The Supreme Court, in a landmark judgement on Friday (6), held that the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) decision to expel Minister Naseer Ahamad from the party membership is valid in law.

The judgement by the Supreme Court will inevitably lead to the loss of Naseer Ahamad’s parliamentary seat and his ministerial portfolio.

The Supreme Court bench, comprising Justices Preethi Padman Surasena and S. Thurairaja, observed that the decision made by the SLMC to expel the petitioner, Ahamad, from the party is valid in law.

Justice Mahinda Samayawardena held in a separate judgement that there is no reason to interfere with the decision of the party to expel petitioner Naseer Ahamad from party membership. The application of the petitioner, Naseer Ahamad, was dismissed accordingly, without cost, since the decision was unanimous.


Article 99 (13)(a) of the Constitution reads that where an MP ceases, by resignation, expulsion, or otherwise to be a member of a political party or independent group, his seat in Parliament shall become vacant upon the expiration of a period of one month from the date of his ceasing to be such member.

In the case of Gamini Dissanayake vs. M. C. M. Kaleel and others, which was decided on December 3, 1991, by the Supreme Court, a similar judgment was delivered. In Gamini Dissanayake’s case, eight members of the United National Party who were also Members of Parliament had filed eight petitions in terms of Article 99 (13)(a) of the Constitution challenging their expulsion from the party. In a minority judgement, the Supreme Court held that the expulsion of the eight petitioners was valid.


However, former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva stated in the Rambukwella judgement as follows:

“Under the law as it stood prior to the Constitution of 1978, the expulsion of a member of a political party did not have the consequence of such a member vacating his seat in Parliament.

The SLMC decided to expel Environment Minister Naseer Ahamad following his decision to vote in favour of the budget at the Third Reading on December 10, 2021. The High Command of the SLMC had unanimously resolved to expel the petitioner from party membership.

At the general election conducted in the year 2020, the petitioner was elected as a Member of Parliament from the SLMC and agreed to conduct himself as a member of the opposition in line with the electoral pact of the SLMC.

The petitioner, along with several others, had signed a document as members and representatives of the SLMC in parliament pledging their loyalty to the constitution, rules, and regulations of the SLMC. It is the position of the SLMC that its High Command decided at that meeting not to vote in favour of the Appropriation Bill in Parliament. The High Command had also decided that the SLMC members could either vote against the said Appropriation Bill or abstain from voting. The SLMC has alleged that the petitioner, while holding a senior and substantial position in the party High Command, has breached the party decision.

Minister Ahamad had filed this petition in terms of Article 99 (13)(a) of the Constitution, praying for an order to set aside and invalidate the SLMC’s decisions to expel him from the party.


President’s Counsel M.A. Sumanthiran, appearing for the SLMC, submitted to court that since the petitioner has failed to show any cause as to why he breached the decision of the party and voted in favour of the Appropriation Bill, the disciplinary authority is entitled to proceed on the basis that the petitioner has no cause to show.


Justice Surasena observed that the petitioner has not only breached this solemn pledge but has also deliberately refrained from giving any explanation for his conduct.


Sanjeeva Jayawardena PC, along with Ruwantha Cooray, Rukshan Senadheera, and Punyajith Dunusinghe, appeared for the petitioner. M.A. Sumanthiran PC, Viran Corea, Anne Kulanayagam, and Divya Mascranghe appeared for the SLMC. Dr. Romesh de Silva PC, Uditha Egalahewa PC, and Kuvera de Zoysa PC appeared for other respondents.