to influence through all stages of the legal system to get his verdict.

  • 3
    0

    MY 3 MUST BE VERY CARE FULL TO FORM HIS OWN GOVERNMENT LEAVING U.N.P AND RANIL HALF WAY.BY ANY CHANGE MAHINDA OR HIS PARTY COMES TO POWER HE WILL HANG MY3 AND MADAM CANDIRIKA OPENLY IN GALLE FACE LEAVING RANIL.BUT ALL INDICATION AFTER LOCAL ELECTIONS MY3 AND RANIL WILL BE FORCED TO CONTINUE TOGETHER WHETHER THEY LIKE IT OR NOT TO SAVE THEIR FACE.

    • 2
      0

      “… leaving Ranil.” Intact you mean? Is that an admission that either king or the pauper, Ranil is in a win-win situation as he has a pact with MR either as a protector or as an informer (UNP insider dealings) a skill that he has well demonstrated in the bond scam.

  • 1
    0

    Now this President is acting like a Cat on a hot tin roof. After a grand wedding witnessed by 6.2 million people, he has taken three years to realize that his marriage, rather “co-habitation” with Ranil W is impossible. So much damage has been done both individually and jointly to inflict great pain on the “Witnesses” and only one party, the “Bride Groom” – the President has started to feel the pain. The “Bride” goes about in “Jubilation” living a life of “Luxury” pawning whatever assets available to find much needed money for “Day to Day” existence. The “Bride Groom” – the President has found that there is a “BIG HOLE” in the bucket and he is running around to find some way out, but not to “FIX THE HOLE”. That is the immediate cause for this reference to Supreme Courts. This decision is a cap in the Judiciary. What is the President going to do now? Just only two years left. Will he commit “Hara- Kiri” or “Divorce” the marriage? Why this “Newly Married” couple reached this stage? I can only remind both of them in their own religious teachings, the word “APPAMADA”.(meaning without delay) They FAILED or POSTPONED to do the “First thing First” i.e to fulfill the PROMISES or VOWS given at the ceremony witnessed by 6,2 million people of the country, because both of them together with their cohorts got DUPED with all the LUXURIES of “POWER” .

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 0
    0

    CT headline ~ “Supreme Court Snubs Attorney General,…………….”
    CT Editor: All SC verdicts will go against one party in the dispute. Are all SC verdicts ‘snubbing’?
    Has impeachment expert Wimal been consulted?

  • 3
    0

    Dear Mr Sirisena, Time to use your Exec powers to deal with the bank robbers/ bond fraudsters and criminal polytikkos of the previous regime before your term runs out. That’s what you promised? To clean up our parliament and to punish the corrupt politicians

  • 1
    1

    Communist Pakaya Vasu has pointed out an interesting notion. The question stated first what the decision New King was looking for. Question asked if anyone (presumable the SC) is capable of blocking him continuing to 6 years. Everybody do know that malice-ly interpreted PCoI report came out, but not the other one. There is talk that New King rejected the OMP commissioners list supplied by CC, wants his own.

    IGP Jeyam has said, when he choked a lift operator, that New King is with him. Now AG has said that, in this drama.

    The question now is, is he trying to build up a machinery that can beat Old Royals’ record? Some commentators have said that Ranil is colluding in these games. I cannot become correct by denying that. But to whom Ranil is playing his part? To fool the Modayas in the LG election or keep the 8th grade backbencher pubs on the leash?

  • 2
    0

    Prez Sirisena has a lot of weaknesses, and his advisers and close friends take the undue advantage by misleading him to make myopic decisions. This question of 5 or 6 years about the presidency’s term period is such a myopic blunder. I read a lot of comments on Sinhala media and Prez and his team now seem to be in damage control mode which is not working at all. Just like CT many people think he is like a casino player; the only difference is that he is wasting public money, resources, and valuable time that should be used to resolve burning problems of the poor Sri Lankans. Even JVP has ridiculed his move and I don’t think people will pardon him for this selfish blunder.
    Just look at the other blunder; liquor gazette notification. He says he cancelled it but according to 19th amendment he has no power to do it; only the ministry concerned can do it. He can only make a request. My point here is not for or against the gazette notification, but the very fact that the Prez has no power to do such a cancellation. He cut his own wings but he is under the impression he can still fly. This is the weakness of this gentleman.

  • 0
    0

    I remember very well that MS was publicly making this request to reduce his term by one year thus making his term 5 years; and now after 3 years this same MS is exploring the possibility of making his term 6 years. What’s the problem Mr. President? We are losing faith that we had in you 3 years ago. You sound like just another ordinary politician? Disappointing…. & disgusting.

  • 0
    0

    Is the Attorney General so irresponsible as to give a `D-Rope` to the President or is he a stupid fellow who is incapable of understanding the 19th amendment – section 48.Is he a qualified lawyer or still a law student of some private law college like the notorious SAITM?Sack this inefficient bugger immediately.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 5 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.