The Supreme Court today (18) fixed the hearing for July 9 a Fundamental Rights petition filed by a public interest litigation activist who sought a declaration thatthe President should have under his purview both Defence and Buddha Sasana ministries .

Attorney-at-law Aruna Laksiri had filed this petition citing the President and Attorney General as respondents. The petitioner pinpointed that in terms of Article 4(b), 30, 33 and Article 9, 105.4

of the constitution, the President is unable to appoint any parliamentarians to carry out duties of the ministry of Defence and 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, 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 have been violated by the President by handing over the Ministry of Buddha Sasana to a Parliamentarian.

When the matter came up before Supreme Court two-judge-bench comprising Justice L.T.B. Dehideniya and Justice S. Thurairaja, Senior Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle appearing for the Attorney General moved Court to dismiss the petition since it had been filed under the now defunct 19th Amendment to the constitution.

However, Supreme Court turned down the argument and decided to fix the petition for support. The petitioner was,however directed not to challenge the legality of constitutional amendments at this juncture.


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