27 May, 2019

Blog

Ex-Governors Gang Up Against Constitutional Reforms

Several ex-Governors have ganged up against the ongoing Constitutional reforms process, expressing their reservations saying that the reforms can seriously undermine the power and the role of the Governor. They have also said that the weakening role of the Governor could undermine the ability of the Sri Lankan State to prevent the inexorable threat to the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka, while also warning that if powers of the Governors are taken away, Sri Lanka will cease to be a unified country.

President Sirisena

President Sirisena

In a letter addressed to President Maithripala Sirisena early this month, eight ex-Governors from the Central, North Western, Southern, Eastern, Northern, North Central and Uva provinces said that after studying the recommendations recently tabled in Parliament by the sub committees appointed by the Constitutional Assembly for Constitutional reforms, they were compelled to express their reservations on some aspects as it will seriously undermine the power and the role of the Governor. “This will adversely impact on the centre periphery relations affecting the unitary nature of the State that was envisaged when the 13th Amendment was introduced to the Constitution in 1987,” they said in the letter to Sirisena.

The letter was signed by Ex Governor Central Province Tikiri Kobbekaduwa, Ex Governor North-Western Province Tissa Balalla, Ex Governor Southern Province Kumari Balasuirya, Ex Governor Eastern Province Mohan Wijewickrama, Ex Governor Northern Province G.A. Chandrasiri, Ex Governor North-Central Province Karunarathne Divulgane, Ex Governor North-Central Province Jagath Balasuriya and Ex Governor Uva Province C. Nanda Mathew.

“As per the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, Provincial Councils are autonomous bodies and derives its authority and power from the Constitution and Acts of Parliament. The functions of the Government and the Provincial Councils are clearly listed in the Ninth Schedule to the Constitution, which comprises of three lists that clearly indicate the power enjoyed by the Provincial Councils where it can make statutes (laws) applicable to that province without violating the Constitution. The Governor is appointed by the President and as such he is his representative. All executive action of the Governor is taken in the name of the President. He gives assent to the Statutes passed by the Council before they can become law,” the letter said.

The governors listed several apprehensions on the recommendation made by sub committees ;

1. The power to assent statutes adopted by a PC to be transferred to the Chairman of the Council from the Governor and the Governors power to refer any statute inconsistent with the Constitution to the Supreme Court for a determination through the President to be abolished. It has been recommended to review the Statutes by a Constitutional Court to be established.

The Constitutional Court would be outside the Court structure and will consist of seven members, not all of them necessarily be judicial officers appointed by the President on the recommendations of the Constitutional Council. The Centre will not have any control in the event of a Province making a Statute inconsistent with the Constitution and will have to solely rely on the Constitutional Court.

2. As per Article 154F of the Constitution, the Governor appoint the Chief Minister (CM) who has the support of the majority of elected members or when one political party obtains more than half of the seats in the Council the leader of that party. The Governor appoints the Provincial Board of Ministers (BOM) on the advice of the CM. The Governor shall at all times act on their advice, except where under the Constitution is required to exercise his functions or any of them in his discretion.

The ‘sub committees’ have recommended to appoint the Governor with the concurrence of the Chief Minister (CM) and will have to perform duties on the advice of the CM and provincial Board of Ministers (BOM). The power where the Governor is required to exercise at his own discretion also had been recommended to be removed. Can the Governor appointed with the recommendation of a CM be independent during a situation where the majority members in the council decides to remove or change the incumbent CM as provided in the Constitution

3. Under the 13th Amendment the Governor is required to report to the President any failure of administrative machinery as per the Article 154L of the Constitution. The ‘sub committees’ have recommended this condition to be deleted. The new recommendation is for the President and Prime Minister to make such determinations. Such determinations also will become subject to Judicial Review if challenged.

4. As per Part (IV) of the Provincial Council Act No. 42 of 1987 the Governor determines all matters relating to members of the Provincial Public Service including the formulation of schemes of recruitment and the codes of conduct for such officers. He is also the Director of Establishments for the Provincial Public Service. The ‘sub committees’ have recommended the Governor’s authority over the provincial public service especially the appointment, transfers and disciplinary control of Secretaries, Deputy Secretaries and Department Heads be carried out on the advice of BOM subjecting to the risk of politicising the public service and compromising its independency. Furthermore, by allowing the Provincial Public Services Commissions to decide on cadre needs including that of the local authorities without the approval of the Treasury will result the present uniformity adopted for all provinces and appropriating funds for salaries and emoluments.

5. The ‘sub committees’ have recommended the list of Concurrent Powers in the 9th Schedule to the Constitution that are wielded by both the Central Government and the Provincial Councils be done sway with and transferred to the Provincial Councils. To further this objective, it has been recommended that the Divisional Secretaries who now function under the District Secretaries networked with Central Government and Grama Niladaris who function under the Divisional Secretaries be placed under the authority of the Provincial Councils. The above may certainly have an impact on the development activity pursued under Ministries of the Central Government in the respective division. Consequently a whole new structure would need to be created to implement 75% of the Central Budget to implement Central Government functions.

6. At present the Governor frames the Financial Rules of the Council, which regulate activities relating to the Provincial Fund and the Emergency Fund of the Province. He causes the Annual Financial Statement to be laid before the Council after due consultation of provincial authorities with the Finance Commission. The new recommendation is to make “provincial and local spheres of government competent spending authorities”. Thus, the monitoring and utilizing of public funds in the Provinces by the Central Government through the Governor would be weakened.

“We are of the opinion that the cumulative effect of the recommendations made by the ‘sub committees’ will curtail the Executive, Fiscal and Administrative powers that are currently exercised by and/or associated with the Governor who will be transformed to a nominal head. The President or the Cabinet of Ministers will no longer be able to exercise power in a Province through the Governor when the need arises. Some of the recommendations made by the sub committees if incorporated to the Constitution would make the Province as distinct and as independent of the Centre as possible; an arrangement that would dismantle the present Unitary character of Sri Lanka and make it operationally Federal,” the letter said.

The ex-Governors noted that Sri Lanka’s system of devolution is modelled on that of India and the Governors of the Indian states have exactly the same powers as the provincial Governors in Sri Lanka. It is through the role of the Governor that the provinces are bound to the centre. “If the powers of the Governors are taken away, Sri Lanka will cease to be a unified country,” they said.

“In view of the above, it is our considered opinion that weakening the role of the Governor and who is the appointed Provincial representative of the President – the Commander-in-Chief – to the point of only being a “nominal head”, would undermine the ability of the Sri Lankan State to prevent the inexorable threat to the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka,” the letter added.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 7
    11

    !3th amendment is one amendment carried out without informing either the people or the Members of the parliament. Abolish the 13th amendment first and then, ban the caste discrimination.

    • 7
      3

      This clearly shows that Sinhala racists will never agree to any fair solution according to International norms. It is time for international community to intervene and save Tamils from these Sinhala terrorists.

      • 0
        2

        Dr GS

        What do you think International community will suggest on the Sinhala requirement of relocating Tamils(Tamil speaking people) into Tamil homeland?

        Soma

  • 20
    2

    Probably Ex-Governors Ganged Up Against Constitutional Reforms on the request of the President himself. He is yearning to keep the Executive Presidency intact and become the president for the second consecutive term in 2020. He is LIAR who will not keep to promises.

    • 4
      1

      Daham

      “Presidency intact and become the president for the second consecutive term in 2020. He is LIAR who will not keep to promises.”

      Sirisena has earned the Titles of Turncoat, Traitor, Gona (Whore), Mala-Peretaya ( Eating off the dead), ans Sevalaya ( Sleaze) to the 6.2 million who voted for him.

  • 17
    3

    Ex-Governors Gang Up Against Constitutional Reforms

    They had it so good being the Governors (modern day kings under Chakravartin)they would anything to stop democratisation of this island, particularly the war criminals.

  • 14
    2

    ‘Ex-Governors’ means past governors (including the Jarapaksa family and his Mafia)who helped to drag this lovely island nation and it’s economy into this sorry state. They are not in control anymore,thanks to ‘Ven.Sobitha’, the ‘National Movement for a Just Society’ (NMJS),the brave Sri Lankan working class people and the minority population who voted for the change. The future of Sri Lanka will be decide by the ordinary hard working citizens and the well informed and educated youth of the island. There is no turning back and let the wingers and whiners do what ever they like.

  • 3
    10

    If expressing an alternate opinion in unison by a group of responsible citizens is defined as ganging up, God save Sri Lanka.

    Sri Lanka has a history of not allowing to air alternative opinion, and it is this culture that is the root cause of most of our problems. Unfortunately even independent websites such as CT appear to indirectly promote this culture when certain actions are not to their liking.

    It is important to consider all shades of opinion, whether we like it or not, at least during constitutional reforms to avoid disasters like JRJs Constitution that has been already ammended almost twenty times.

    • 8
      2

      “If expressing an alternate opinion in unison by a group of responsible citizens”
      My dear Gamarala, remember the day you took the whole village to heaven with you holding on to someone’s tail?. What happened to all of you when you tried to show your villagers the size of something in heaven?. We don’t want to take that route again, following a bunch of ‘IRRESPONSIBLE’ losers or do we? I bet they are united as they were all in it together earlier. You are not a de-coy for the ‘Gramasewaka’ I hope.

    • 12
      1

      Ex-Governors were ‘responsible citizens’? You must be joking. They were a bunch of joy riders of white elephants, to say the least. Were they elected to control the elected representatives. To be truthful the PCs would have done much more to their areas and to the needy if not for these unelected viceroys, with few exceptions.

      The Intended erosion of the power of governors in the new constitution that they are worried about.

      Let the country give importance to the elected representatives, but, there must be some check on the candidates who want to contest elections. They must be educationally qualified, of good character, shouldn’t have involved in illegal activities such as money laundering, corruptions. No person in power can employ anyone else from his family to the high ranking jobs. They must also declare their assets prior to elections and every year once elected.

      • 3
        8

        Whether we like it or not they were governers of provinces and probably through their office they have experiences that you and I may not have.

        My point was that they have a right to express their opinion just like you and me. To phrase it as ganging up was pretty dissapointing.

        This is the difference between West and most Eastern countries. The West allow people to express their opinion whether they like it or not while the East try to block such expression.

        There lies the secret of lack of people’s uprising in the West.

        • 3
          1

          Gamarala:

          These Governors had their bread spread with butter on both sides. They should not be even expressing their opinion in this manner as theirs was only a nominated post, not elected. Then why have elections, elected reps and an elected assembly. They (the EX Governors) should not poke their nose into something they have no business. They are part of a dark chapter of history when scant regard to the voices of the common people meant nothing. Rightly they should be consigned to the archives. If a vibrant and functionary democracy, these puppets of autocratic leaders have no place. Period.

          • 3
            0

            My point is irrespective of whether they did a proper job or not, they should still have a right to express their views.

            Nobody has a right to gag another. That is true freedom of expression. When we dont have freedom of expression there’s dissent. This is the root cause of unrest in SL.

            • 1
              0

              Gamarala:

              Of course, I agree – they do have an inalienable right to express their views.

              • 1
                0

                Unfortunately some people are not different to Rajapaksa’s in their perceptions and thinking. With such people Sri Lanka does not need enimies.

                Irrespective of the rhetoric they deserve only leaders like MR.

  • 12
    1

    What else could we expect? They yet have the after-taste of the power they enjoyed! Their experience or thoughts do not count. Further, they were all MR appointees.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

  • 8
    1

    Ex-Governer with military uniform did many damages to the people of NP. He used his arrogant secretary to stop money donated by foreign NGOs, for example, Buddhist Fellowship of Singapore going to school in poor area. His reign as viceroy is over now, why is he barging on now that the monarch of master of corruptions and money laundering has also ended.

    He looked after himself and his cronies at the expense of the down trodden. He arranged many extravagant parties to his fellow governors and dined and wined.

  • 7
    1

    These Governors, MR type of people will survive and cheat people as long as we produce many fools (in Tamil ilicha vaayan) to support them. See how many fools are supporting in this forum. So it is not their fault to protest, wind-up monks to protest etc. When majority of srilankans wake-up, the country will prosper and this type of people will disappear – until then there is no hope. Wise people immigrate to green countries, the rest perish.

  • 8
    1

    Most of the Ex Governors are Rajapakse fans. It does not matter who opposes, people elected the Yahapalana Govt as it promised a new constitution. So Mr. President and Mr. PM deliver what you promised.

  • 8
    1

    Ex governers are gangsters of ex President Mahinda Rajapakse who was the master of Corruption and will do everything for his Family Power. Mahinda thought he was the King and ex governors thought they were the kings of Regions.

  • 5
    0

    Yes all these Ex governors were and continue to do the bidding of their Ex master by the name of Percy Mahendra (aka Mahinda) Rajapaksa.May be they are still dreaming that Rajapaksa would be back in power and they could once again enjoy all the perks and luxuries of living a Governor’s life of absolute luxury ,while the poor man on the street suffers.

    The title of the article is very misleading.Not All ex Governors have signed.For example the former diplomat and good former Governor of the Northern Province H.M.G.S. Palihakara’s name is not there at all.May be this is an oversight.

  • 4
    0

    All the Ex Governors referred in the artcle were appointed as Governors By President Mahinda Rajapakse and removed by Maithripala Senanyake after he assumed duties as President.

    The Ex Governor Mohan Wijewicrama a retired Navy officer was the last Governor of the Northeast province and the first Governor of the demerged Eastern Province whereas G.A.Chandrasiri, a retired army officer was Governor Northern Province.

    Whatever it may be since they were Governors for a considerable period of time their observations deserve serious consideration.
    The governors listed several apprehensions on the recommendation made by sub committees,but In this response I will refer only to the first point

    “The power to assent statutes adopted by a PC to be transferred to the Chairman of the Council from the Governor and the Governors power to refer any statute inconsistent with the Constitution to the Supreme Court for a determination through the President to be abolished. It has been recommended to review the Statutes by a Constitutional Court to be established.

    The Constitutional Court would be outside the Court structure and will consist of seven members, not all of them necessarily be judicial officers appointed by the President on the recommendations of the Constitutional Council. The Centre will not have any control in the event of a Province making a Statute inconsistent with the Constitution and will have to solely rely on the Constitutional Court”

    Obviously this entire paragraph refers to 154H of13A.

    The bill becomes an Act, once it is passed by Parliament and certified by the Speaker and the President has no role at all. Similar provision for the Provincial Council is anathema for the Ex Governors. They insist that it is not the Chairman of the Provincial assembly, but the governors themselves must assent to prevent the Province making any inconsistent statute.

    Do the Military Governors have legal expertise to ascertain whether a statute is consistent or inconsistent.

    The Governors have prejudged that the Judges of the Constitutional Courts appointed by the President with the recommendation of the constitutional council will be ineffective.

    It is interesting to note that the subcommittee has recommended that all Bills and Statutes will go before the Constitutional Courts before and after enactment and our ex Governors have expressed no confident in the Constitutional Courts and only the Governors will safeguard inconstant statutes from being enacted.

    And the Ex Governors believe that the national security could be safeguarded only by the vigilant Governors and not by anybody else.and only the powerful governors will safeguard and prevent the terrorists from Dismantling the unitary state by bringing in inconsistant statutes.

    n

  • 0
    0

    Reducing Presidwntial powers dilutr its unitary caharacter. Abolishing provincial councils will increase it. Power can be devolved to the pradeshiya saba. Strenthening the fundemental rights chapter will ensure justice. The judiciary to should be given greater powers. We can learn much from the British constitution. Many laws can be linked to the fundemental rights chapter. The constitution should be secular while it should contain buddhist Dharma as its core value. the west ties up its constitution to the dhamma in the bi8ble.

  • 0
    0

    No one go against any reform. They all against to bring new constitution. As usual you read news papers after all incidents were happened but, look like this time read incorrectly.

  • 0
    0

    Ha ha pls take a look at these past Governors almost all are Rajapaksha stooges with the exception of Tikiri Uncle so what sense can u accept from them

    their opinion is equal to asking K A Sumanasekera to teach Law at the Colombo Campus ha ha ha ha

  • 0
    0

    This country will never progress.The politicians, the Buddhist priests do not want to looses their privileges.

    There is one silver lining in the clouds.The removal of the rock at Hambantot is going to cause adverse reactions to the territory of the country South East belt. The South Eastern stretch will get washed out as at Beruwala- Hikkaduwa and the reported erosion along the Bambalapitiya _ Wellawatte stretch.The silver lining is that the children of Dutugemunu will have to seek solace, when their lands get washed away among the Eastern Province ( tamils + Muslims) Northern Province ( Tamils) Central province ( tamils) They cannot move northward from Hambantata as the Uma Oya project will be an obstacle.
    They will have to live with the Tamils and Muslims, that may be the beginning of ability of the Children of Dutugemunu to leave in peace.

  • 0
    0

    The proposed New constitutional by UNP led political coalition are behind that dismantle unitary character of Sri Lankan state.

    We principally an opposed Federal Constitution proposed by UNP,TNA and JVP political coalition.

  • 0
    0

    How much was earned by them during Jarapaksha regime? How did Davulganey become a Governor? He sang for his supper? MR cronies are shameless always. GL drafted this letter they kept their paws…bringing shame on mother lanka.

  • 0
    1

    Ex governess have argued clearly and presented the scenario should the proposed constitution is adopted. Well publicized this document alone is sufficient to defeat the proposed Constitution at the referendum.

    Soma

  • 0
    1

    Further to my earlier comment,Now shall we look at No 2 of the Governors submission.

    Only change proposed to 154F in the Sub- committee report is the introduction of the phrase “the concurrence of the Chief Minister”. Still the Governors are appointed by the President.

    What is the ground for Ex governors objections?

    The subcommittee on Center- periphery relations does not recommend deleting Governors discretion.

    on the contrary what the recommendation -2 of the sub- Committee is reproduced below in full,

    “It is recommended that the Governor should be a nominal head, who should be Constitutionally required to act on the advice of the Chief Minister and Board of Ministers, save and except in so far as he is Constitutionally required to act in his discretion”

    Why the ex Governors supposed to be Honorable while in office are shamelessly trying to mislead His Excellency the PRESIDENT?

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.