Gotabaya blatantly violated Constitution –JJB Lawyers

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While claiming that the citizens of Sri Lanka consider Gotabaya Rajapaksa as an ousted President, Attorney-at-law Sunil Watagala said Rajapaksa never protected the Constitution of the country, but blatantly violated it.

Speaking at a media briefing held by the Jathika Jana Balawegaya (JJB) lawyers yesterday (14), Watagala said a new President can be appointed through the Parliament.

He requested the Speaker to immediately start the process of electing a new President on the basis of Gotabaya Rajapaksa not submitting the resignation, by convening the Parliament today (15).

“If a State sector employee is not reporting to work without informing the head of the department within 24 hours, the head of the department is able to terminate the employee. If not, the head of the department is responsible, he will be reproved. Likewise, the Speaker is now responsible for the current situation,” Watagala said.

He stressed that the administration worked in favor of their private lives and put the lives of innocent people in jeopardy. He added that the current situation was not created by the people of ‘Aragalaya’ but by the President and the Premier.

“The President was ousted by the people of Sri Lanka. At the same time the Speaker is not informing the public about the Presidents’ resignation. Therefore, naturally we have to admit that according to the Constitution the speaker has to appoint a new President today (15) by convening Parliament,” he said.

He stressed that appointing Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Acting President or President is not acceptable.

Also addressing the media, lawyer J.M. Wijebandara said people cannot create crises. He said the ‘Aragalaya’ was people voicing up and protesting because the rulers were failing to provide their basic needs. If the government is not able to provide the basic needs of the people, the people have the right to stand up against the government, he said.

“Protesting peacefully is not something illegal, it is the right of the common people. According to the Constitutional tradition the President must resign immediately,” he emphasised.

He also complained that the citizens were unaware of Ranil Wickremesinghe becoming the Acting President until the emergency law and curfew were declared out of blue on 13 July.

He also emphasised that no legal letter was presented to the public with regard to that.

By Aloka Kasthuriarachchi