Colombo, Dec 3 (IANS) A Sri Lankan court on Monday issued an interim order restraining former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa and members of his purported government from functioning as the Prime Minister, Cabinet and deputy ministers till the case is heard on December 12.
The Court of Appeal gave its order after 122 MPs filed a petition challenging the former President and his government’s continuation in office, Colombo Telegraph reported.
“The court considered the arguments of both sides and says that irreversible damage could be caused if persons not entitled to do so sit as Prime Minister and the Cabinet of ministers,” lawyers arguing the case said.
The court also issued notices to the 49 government ministers and Rajapaksa to appear before the court on December 12 for the hearing.
Sri Lanka has been embroiled in a political crisis since October 26 when President Maithripala Sirisena sacked Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and replaced him with Rajapaksa.
Since his appointment, Rajapaksa and his government faced two no-confidence motions.
Sirisena had rejected the results of the two votes, saying they were not conducted in a legal manner and has requested Parliament to call for a vote again on December 5.
Rajapaksa, meanwhile, called for a snap parliamentary election and said it was the only way to solve the ongoing political instability.
In a special statement released by his office, Rajapaksa invited all those who respected democracy to give a careful thought to holding a parliamentary election, as this would be the only way to end the present crisis, Xinhua news agency reported.
Rajapaksa’s party, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, organized a mass activity in Colombo on Monday afternoon with hundreds of people calling for a snap parliamentary poll.
The former President and his party have boycotted Parliament sessions since November, saying that Speaker Karu Jayasuriya was acting in favour of Wickremesinghe and his party.
They also said they would continue to boycott sessions until they were recognized as the government.