SC decision on 20A presented to parliament
October 20, 2020 10:16 am
The secret decision of the Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of the draft bill of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution was presented to the Parliament a short while ago.
The decision was presented to the House by Speaker of the Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena.
It was referred to the Speaker on the 10th of October.
As per the decision of the Supreme Court, the draft bill is in accordance with Article 82 (1) of the Constitution and that it has to be approved with a special majority according to Article 82 (5) of the Constitution.
The draft bill must be approved by the People at a public referendum as per the Article 83 of the Constitution, since the Articles 3, 5, 14, and 22 of the Bill, as they stand, are not in accordance with the Article 3 of the Constitution which is to be read with the Article 4 of the Constitution.
However, the court has concluded that the non-compliance of Articles 3 and 14 can be removed in accordance with the proposed Committee Amendments and the non-compliance of Article 5 may be removed by making amendments as provided in the decision of the Supreme Court.
The debate on the proposed 20th Amendment will be held in Parliament on the 21st and 22nd October, as decided during the meeting of the Committee on Parliamentary Business held last Friday (16).
The draft bill of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution was tabled in Parliament on the 22nd of September after the Cabinet of Ministers gave the nod.
Subsequently, 39 petitions in total were filed against the draft bill, citing the Attorney General as the respondent.
The petitions were put forward by Election Commission member Professor Ratnajeevan Hoole, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), UNP General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, UNP Deputy Leader Ruwan Wijewardene, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Youth Wing Chairman Mayantha Dissanayake, and Attorney-at-Law P. Liyanaarachchi of the Sirilaka Janatha Peramuna, Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL), former Governor and Executive Director of the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) Ranjith Keerthi Tennakoon, human rights activist Abdul Zanoon and many others.
Ministers Nimal Siripala de Silva, Gamini Lokuge, and Prof. GL Peiris meanwhile filed interim petitions seeking permission to present cross-submissions pertaining to the petitions challenging the 20th Amendment draft bill.
In addition, MPs Sagara Kariyawasam, Venerable Omare Kassapa Thera, M. Dayaratne, W.A. Weerathilake, and P.G.B. Abeyratne had also filed interim petitions.
The Supreme Court then concluded the consideration of petitions filed challenging the draft bill on the 5th of October.