COLOMBO, Dec 3 - A Sri Lankan court on Monday barred Mahinda Rajapaksa from acting as Prime Minister, in a major setback to President Maithripala Sirisena who installed him after sacking premier Ranil Wickremesinghe that triggered a major constitutional crisis in the country.
The Court of Appeal temporarily halted Rajapaksa and his Cabinet from functioning in their positions in response to a case filed by 122 legislators against the disputed government.
The court set the hearing of the case for December 12 and 13.
�According to the interim relief, Rajapaksa and his disputed government have been prevented from acting as Prime Minister, cabinet and deputy ministers,� said a lawyer, who was present at the hearing.
He said that the court was of the opinion that �irreparable damage� could be caused if persons not entitled to do so sit as prime minister and cabinet ministers.
Reacting to the court ruling, Wickremesinghe said, �The triumph of democratic institutions over the whims of individuals is the legacy of the good governance agenda.
�We will continue to defend the sovereignty of our citizens and we stand ready to face elections in a legitimate manner in line with the constitution,� he tweeted.
As many as 122 parliamentarians of Wickremesinghe�s United National Party (UNP), Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and Tamil National Alliance last month filed a petition in the Court of Appeal challenging Rajapaksa�s authority as the prime minister.
The interim ruling was a major blow to both President Sirisena and Rajapaksa after the former had appointed his ex-rival as the prime minister on October 26, plunging the country into a major constitutional crisis. � PTI