Thursday, Nov 06, 2003
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By V.S. Sambandan
Conventionally, Sri Lankan Executive Presidents have held the Defence portfolio, but after the 2001 Parliamentary elections, the Sri Lankan President, Chandrika Kumaratunga, gave that portfolio to Tilak Marapone, a Minister of the United National Front. Over the past 18 months, Ms. Kumaratunga had raised concerns over the security situation and said the Government was turning a blind eye to the LTTE activities.
On Tuesday, Ms. Kumaratunga, exercising her constitutional powers, took control of three Ministries including Defence and Interior.
In addition to plenary powers, the court's determination was sought if amendments by the Defence Minister to existing regulations on retirement had "interfered'' with the President's powers.
On this question, the Supreme Court in its 14-page determination said the Defence Minister had "no legal authority to amend the existing regulations under the Army, Navy and Air Force Acts'' and that the changes made were "ultra vires, invalid and of no force or avail in law''.
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