20A Draft Bill to be tabled in Parliament today | Sunday Observer

20A Draft Bill to be tabled in Parliament today

22 September, 2020

The Draft Bill of the 20th Amendment to amend the Constitution is due to be tabled in Parliament today for the First Reading. Any citizen may petition against the Bill after it is tabled thus. The idea of this will be to challenge the Constitutionality of it before the Supreme Court, the law academics yesterday told the Daily News.

If nobody petitions against it, the 20th Amendment Bill may be taken for a Second Reading in Parliament for debate. This will be the start of the legislative process.

“Should any party petition against the draft bill pending its constitutionality, then the Supreme Court shall deliver its ruling about that within three weeks from the day that the petition has been filed,” the sources said.

In that case, the Legislature cannot take any action on the draft bill, until the Supreme Courts give its determination with respect to the petitions.

“After the Supreme Court has given its decision, a second reading may be taken on the outlines of the bill (20 A) in Parliament, which would be the stage of the legislative process,” sources said.

A vote will be taken at the end of the second reading which should be approved by a two- thirds majority in Parliament, after which the working committee stage takes place. The outlines of the bill are taken one by one here for consideration. The members may propose amendments to the draft during this process.

A Third Reading will follow on the 20th Amendment after that. A two thirds majority vote will be required at this stage as well. The 20th Amendment will become law once the Speaker signs it,

As pointed out by Education Minister and law Professor G.L.Peiris, the 20th Amendment will give back powers to the President that have been denied him by the 19th Amendment.

According to him these powers have been denied to the President in contravention of the Constitution, when powers of the President are very clear in the Constitution.” The executive power of the people, including the defense of Sri Lanka, shall be exercised by the President of the Republic elected by the People,” he said addressing a gathering in Kandy. Political critic, Constitutional law expert and Presidential Counsel Dr. Jayatissa De Costa yesterday said that 19 th Amendment had triggered chaos and created major security lapses in the country including the Easter Sunday terrorist during the previous Sirisena-Ranil regime, because it deprived the executive President of the powers he was entitled to.

He said the 10-member Constitutional Council and so called Independent Commissions had dispossessed the President’s powers, which the 20th Amendment must install.

“The kind of change that the people voted in President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the government for,will take place in about a month from now once the 20th Amendment is passed in Parliament,” he said.

The 20th Amendment will require approval of no less than 150 members in Parliament, which the government has, and the enactment of the bill is a matter of time, although Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa is at the ready to oppose it with what he calls “19th plus programme,” which is set to mislead the public for petty political gain.

“The change people wanted,” he said,” cannot happen until those anti-Sinhala, anti-Buddhist and extremist lobbyists stationed in the independent councils are removed and a new Constitutional Council is appointed to monitor the affairs of the Independent Commissions.”