January 28, 2020
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    FR challenging takeover of SLRC: order fixed for Monday

    October 31, 2019

    The Supreme Court yesterday reserved its order for November 4 to determine whether it should grant an interim order suspending the operation of the gazette notification which brought the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) under the purview of Defence Ministry.A Supreme Court three-judge-bench comprising Justices Buwaneka Aluwihare, L.T.B. Dehideniya and Murdu Fernando made this order pursuant to two Fundamental Rights petitions filed against bringing the SLRC under the Defence Ministry were taken up for support.


    The Supreme Court will also determine on next Monday (4) whether it should grant leave to proceed with the two Fundamental Rights petitions.These petitions had been filed seeking an interim order suspending the operation of the gazette notification and directing that the President shall exercise no power of functions with regard to the SLRC.MP Ashu Marasinghe, Ven. Dambara Amila Thera and Prof. Chandraguptha Thenuwara filed this petition naming the President and the Attorney General as respondents.
    The petitioners further sought a declaration that the President’s decision to bring the SLRC under the Defence Ministry has violated the fundamental rights guaranteed to the petitioners by Article 12(1) of the Constitution.On September 9, 2019, the President, by Gazette Extraordinary No.2140/2, brought the SLRC under the purview of the Defence Ministry. The petitioners further stated that the only subjects and functions which can be assigned to the incumbent President are the Defence, Mahaweli Development and Environment Ministries.They further stated that subjects and functions other than that of Defence, Mahaweli Development and Environment cannot be assigned to the President.
    The petitioners stated that in terms of Articles 43 and 44 of the Constitution, subjects and functions can only be assigned to Cabinet Ministers. The Attorney General had maintained that the President has discretionary powers to determine the subjects and functions relevant to his Ministries including the Ministry of Defence, Mahaweli Development and Environment. The Attorney General further maintained that the President’s decision to bring the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) under the purview of Defence Ministry was constitutional. President’s Counsel Sanjeewa Jayawardena with Counsel Suren Fernando counsel Dilumi de Alwis and Lakmini Warusevitane appeared for the petitioners. Additional Solicitor General Indika Demuni de Silva with Senior State Counsel Awanthi Perera appeared for the respondents.

     

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