Commonwealth councils might suspend Sri Lanka

By Gayathri Gunasekara

The Lawyers Collective warned that the present political crisis will lead to a situation where Sri Lanka will be suspended from the Councils of the Commonwealth over anti-democratic actions taken by President Maithripala Sirisena.

President’s Counsel J.C. Weliamuna said if the President doesn’t restore democracy, Sri Lanka will have to face dire consequences in the near future.

“Suspension is the most serious punishment that can be administered to Members of the Commonwealth and it can be humiliating,” said Weliamuna.

The Commonwealth (Latimer House) Principles govern issues such as the harmonious balancing of power and the interaction between the Parliament, the Executive and the judiciary in democratic societies.

They set out in detail the consensus arrived at by representatives of the three branches of Government in the Commonwealth on how each of their national institutions should interrelate in the exercise of their institutional responsibility.

The Parliament shall have full control over public finance, said Weliamuna adding that the Auditor General’s Department provides an independent review of the performance and accountability of the public sector institutions and reports to the Parliament, therefore the Executive cannot pull funds out from the Department.

Weliamuna said that there are special instances when the President can withdraw funds, however, the current political crisis cannot be counted as a one.

A representative of Lawyers Collective, K.S. Rathnawel said that the current Government doesn’t have a moral right or a majority to put forward a ‘Vote on Account’.

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