Lanka crisis: Rajapaksa to move SC against lower court order of barring him from acting as PM

Colombo, Sri Lanka Published: Dec 04, 2018, 12:49 PM(IST)

Mahinda Rajapaksa. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The court set the hearing of the case for December 12 and 13

Sri Lankan strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was appointed premier in a controversial move by President Maithripala Sirisena, will move the Supreme Court Tuesday against a lower court order, which barred him from acting as prime minister.

The Court of Appeal temporary on Monday halted Rajapaksa and his Cabinet from functioning in their positions in response to a case filed by 122 legislators against the disputed government.

The court set the hearing of the case for December 12 and 13.

"We will not agree with the interim order issued by the Court of Appeal today suspending the cabinet. We will appeal to the Supreme Court tomorrow against it," Rajapaksa said in a press statement. 

He said it was the Supreme Court, which has the power to interpret the Constitution.

The interim ruling was a major blow to both President Sirisena and Rajapaksa after the former had appointed his ex-rival as the prime minister on October 26, plunging the country into a major constitutional crisis.

Sirisena later dissolved Parliament, almost 20 months before its term was to end, and ordered a snap election. The Supreme Court overturned Sirisena's decision to dissolve Parliament and halted the preparations for snap polls.

Both Wickremesinghe and Rajapaksa claim to be the prime ministers. Wickremesinghe says his dismissal is invalid because he still holds a majority in the 225-member Parliament.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has officially conveyed that the House does not recognise Rajapaksa as the legal prime minister until he proved his majority in the House.

The United National Front led by Wickremesinghe has moved three motions of no trust against Rajapaksa. However, he refused to step down. 

The parliamentarians comprising members of the UNF, JVP and TNA ? also filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the former president, challenging him to prove on what authority he is holding office as the prime minister after the Parliament voted twice to defeat him on November 14 and November 16. 

Read in App