Will request for a full-judge bench: Govt.

The government yesterday maintained that the Supreme Court’s interim order does not mean that the dissolution of parliament has been cancelled and said that it would request for a full-judge bench to hear the case.

Addressing a hurriedly called news briefing last night at the Prime
Minister’s Office, Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said respondents have a right to request for a full-judge bench comprising nine to 11 Judges to hear a case.

“People should note that the Supreme Court has not yet made a final decision on the gazette issued by the President dissolving parliament. The final ruling will be made on December 7. There is no finality in the matter as of yet,” he said.

He said they were waiting for the court ruling and also fighting hard to go for an election. “We will abide by the Supreme Court’s decision,” he said.

Minister Siripala said there were misconception that Speaker Karu Jayasuriya can appoint a new Prime Minister by reconvening parliament. Under the Constitution, only the President can appoint a Premier or other ministers, he said.

“Even if the Speaker appoints a purported Prime Minister, the appointment is not valid. If the Opposition parties aspire to remove Mahinda Rajapaksa from the Prime Minister post, they will have to bring in a no-confidence motion (NCM) against him. The NCM has to be included in the order book for five days, taken up for a debate followed by a vote. This is the only way available to remove a Premier,” he said.

Minister Susil Premajayantha said no one has challenged in the Supreme Court the gazette issued by the President appointing Mr. Rajapaksa as the Premier and therefore, there is no impact on the Premiership by the interim order.

Meanwhile, Minister Dinesh Gunawardana said only the gazette which was issued dissolving parliament has been suspended and that it had no effect on the election which is scheduled to be held in January. (Lahiru Pothmulla)