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Former President exercised plenary Executive powers: AG

Posted in Featured, S. Asia

Published on October 06, 2019 with No Comments

Appearing for the Attorney General, Senior Deputy Solicitor General of Sri Lanka Nerin Pulle told that the former president, who had signed the dual citizenship certificate of Gotabaya Rajapaksa in 2005, actually had the power to do so as the relevant minister, because he had continued to exercise being the head of the government and the executive even in absence of a cabinet at that time.

Appearing for the petitioners, Counsel Suren Fernando at the onset of the writ inquiry stated that Gotabaya Rajapaksa was a former citizen of Sri Lanka before 2003 by decent. Thereafter, on or around January 31, 2003, he had become a citizen of another country i.e. the United States of America. From that day onwards, Gotabaya Rajapaksa ceased to be a Citizen of Sri Lanka under the Citizenship Act of Sri Lanka.

Subsequently, he had to obtain a dual citizenship status by applying to the relevant Ministry, in order to obtain a new Passport and a National Identity Card, because he was no longer a citizen of Sri Lanka at that time.

Fernando stated that, thereafter, Gotabaya Rajapaksa had possibly applied for a dual citizenship certificate to the relevant Ministry during the time period November 18 – 24, 2005, soon after his brother, Mahinda Rajapaksa was elected as the President of Sri Lanka. He said that Mahinda Rajapaksa was the Prime Minister prior to him having assumed office as President of Sri Lanka in 2005 November. Therefore, upon his assuming the office of President, Mahinda Rajapaksa ceased to be a member of Parliament and ceased to be the Prime Minister of SL. (after November 18, 2005)

Upon Mahinda Rajapaksa assuming office as President soon after the election on November 18, 2005, the Cabinet of Ministers stood dissolved. According to Mr. Fernando, the new Prime Minister, Ministers and assigning of the subjects to the Ministries took place, on November 21, 23 and December 08 respectively.

So he stressed that there was no cabinet and therefore no Ministers or secretaries were functioning when Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s dual citizenship certificate was issued.

He said that the impugned dual citizenship certificate had been signed for the relevant ministerial secretary by the then President and thus such secretary cannot function by the operation of law under the constitution.

 

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