Senior Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Rajaratnam appearing on behalf of the Attorney General has raised preliminary objections and urged the Supreme Court to dismiss (in limine) the Fundamental Rights petition filed by former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva challenging the enactment procedure of Provincial Council Election Bill.
He pleaded that the Supreme Court does not have a jurisdiction to hear this petition in terms of Article 124 of the constitution since it challenges the legislative process of the country. Article 124 of the Constitution says; ‘No court or tribunal created and established for the administration of justice, or other institution, person or body of persons shall in relation to any Bill, have power or jurisdiction to inquire into, or pronounce upon, the constitutionality of such Bill or its due compliance with the legislative process, on any ground whatsoever’.
ASG Rajaratnam further stated that former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva cannot invoke Supreme Court’s jurisdiction through FR petition in accordance with the Section 3 of the Parliament Powers and Privileges Act. The relevant section says; ‘There shall be freedom of speech, debate and proceeding in Parliament and such freedom of speech, debate or proceedings shall not be liable to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament’.
He added that by this application the former Chief Justice is questioning the validity of the Provincial Councils Elections (Amendment) Act, No. 17 of 2017 which has been duly passed by the Parliament exercising the legislative power of the people.
He further raised preliminary objections against the Fundamental Rights petition filed former Chief Justice for non-disclose of the material facts of the petition. The endorsement certificate pertaining to the Provincial Council Election Bill which was certified on September 22 by the Speaker had not been produced by in Court.
Supreme Court bench comprised Chief Justice Priyasath Dep, Justice Buvaneka Aluvihare and Justice Nalin Perera.