Colombo (LNW): The Supreme Court today (12) commenced hearing a Fundamental Rights (FR) petition by Ministers Manusha Nanayakkara and Harin Fernando, over the decision by the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) to oust them from the Party for joining the government.
Justices Vijith Malalgoda, Achala Vengappuli and Arjuna Obeysekera presided over the proceedings.
Representing Minister Nanayakkara, Faiszer Musthapha PC argued to the judges that the primary opposition’s choice to suspend his client’s party membership was wholly unlawful.
According to the party’s constitution, he pointed out that only the Working Committee holds the authority to remove party members. He highlighted that neither the Party Leadership nor the Disciplinary Committee possess such powers.
The Disciplinary Committee’s sole responsibility is to bring charges against and investigate members who breach the party’s constitution, Musthapha emphasised.
He noted that despite Nanayakkara securing an injunction from the district court against a membership suspension, he was still dismissed from the SJB based on a notice from its general secretary.
Furthermore, Musthapha argued that the Supreme Court’s previous ruling supporting the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress’ (SLMC) choice to remove Minister Naseer Ahamed from the party does not apply to this situation.
The next hearing of the petition, which cites Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa and SJB’s General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara as respondents, has been scheduled for October 24, 2023.