Sacking of Sri Lanka parliament was illegal: Supreme Court

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Dec 13, 2018, 05.20 PM(IST)

File photo of Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena. Photograph:( Reuters )

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The seven-judge bench unanimously decided that President Sirisena violated the constitution when he dissolved parliament and called a snap election nearly two years ahead of schedule.

In a crucial verdict on Thursday, the Sri Lankan Supreme Court called the sacking of the country's parliament as illegal.

The seven-judge bench unanimously decided that President Maithripala Sirisena violated the country's Constitution when he dissolved parliament and called a snap election nearly two years ahead of schedule.

Sacked prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's party has said it would await the outcome of Thursday's decision before deciding whether to open impeachment proceedings. 

Sri Lanka is going through a major political crisis since October 26 when President Sirisena, in a controversial move, sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and installed former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place.

He also dissolved Parliament and called for a snap election on January 5.

Sirisena sacked the 225-member Parliament when it appeared that Rajapaksa would not be able to muster the support of 113 MPs. Wickremesinghe on the other hand commands a majority.

Sri Lanka's parliament had on Wednesday passed a vote of confidence in its ousted prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, as it sought his reinstatement by the president to defuse a political crisis and avoid a government shutdown.

Parliament has twice in the past few weeks voted to sack Rajapaksa but he has refused to resign.

After the Supreme Court verdict today, Rajapaksa's son Namal tweeted, "We respect the decision of #lka ‘s Supreme Court, despite the fact that we have reservations regarding its interpretation...We will continue to stand alongside those calling for a parliamentary election, without which there is no real justice for the people of #lka".

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As many as 13 petitions were filed against Sirisena's November 9 order sacking the Parliament, almost 20 months before its term was to end.

Last week, Sirisena claimed that Rajapaksa had tried to bribe politicians in order to show a majority in the country's Parliament.

(With inputs from agencies)