Lawyers called for the matter concerning the extent of the supervisory/supervising powers of the Supreme Court over the Parliament to be resolved in the new Constitution.

Attorney-at-Law Lal Wijenayake said that they were for the supremacy of the Constitution as opposed to the supremacy of the Parliament.

Those who went to the Supreme Court against the Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill, did so on the basis that such was not discussed in the Cabinet, he noted, adding that in this case the Supreme Court was not questioning Parliamentary procedure but the procedure in the enactment of an Act of Parliament.

“This is a tricky question that requires in-depth study. There is a previous order given by former Speaker Anura Bandaranaike when the Supreme Court tried to comment on Parliamentary procedure. The issue is whether the judiciary can intervene in the Parliament. Is this a case where the Supreme Court has judicial review over the Parliament? Can the Supreme Court question the procedures adopted in the Parliament by the legislature. Once Parliament decides and the Speaker signs, it becomes the law, after which the Supreme Court cannot do anything. This situation has led to conflicts in the past too. Should steps be taken or not taken, the new Constitution must clarify the matter,” he observed. (RLJ)