18 September, 2019

Blog

Government Considering Amending The Thirteenth Amendment Before NP Elections

Caught between its promises to India and the international community to hold elections to the Northern Provincial Council in September 2013 on the one hand and certain defeat at the hands of the Tamil Nationalist Alliance on the other, the Rajapaksa Government is now mulling an amendment to the Constitution to take away some of the powers of Provincial Councils, the Colombo Telegraph understands. According to Government sources, the proposed amendment will make far reaching changes to the Thirteenth Amendment.

Rajapaksa

Under the Thirteenth Amendment, if a Bill on a subject devolved on Provincial Councils is to be passed by Parliament, the Bill has to be referred to all Provincial Councils for their views. If all Provincial Councils agree, then the Bill can be passed by a simple majority. However, if one or more Provincial Councils do not agree, then the Bill must be passed by a two-thirds majority if it is to apply to the provinces which did not agree. If passed only by a simple majority, the Bill will be law only in the provinces that have agreed.

It may be recalled that several Bills of the Rajapaksa Government on provincial subjects were rejected by Provincial Councils including Councils controlled by the UPFA. The Government is worried that with a TNA-controlled Provincial Council in place, other Councils, especially the Eastern Provincial Council, would follow the Northern Provincial Council and not agree to government Bills. As such, the new amendment would provide that a Bill on a provincial subject will become law applicable to the whole country, if a majority of Provincial Councils agree to the passing of the Bill. The Government is confident that Provincial Councils other than the Northern and Eastern Provincial Councils can be pressurized into supporting any Bill.

Another amendment being considered relates to Police powers. Although Police powers have been devolved to a certain extent by the Thirteenth Amendment, Provincial Councils are unable to exercise those powers as the Police Commission Act, No. 1 of 1990 which provides for the establishment of a National Police Commission and a Provincial Police Commission for each province has still not been brought into operation by successive Governments. Police powers will be completely taken back to the central government or limited to minor offences, Government sources told Colombo Telegraph.

At present, Provincial Councils have certain powers over State land. Under paragraph 1:3 of Appendix II of the Thirteenth Amendment, alienation or disposition of State land within a Province to any citizen or to any organisation shall be by the President but only on the advice of the relevant Provincial Council. It may be recalled that in the case filed against the former President, Chandrika Kumaratunga, for transferring state land to Water’s Edge Golf Company, one of the grounds on which the Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Sarath Silva held that the transfer was illegal was that the advice of the Western Provincial Council had not been given. The Government is now considering deleting the requirement of advice and also taking back many other land powers devolved.

However, the Rajapaksa government is worried that the required two-thirds majority will not be forthcoming in the new political climate. The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress is already under severe pressure from the Muslim community to withdraw from the Government because of the Government’s reluctance to deal with extremists who are fuelling anti-Muslim hatred. Muslims also believe that the newly formed extremist Buddhist organizations have the covert support of the Government. Further, the SLMC would find it extremely difficult to agree to a dilution of the powers of Provincial Councils. The Government may also find it difficult to get the Left parties to support such an amendment. At the vote on the impeachment of Chief Justice Bandaranayake, the Secretary General of the SLMC and three MPs of the Left parties, all Cabinet Ministers, did not vote with the Government.

However, the Government is exploring the possibility of getting a few more UNP MPs to join the Government “to strengthen the hands of the President”, Government sources stated.

Colombo Telegraph –

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    now, repeat after me: “we are free. we are a free nation. we have democracy- we, the people control the country and its future.”

    • 0
      0

      What a fucking Banana Republic!

  • 0
    0

    This could be another turning point in SL political history. There are too many eyes on this election and the council to be created. If the govt. cheats or if it creates a council that is in a straight jacket from birth it will tell the world community that its practically impossible for the North to work with the center. In other words as long as Tamils are a minority they will be discriminated.

    Then we are looking at a replay of Yoguslovia. If the IC found a solution to that minority they are morally responsible to give the same or similar solution to Tamils.

    • 0
      0

      Ha… Ha…. Ha..

      Tamils are going to get their country, after all.

  • 0
    0

    The Rajapakse Junta has to survive at any cost.
    They will even remodel the constitution with the slavish 2/3 majority who cannot afford to lose the good life they enjoy as “Yes Men”.
    If only muslims pull out and destroy the 2/3 majority,will there be a chance for a little bit of democracy to flourish.
    But muslim parliamentarians too have become slaves and will not budge even with all the thuggery heaped on their bretheren
    But firstly,a free and fair election must take place.

  • 0
    0

    Anti democratic legislation. Cannot have the cake and eat the cake. Cake has to be shared by all the people not only the center. As always scared to let go of power.

  • 0
    0

    This wont happen, the author is just trying to hard to present a story

  • 0
    0

    I agree with the proposed amendment one. If the central government failed to obtain the consent of one/any PC, the central government can not enforce that particular piece of legislation on them. This is stupid. This should be removed. The rest of the issues highlighted should be retain as a matter of power devolution.

    • 0
      0

      How idiot are you Jay! No wonder why Srilanka had seen such blood shell in last 60 years.

      • 0
        0

        You idiot, consider the physical size of our country. We cannot have different autonomies within this small stretch of land. Democracy is majority view according to westminster model, if majority of PC agrees there should be provisioned to implement across the PCs. You guys are try to create progressively an Eelam. Go to TN and fight for your rights.

        • 0
          0

          Even countries smaller than Srilanka has participating governments, when world thrives on much local self governance, you stand for autocratic regime.

        • 0
          0

          @Jay

          You are the prize idiot and NOT manisekaran. Switzerland’s land area is just 41,285 square km…much smaller than Silly Lanka. Switzerland is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons.
          65.6% Speak German
          22.8% Speak French
          8.4% Speak Italian
          and 0.6% Speak Romansh

          By calling a federal referendum a group of citizens may challenge a law that has been passed by Parliament, if they can gather 50,000 signatures against the law within 100 days. If so, a national vote is scheduled where voters decide by a simple majority whether to accept or reject the law. Eight cantons together can also call a referendum on a federal law.

          Similarly, the federal constitutional initiative allows citizens to put a constitutional amendment to a national vote, if they can get 100,000 voters to sign the proposed amendment within 18 months.

          Switzerland is one of the most peaceful and developed countries in the world, because none of it’s 65.6% German speaking citizens goes around claiming that Switzerland belongs only to them…and nor do they try to marginalise the French, Italian and Romansh speaking minorities.

          If the majority in Silly Lanka learnt to “Bedaa genna kanna” instead of “Badaa genna kanna” like they have been doing for the past 65 years we would never have had all these problems that we are now faced with.

          • 0
            0

            Why do you take Switzerland to compare with ?

            It is the richest country in Europe.

          • 0
            0

            Thanks for supporting your cohort. You two have displayed the level of your idiocy. The issue in Sri Lanka is of dividing the country based on ethnicity. If Sri Lanka is a homogeneous in terms of ethnicity (having a good “mix of demography”)then there shouldn’t be any conflicts. I do not know why the policy of D S Senanayake wasn’t continued forming “Janapada” in North and East to prevent the current issue.

            As I suggested we should bring two levels of governance Parliament (headed by PM) and upper house (Senate). The election of members to senate should be based on the inverse proportion to number of votes so that the minority values and aspirations are retained and not destroyed.

            • 0
              0

              Again stupid Jay. Take country like India, they all have states of local governance with linguistic and going well for last 4 years.Even in china , they are based on certain local ethnic identity. As long as you stand for unitary state, these problems will not be resolved for ever.

            • 0
              0

              Read it as “40” years..

  • 0
    0

    Whittling away further on the 13th amendment will be disastrous.It is the bare minimum already to be given if we are embarking on the decentralization path.Instead of emasculating it further and further it would be better if the government openly states it does not want decentralization in this country and wants to continue on the path of centralization as followed after independence until the indo lanka accord in 1987.Unilaterally abrogate the accord,face the wrath of India and the international community,instead of playing these silly games.

    You can play games with others only if they also want to play with you.Otherwise play with yourself and get isolated from the rest.

    • 0
      0

      shankar are you the same person who was in a hilarious best in dbsjeyraj website?

  • 0
    0

    Not to worry the muslims have no shame. They will cling on. The leftist do not have any shame either. If all else fails they can find some dirty and desperate UNPer to cross over for money.

    • 0
      0

      Mark…. mark you toungue, as it has no viens! Those who have to be ashamed are the two thirds in the Parliament and some spineless opp. members. Ordinary citizens, be them Sinhala,tamil,muslim or burgher are for unity and peace.

    • 0
      0

      Mark, What do you think of all those high jumpers, pole vaulters, muderers’,kidnappers’embezellers etc’ etc, who now the honourables’ providing the 2/3 vitamin! by the way, please account for the ethnic ratio as vitamin a,b.c and d because all added make the tonic.!

  • 0
    0

    Don’t count om Left and Muslim parties to oppose the amendment. Having abstained on the motion for impeachment, Tissa Vitarana told the LSSP Central Committee that it was a mistake. Vasu will also find some reason. Only DEW will oppose. Hakeem is scared of MR and his inaction will one day split the SLMC. People in the East are furious.

  • 0
    0

    The northern people have been taught and they indeed learned quite a lot from those lessons in the past. Surely they will not bite this bait (13th amendment). Now the Northern people are like old dogs. You cant teach them new tricks.

  • 0
    0

    A person by name called Dr R Narendran tirelessly has been writing articles and comments hoping that SL government will aid in steps for meaningful devolution of powers and he even insisted the paradigm shift needed in the minds of both side. And there were few hypocrites supporting his views as correct path and replying aplenty with silly sentences. Finally here is the article highlighting what is in platter of the wolves to offer. As I firmly believe , neither Srilankan government nor majority sinhalese is sincere in any meaningful power sharing.. so finally what is the solution left? A separate country for tamils to rule themselves.. and I hope, India and IC sees this and mends it way to referendum.

    • 0
      0

      Unable to satisfy the aspirations of Tamils, even in India Tamils are not governing but lobbying for their rights. Therefore how much of autonomy is given they will not be satisfied. Better to dissolve the PC structural governance and bring a Parliament (held by a prime minister) and a Senate as before – prior to 1972

      • 0
        0

        now i understand who you are. I dont argue with people of your nature

        (Last reply)

        • 0
          0

          manisekaran

          Why aren’t you focusing on human rights violations and war crimes committed by India and Sikh, Muslim victims of the past and the victims of IPKF?

          Go help them.

          • 0
            0

            They all happened when I was at school, i fight for rights of highest priority now.

  • 0
    0

    This is mere threat that is held to put INDIA in its place along with
    the CHINA card. No further action will be possible with the IC
    getting into the Game.

  • 0
    0

    My God our Muslim MPs, you are day dreaming, they would stay put with Rajaksa & Co, licking their boots to enjoy the good life. They wouldn’t give a dame to the community. The Muslims are waiting to teach them a lesson at the next election. They are bunch of dirty and greedy fellows who sell the Muslims for the positions and perks.

    They don’t have any feelings for the Muslims and the country, only they want is power by any means to enjoy it.

  • 0
    0

    Some lost their lives and their respect to safeguard this 13th Amendment.With the holy 2/3rd, we have being shown the rope or noose by which we are going to be dangled.This nothing new. They will have many more amendments no doubt, byt how many honest, free and transparent elections will we have ? with the EC commisioner bragging that he is not influenced by anyone, the wait is worth.

  • 0
    0

    13A should be abrogated not amended. Provincial Councils should be replaced with District Councils which was also the proposal of the SLFP to the APC. With what is happening in Tamil Nadu and the Diaspora the Eelam project has been reawakened. It will be foolish to provide a platform through Provincial Councils to attain Eelam.

    • 0
      0

      Why not add a letter “n” to your pseudo name which will mean something in the Tamil language? appropriate to your comment.

  • 0
    0

    The majority of Sri Lankans agree that the clauses relating to Police Powers and land powers require amendments. It is advisable to make some concessions such as specifying the preference for people of the area in recruiting police personnel to the lower ranks. A similar concession is required in the allocation of land with veto power being exercised by the Governor to ensure that such allocations are carried out in a manner consistent with the constitution.

    The Government must also have the power to do what is right and providing the Government the power to do act, if a majority of Provincial Councils agree to the action is a satisfactory compromise.

    Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely! If the Rajapaksa government is worried that the required two-thirds majority will not be forthcoming in the new political climate, it is a very good development. I hope the Government will correct the recent mistakes, that has badly dented the popularity of the Government.

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.