Petition fixed forJanuary 18

Petition fixed forJanuary 18

A Fundamental Rights petition filed seeking a declaration that the President should retain both the Defence and Buddha Sasana Ministry under his purview was yesterday fixed for January 18 by the Supreme Court.

Attorney-at-Law Aruna Laksiri had filed this petition naming the President and the Attorney General as respondents.

The petitioner, Aruna Laksiri yesterday sought further time to inform his stance regarding the petition since the Supreme Court is yet to announce its determination pertaining to 20th Amendment to the constitution.

Laksiri told the court that the 20th Amendment to the Constitution has proposed several changes regarding the powers of the President and the Cabinet of Ministers. He said his decision on whether to proceed with this petition to be taken following the Supreme Court's determination regarding the 20th Amendment to the constitution.

Accordingly, the Supreme Court two-judge-Bench comprising Justice Murdu Fernando and Justice S. Thurairaja fixed the petition to be mentioned on January 18.

The petitioner argued that in terms of Article 4(b), 30, 33 and Article 9, 105.4 of the constitution, the President cannot appoint any Parliamentarians to function as the Minister of Defence and Minister of Buddha Sasana respectively.

The petitioner alleged that the President had acted contrary to the Article 9, 30 and 105.(4) of the Constitution by handing over the Ministry of Buddha Sasana to a Parliamentarian.

The petitioner argued that the President cannot hand over the Ministry of Buddha Sasana to a Parliamentarian since Article 9 of the constitution has recognised that Sri Lanka shall give Buddhism the foremost place.

The petitioner is also seeking a declaration that rights guaranteed under Article 9, 10 and 12.1 of the constitution had been violated by the President due to handing over the Ministry of Buddha Sasana to a Parliamentarian.

Senior Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle appeared for the Attorney General.