23 October, 2020

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The 20th Amendment Bill – Lest We Forget 

By Nihal Jayawickrama

Dr. Nihal Jayawickrama

Strident calls were repeatedly made from many quarters for the 19th Amendment to the Constitution to be repealed. Some argued that it should be repealed in its entirety, while others pleaded for the retention of some of its provisions. What has been overlooked is that there is no 19th Amendment capable of being amended or repealed. It does not exist. It has not existed since 15th May 2015 when the 19th Amendment Bill, having been debated and passed in Parliament, was certified by the Speaker. Indeed, none of the previous eighteen amendments to the Constitution exist today. Therefore, the 19th Amendment cannot be repealed, whether in its entirety or partially. What we do have is the Constitution of 1978 which has been amended nineteen times. 

The 19th Amendment

Some of the amendments incorporated in the Constitution by the 19th Amendment were admittedly flawed. For example, the Constitutional Council was intended to enable community participation in the appointment processes at the highest levels of the judiciary and of independent commissions. However, at the committee stage of the debate, Parliament decided that the 10-member Council should be composed of seven parliamentarians instead of seven “persons of eminence and integrity who have distinguished themselves in public or professional life and who are not members of any political party”. Five years later, the Council thus constituted still functions on an ad hoc basis, having failed to formulate the procedures for the transaction of its business, as required by the Constitution. Another defective provision is the three-member Elections Commission, with the quorum also fixed at three, with a proviso that the Commission may function in the absence of the Chairman, “with a member elected by the members present from amongst themselves presiding at such meeting”. Equally incomprehensible is the requirement for the President to act on the advice of the Prime Minister when appointing Ministers, but not when appointing Secretaries to their Ministries.

It was, however, one single transitional provision inserted into the Constitution at the instance of the majority SLFP and its leader, the then President, that made good governance impossible. That provision read as follows:

“Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the Constitution, the person holding office as President on the date of commencement of this Act, so long as he holds the Office of President may assign to himself the subjects and functions of Defence, Mahaweli Development and Environment and determine the Ministries to be in his charge for that purpose.”

The 19th Amendment transformed the office of President, which was previously vested with absolute executive power, into a constitutional Head of State who was required to act on the advice of the Prime Minister and the Constitutional Council in respect of his constitutional functions. It also required the Cabinet of Ministers to be drawn only from among Members of Parliament. Nevertheless, this transitional provision empowered President Sirisena, who was not a Member of Parliament, to appoint himself as a Minister, and to hold three Ministries including the vitally important one of Defence. It was a recipe for disaster, which led not only to regular conflicts between the leaders of the coalition government, but also to the tragic April 21st massacre. The 20th Amendment Bill does not seek to address any of these or other deficiencies. Instead it seeks to restore the original 1978 Constitution. 

The 1978 Constitution

The 20th Amendment Bill, introduced by the SLPP/SLFP coalition government, seeks to restore in its entirety the 1978 Constitution of President J.R. Jayewardene, the leader of the UNP, drafted by President J.R. Jayewardene, for President J.R. Jayewardene. He described that Constitution as being “in accord with the Basic Principles accepted by the 1975 Party Sessions of the United National Party”. It is that Constitution, which was emphatically and vehemently opposed by the SLFP, together with the LSSP and the TULF, which the present SLPP/SLFP government now proposes to revive.

In the National State Assembly, on 3 August 1978, when the draft Bill for the 1978 Constitution was presented, the leader of the SLFP, Mrs Sirimavo Bandaranaike, recalled what she had predicted when the Second Amendment to the 1972 Constitution sought to confer on Prime Minister J.R. Jayewardene the powers of both President and Prime Minister:

I said that that amendment will set our country on the road to dictatorship, and that there will be no way of turning back. I warned that once that amendment became part of the Constitution, the erosion of the democratic process will not only be inevitable, it may also be irreversible.

She continued:

It has taken this Government and this Assembly barely ten months to reach the end of that road. Within a matter of days, or perhaps even of hours, the last remaining lamp of freedom will be snuffed out. The events of the past few months are reminiscent of the last days of the Weimar Republic when Adolf Hitler, using the constitutional process, rapidly destroyed the foundations of the constitutional state. He too combined in his person the powers of President and Chancellor, and then transformed by constitutional amendment a federal democracy into a centralized autocracy under the direct control of the Fuhrer. He, too, relied on a massive mandate which he had received at a plebiscite, and insidiously removed every constitutional protection contained in the Constitution of the Weimar Republic until finally the only political sanction that remained in Germany was the despot’s whim.

The office of President under the 1978 Constitution was vested with absolute power and was placed above the law and beyond the reach of the courts. With a parliamentary majority of over two-thirds of the membership, President Jayewardene proceeded, as Mrs Bandaranaike had predicted, to entrench an executive led and controlled system of government and thereby further extend the frontiers of his autocratic control. 

* The first step was to reconstitute the Judiciary by removing eight Judges of the Supreme Court and relegating four others to a lower court and removing five Judges of the High Court as well. They were replaced with Judges who satisfied the new criterion for judicial office: “political acceptability”.  Successive Presidents made their own unique contribution towards creating a docile, deferential, and subservient judiciary, thereby enhancing the reach of the enormous powers already vested in the President.

* The next step was to dismantle the Opposition. With the willing assistance of three handpicked Judges serving on a presidential commission of inquiry, civic disabilities were imposed on the leader of the largest Opposition party. She was expelled from Parliament and prohibited from engaging in political activity for a period of seven years. The Commission held that she had “abused and/or misused” her powers by declaring a state of emergency in 1971 and continuing it for longer than they (the Judges) considered it necessary”. Her “political assassination” was preceded by similar measures against a former senior Cabinet Minister and the former Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Justice. 

* Finally, Parliament was reduced to a cipher. When its normal term of office ended, the Constitution was amended and a “rigged” referendum was conducted to give it a second term without resorting to a general election. In exchange, the President requested and obtained undated letters of resignation from all the 144 members of the government parliamentary party which he could, and did, use whenever he chose to, thereby instantly terminating the parliamentary life of those members who had fallen out of favour. It was also popularly believed that among the President’s other possessions were personal files containing highly incriminatory matter relating to the financial activities of several of his ministers and many of his parliamentary members. 

In the 37 years that an “Executive President” reigned over Sri Lanka, an almost unbridgeable gap was created between political parties and between ethnic groups. The country was torn asunder, and its people were brutalized. The President became the supreme source of patronage in the Republic. Corruption was entrenched, and judicial integrity, particularly at the highest levels of the judicial hierarchy, became all but non-existent. It is that system of governance that the 20th Amendment Bill seeks to revive and install.

The 20th Amendment Bill

The 20th Amendment Bill seeks to restore to the office of President all the powers which President J.R. Jayewardene enjoyed under the 1978 Constitution, but which were either repealed or modified by the 19th Amendment. Among them are the following;

1. Article 35: No action of the President, either in his official or private capacity may be questioned in any court. (The 19th Amendment enabled an official act of the President to be challenged in the Supreme Court if it infringed a fundamental right by instituting proceedings against the Attorney General. An example was President Sirisena’s 2018 illegal appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister and subsequent illegal dissolution of Parliament. The repeal of this entitlement of the citizen may require approval at a referendum since it infringes the fundamental right to a remedy).

2. Chapter VIIA: The President shall appoint the Chief Justice and other Judges of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal. He shall have the power to appoint and remove the Attorney-General, Auditor-General, the Ombudsman, the Secretary-General of Parliament, and all the Independent Commissions including the Elections Commission and the Judicial Service Commission. (The Constitution now requires him to obtain the “approval” of the Constitution Council before making these appointments. That institution is to be replaced with a “Parliamentary Council”, a token body which may only make “observations” on proposed appointments).

3. Articles 44-47: The President chooses, appoints, and removes Ministers, including the Prime Minister. (Under the Constitution now, it is the Prime Minister who chooses MPs for appointment as Ministers, and it is only on the advice of the Prime Minister that a Minister may be removed by the President. Today, the Prime Minister ceases to hold office only if a vote of no-confidence is passed in Parliament and may not be removed by the President).

4. Article 44: The President may assign to himself any subjects or functions and create and hold any number of ministries. (The Constitution now does not allow the President to be a Minister. Only a Member of Parliament may be a Minister).

5. Article 70: The President may dissolve Parliament at any time after one year following a general election. (The Constitution now does not permit the President to dissolve Parliament until the expiry of four and a half years following a general election).

6. Article 85: The President may secure the passage of a Bill that has been rejected by Parliament by submitting it to a referendum. (This power does not exist now).

7. Article 122: The President may certify that a Bill is “urgent in the national interest”, whereupon the Supreme Court is required to determine its constitutionality within 24 hours and communicate that only to the President and the Speaker. The Bill will then be rushed through all its stages and become law without any intimation to the country or its peoples. (The 19th Amendment repealed this power in 2015).

8. Article 154: The Auditor-General will not be required to audit the accounts of the Offices of the President and of the Prime Minister. Nor will he be required to audit the accounts of “companies in which the Government or a public corporation or local authority holds fifty per centum or more of the shares of that company”. (The power to audit these accounts was expressly conferred on the Auditor-General by the 19th Amendment).

9. Article 155G: The National Police Commission is stripped of its power of appointment, promotion, transfer, disciplinary control and dismissal of police officers. (That power was conferred on the Police Commission by the 19th Amendment).

10. Chapter XIXA: The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption is abolished. (Constitutional status to this Commission was granted by the 19th Amendment).

11. Chapter XIXB: The National Procurement Commission is abolished. (This Commission was established by the 19th Amendment).

Conclusion

In the National State Assembly, on 3 August 1978, the leader of the SLFP, the late Sirimavo Bandaranaike, concluded her speech thus:

I would like to state, on behalf of myself and of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, that the day on which the dictatorship of His Excellency Junius Richard Jayewardene is established by means of the so-called Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, will also be the day on which we begin our struggle outside this Assembly. We will go to the people, and together we will strive to set alight once more the lamps which you have extinguished. I know that there will be ranged against us not only the forces of local reaction to which you have given new life, but also those of neo-colonialism which have at long last been provided with a foothold here in Sri Lanka. I know that the full force of State power will be used against us, and we will probably be arrested under your new laws, and brought before your new courts, and locked up in your new jails. But no people fighting for their freedom have been deterred by such acts, threats, or fears. The Sri Lanka Freedom Party, which has been sanctified by the blood of its founder, will certainly not be deterred.

In one of those inexplicable ironies of Sri Lankan politics, it was a UNP minority government that, with the support of the majority SLFP, successfully disengaged from the 1978 Constitution, and it is the SLFP that is today lending its enthusiastic support to reinstate what its former leader described as “the dictatorship of His Excellency Junius Richard Jayewardene”. Should not the SLFP members who sit in Parliament today remind their present leader, Maithripala Sirisena, that it was he who stood before the casket bearing the remains of the late Rev. Maduluwawe Sobitha, and with his head bowed swore an oath that he would ensure that all remnants of executive power would be removed from the office of President of the Republic? 

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Latest comments

  • 12
    11

    Excellent article. Stand out compared to other journalist. He speaks of national relevance compared to most ethnic and religious bases articles published in CT.
    However I think 19 amendment curtailed some power of the president just to favor Ranil. After all president is elected by the people.
    He should have power to hold defense portfolio and have power to oversee corruption of parliamentary members.
    Constitutional council, police , bribery and judicial commissions are basic essentials.
    Auditor general should have power to audit all government institution including presidential secretariat.
    There should be avenue to challenge president’s action if his action violate fundamental rights of the people.

    • 16
      3

      Anyone with some sanity would not even take few minutes to understand, how 19A was highly instrumental in normalizing the situation after Mahinda Rajaakshe s rule from 2010 -2015. Sirisena became president, not just because he wanted to. Civil society, opposition and almost everyone was so fed up MR power greedy family oriented politics, by 2015. He was not able to maintain the basics of human rights as COMMON WEALTH principles expected it. That was the reason, even fish bill or GSP plus and other benefits were taken away from the island nation.
      :
      Srilanken airline was abused by the bunch of RAJAPKASHE and grounded it as if it was their PVT jet line. Thanks to Ms CBK, it earned billions of profit, but going beyond SO CALLED BOND SCAM losses, today srilanken ailine losses have become a real burden to the state. Unfortunatley, public domain media is silent on the VERY issue.

      Not RW but with the support of all, previous govt passed the 19A. By 2015, human right violations were daily routine. Commissions came into being balanced it. Moreover, if there had NOT been an Election Commission current govt would not have controlled COVID to the manner they reach today. MR s rule was highly criticised by civilized world by 2015.
      :
      Majority in the country TODAY are memory losers Shameless people. They dont care much about anything.

      • 14
        3

        Even their lovely ones would have been abducted and raped, they dont really understand that the law and order in a country should be powerful.
        .
        They just line up behind any stupid politicians for their selfish gains.In today s context, it is behind Mahind Rajaashe – the man who destroyed srilanken image. The man who destroyed it for his political power. The man who looted the state as no other leaders in entire south asia. He is shameless, but loves to be adulated by punnakku drinking majority.
        – Proposed 20A is clearly the paving the way another MR to act even going beyond his rule until 2015.
        With criminals being back to power, the falling from frying pan to fire is inevitable in next 4 years. Not single country would respect srilanka. Another Belarus is in making.

        Not RW but with the support of all, previous govt passed the 19A. By 2015, human right violations were daily routine. Commissions came into being balanced it. Moreover, if there had NOT been an Election Commission current govt would not have controlled COVID to the manner they reach today. MR s rule was highly criticised by civilized world by 2015.

  • 19
    9

    At this rate of decay only ISIS and LTTE can save SL. Hope they do!

    • 8
      25

      Our President, Gotabaya completely wiped out entire LTTE leadership and LTTE. His mission and vision now to destroy ISIS the same as how he did for LTTE. His motto during the LTTE was, never say die to Soldiers, now his latest motto “do what as I say not as I do” because he is now President of the entire country elected by the people of Sri Lanka.

      • 11
        3

        Unlike last time, they will be supported by the majority too if they save the country from Hitler. That can be the basis for a win-win compromise for the communities. It will be real Independence.

      • 9
        3

        Perera
        $
        The war was won by shelling hospitals homes using banned chemical weaponry candy other illegal methods.
        $
        Why are your heroes including the kallathoni of a war criminal shitting in his amude and shit afraid of facing a war crimes court.?
        Why I ask.?
        Unlike eagle eye u do not go hiding under the underskirt of a demala menachi.
        Expecting a reply from a portuguese.?

        • 1
          9

          Say to PODA for DIAS-PODA and barkers of PEE(SHIT)LAM. Homeland PEELAM. Where is Vadakkodai PEELAM resolution? What a shame for the Tamil race, more than 78 million. No country for them, no national anthem no flag, no Prime Minister, no President, no cabinet, no parliament, no MPS, no separate Army, Navy, Air Force and Police. They are the same like dogs barking for the moon

      • 11
        3

        N Perera an another back licker of Rajaakshes says it again. Cheap backlickers do the role of toilet papers really well – few months ago, toilet papers were one of the short of items in european markets. But if that was the case, in SL, Rajapakshes would not face such problems, because .. cheap backlickers are plenty in my home country.

        Not President former asylum seeker in American liberated the north from rebells. THat was by tri forces and collective forces took part in that. However, Your PRESIDEDNT wipeed out the mind set of the GAWKY srilankens that cant see it right yet today.

        Today the high criminals, becoming the leaders, the country is totally isolated similar to North Korea. More you will get to hear next days.


        Not a single country in Europe talks about srilanka today, but about their HAPANKAM for example allow taking oaths thought being a convicted murderer was louded in the world press.
        https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/08/world/asia/sri-lanka-parliament-murder.html

      • 4
        3

        N. Pererass

        “Our President, Gotabaya completely wiped out entire LTTE leadership and LTTE. “

        It was V Prabaharan who wiped off LTTE with some support from Hindians.

        “His mission and vision now to destroy ISIS the same as how he did for LTTE. “

        You mean he is secretly planning to wipe off substantial number of unarmed innocent Muslims? Has he taken an oath on Mahawamsa to wipe out Muslims?

        • 4
          3

          Our leaders following USA, same as USA lead we follow how AMERICA wiped out Red Indians

          • 5
            1

            Perera
            Why ? are your leaders shitting to go abroad and face the ICC war tribunal.
            @
            No money to buy a plane ticket.?
            @
            Disgusting disgraceful beggars.
            When did your amude last see the color of water.
            Petty klu Klux clan racist who cannot even write in proper English.
            #
            A swabasha devil dancer.

    • 6
      3

      Gatam
      #
      So now all you dudes realise the value of the Tamil tigers.?
      #.
      Let’s join hands with the Muslims and give the rajapukas the hammering of their disgus

      • 6
        3

        Disgusting power crazy lives.

  • 8
    0

    The 19A is no angel. It is politically motivated, although, there were one or two good clauses such as: preventing dual citizens from contesting in elections.
    The 20A is also politically motivated.
    The independent commissions introduced by 19A weren’t so independent. Those who were nominated to independent commissions were either well known UNP backers or NGO funded individuals. The Yahapalana government introduced independent commissions by paralysing the impartial public service.
    .
    The previous Rajapaksa government had weakened the public service by appointing outsiders to be the head of government ministries, etc. resulting in institutional timidity.
    Prior to that, the service was powerful with an exam-based recruitment process and a seniority-based promotion system which made all government service commissions such as the PSC, the JSC, the Elections Commissioner, the Auditor General and the Attorney General free from political interference. However, the previous Rajapaksa regime changed this by appointing outsiders to the public service. 19A did the same by introducing independent commissions, further allowing political interference.
    .
    The solution to this is: taking the Public Service to its former glorious impartiality by permanently preventing politicians from appointing outsiders to the service. The Executive and the Legislature should be prevented from promoting judges. From CJ to the JSC, promotions should automatically be made based on seniority in the SC.

  • 5
    3

    Dr Jayawickrama,

    The last time you expressed a strong opinion on CT, it was about the President’s power to ‘recall’ the old parliament because the elections couldn’t be held due to COVID 19 epidemic.

    But the Supreme Court kindly disagreed with you and other ‘experts’ like Sumanthiran, unable to find a section of the constitution that would have empowered the president to do that.

    So what is different this time?

    Have you had a really good reading of the constitution after that?
    Why do we need S!(A to be able to revert what was introduced by it?

    IS logic going haywire, Sir?

  • 5
    7

    So far HE the President has performed well in office. He has thus far displayed a profound understanding towards the basic needs of the suffering masses. He is keen on removing the deadwood in the Government Service and to ensure that the so called public servants carry out their duties duly and diligently, to put service first before self. He must be left undisturbed to carry on with the good work. During all previous administrations those who held on to power gave priority to their own welfare and not of the people.

  • 14
    1

    Despite her obvious failings, Sirimavo Bandaranaike had made a very powerful speech that predicted the things that would follow, sounding much like the founding fathers of the USA when their constitution was developed. The writer has brilliantly exposed the insidious nature of autocratic power and its present manifestations without mentioning names. Yet, how many ordinary people will have access to such brilliant analysis? Are not these very same people who put on pedestals of power, their very oppressors?

    • 1
      3

      Lasantha Pethiyagoda

      “Despite her obvious failings, Sirimavo Bandaranaike had made a very Sirimavo Bandaranaikethat predicted the things that would follow, sounding much like the founding fathers of the USA when their constitution was developed.”

      Could you cite details of Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s very powerful speech and could you let us know the content of her speech.

  • 4
    3

    the end is nigh for all the freedom-loving yokels who have no other choice but to hibernate in this reputed well known established prestigious colony of beggars.

    everyone is aware that unlike the Senanayake’s the Wickramasinghethe’s rajapuka’s have no class at all.

    they are from the elephant infested backward jungles of hardcore rural Ceylon and so are their die-hard riff-raff loyalist supporters who in their ignorance and stupidity are about to destroy the once upon a time jewel of the Indian ocean.
    during the 1970/77 SLFP dark period where one was forced to eat manioc and queue to buy a loaf of bread along with the raw material to sew an amude.

    the power-hungry new illicit cash-rich rajapuka’s will by their autocratic draconian measures are completing the final framework of making this another Swaziland where the women will have to go around topless
    – and sex for the old white uncles/aunties will be largest income earner.

    down with the rajapuk should be made the new national anthem.

  • 3
    3

    The constitutions created after 1948/after 1972 are to suit the party or personal interests rather than people oriented or country oriented. It is true that the 1972 has some social development focus but it was corrupted with religious fundamentalism. 1978 constitution was based on benefit to the UNP and for JR Jeyawardena. The inclusion of Buddhism in the constitution destroyed the democratic function of rule of law and equal justice to all. The dangers of the executive power to one man or woman not only destroyed the unity but also established corruption as permanent necessity in politics. Unfortunately, Mahinda, Ranil and Sirisena are the three evils of this beautiful nation and the people have no power to bring back the country to them.

    • 8
      3

      Ajith,

      Long time no see, I thought RAJAPASKHEs may have abducted you. …

      Srilankens will never be see a better country so long RAJAPAKSHES are in power.

      Let s pray DIVINE forces to do the due, sooner than later. I got to see, MaRa cant even walk 100 m – his moves are similar to that of fat pig.

      • 2
        3

        I took a break. Rajapakse’ are more focussed on money and power.

        • 3
          1

          Ajith,
          I usually dont hate human beings or even an ant. But I hate Rajaakshes from the day one. My antipathy to their politics is reasonable. I really hate people that steal the tax payers funds leaving them in unexpected situation. Not only power greedy but mlechcha in various forms. My innocient wish is divine forces to do the job in upcoming month. Karma cant stay inactive so long. I have never seen criminals stay not being punished the way what I am compelled to see today . It is very unfair to put the blame on enitre bunch of Good governance. ALso not to underestimate the losses made by Rajapkshes by 2015. Alone Srilanken airline and its bankrupsy was masterminded by mismanagement of Rajaakshe family. But all these would not be caught by MEDIA today. They hype up BOND SCAM which was inevitable and it has been started since 2008.

          Next time, when I put my feet in SL, I have to start licking the BIA floor so that I could also get caught by MEDIA displays. Ha ha… then would I have become a star ? MY GOSH.. what a bs land … created by RAJAPKSHE rascals.

    • 3
      7

      Ajith,
      “The inclusion of Buddhism in the constitution destroyed the democratic function of rule of law and equal justice to all.”

      Can you please tell us how inclusion of Buddhism in the constitution destroyed the democratic function of rule of law and equal justice to all.

      • What is it that the Sinhalayo are enjoying that the other communities are not enjoying because they are not Sinhala?
      • What is it that the minorities do not enjoy because they are the minority which the majority enjoys because they are the majority?
      • What is legally, constitutionally and legislatively given to the majority that is not given to the minorities?
      • What is it that the Sinhala Buddhists are enjoying that the other communities are not enjoying because they are not Sinhala Buddhists?

      • 7
        2

        How old are you EE – I guess you are oloder than 10 years right ?

        What is it that the Sinhalayo are enjoying that the other communities are not enjoying because they are not Sinhala?

        if you are not blind and deaf, you would never raise this question. I know it from my experience, how much difficulties my fellow mates met at Peradeniya as Tamils/muslims – only because we the sinhalaya are not taught to respect the minorities.
        .
        What is it that the minorities do not enjoy because they are the minority which the majority enjoys because they are the majority?

        Go to offices in colombo, do they minority srilankens have the same rights when they want to get anything done ?

        What is legally, constitutionally and legislatively given to the majority that is not given to the minorities?

        Do the tamils and muslims enjoy the same rights in terms of legal issues ? My gosh, what have you been bubbling ? We the sinhalaese are kept above…. where ever we are ? Yesterday s that thug monk from MANGALARAMAYA attacked those muslim/tamil offiers ? is that what sinhalayas are facing in the country ?

      • 4
        2

        Eagle Eye,
        A good example is what happened in Batticaloa. A monk attacked three government officers and the law makers are encouraging law breaking Monks.Most of the violences are sponsored by Monks.

        • 5
          2

          Ajith,
          .
          EagleEye Aka most known ultra racist on CT may be sitting on his head – so he would not be able to see the world right – his is the opposite of us. That is the problem.
          :
          What we consider as ” no go” – is welcome by EE. You can explain him x times, but it is purposeless. The man is said tobe an octagenarian as of today. Nevertheless he seems to have not the least knowledge about the facts. If Tamils AND Muslims as he has been preaching have no whatsoever problems in SL, why should we have faught a CIVIL war which killed over 100 000 or more. ?He should be a big liar…. how man ymore days ahead of him could he be able to cover his lies ?

          • 3
            0

            leelagemalli,
            I don’t see any difference between Rajapakse’s and Eagle Eye. LIE, THREAT, VIOLENCE, BRIBE are there weapons. They do more damage to the Buddhism and this country.

            • 4
              1

              Dear Ajith,

              Buddhism and BUDDHAGAMA is not the same.

              Buddhagama is mainly based on JATHAKA stories AND Mahawansa. Jathaka stories are just fictions – stammered to show how some buddhists behaved then. In today s srilanka, they dont respect true buddhist values.
              Just imagine, how some cheewaradhariyas (pseudo buddhist monks) behave today: There is a monk called SAMATHA Badra- who would not be without KATAROLU mixed rice. His everything is more or less like that of Paradise bird, but he is socially welcome as a sinhala buddhist monk.
              :
              And the mad thug monk from Mangalarama, with his BLACK lips ( as sign to be a chain smoker) living on the funds coming from SINHALAYAS from outisde, he has become chandia to that area. If I were touched by him; I would no thave stayed silent… if the police would not do the job well.
              .
              Buddhism – is the true teachings as taught by Lord Buddha.

      • 5
        2

        Eagle Brain Dead Blind Eye

        “What is it that the Sinhalayo are enjoying …………………………….
        “……………………………………………………………………………………………………..”
        “……………………………………………………………………………………………………..”
        “…………………………………………………………………………………………………….”

        Brilliant,
        If you pull your head from wherever it is now you can see, hear, smell, feel, .. everything you want to know. In case you believe your head is indeed stuck deep inside a ….hole down under get your equally mad racist Mahindapala to pull you out of that hole.

        Did you find out whether your wife/partner (if you have one) was impressed by the above 4 questions?

    • 1
      1

      A
      “1972 …was corrupted with religious fundamentalism.”
      What “fundamentalism” may I know?

      • 0
        1

        You may know it. If A is not answering we can come back and answer. But, why do you ask for it? is that out of curiosity and for information or your gun is loaded and ready to fire back?

  • 2
    2

    The Justice Ministry Secretary, mentioned in the story, I believe, is Dr. NJ himself. Further, explanatory nature of Sri Ma o’ speech suggests he may have had major role in drafting it too. Eventually all three of them were punished by JR. One the day of Siri Ma O lost her Civic right and MP position, Amirthalingam, Opposition Party leader, shouldered her, fearing she losing her position back to car. He vigorously opposed the proceeding inside the parliament, too. But Lankawe has determined its path in Mahavamsa. So the solution to Tamils is to go alone
    Out of all the numbers Dr. NJ listed, I fear of the 4th one the most.
    ” 4. Article 44: The President may assign to himself any subjects or functions and create and hold any number of ministries. ” This is telling a cabinet is not necessary & thus the parliament to run the government in the future.

    I am still not clear what about 1978 provision that says “president can appoint anybody who has the acceptance of the parliament as PM”. Is it there or gone?

    • 2
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      The provision that “the President shall appoint as Prime Minister the Member of Parliament who, in the President’s opinion, is most likely to command the confidence of Parliament” remains in the Constitution. However, unless the Prime Minister is assigned a subject or function, eg. social services or batiks, he/she will simply be a member of the Cabinet with nothing to do. The President will be the Head and Chairperson of the Cabinet. Mr R.Premadasa once described his role in the J.R.Jayewardena Cabinet as that of a “peon”. Nevertheless, if the Prime Minister submits his resignation, the entire Cabinet is dissolved. These are the consequences of tampering with the existing system.

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        Thanks Dr.NJ.

        It is sad the Prime Minister’s job is becoming less important than Coconut Minister’s. Subjects list to appointed ministers is going to be longer than dictionary pages, after the 20A passed. But the cabinet’s life is hooked to PM’s time. Nobody knows what the need is for 20A is now when president didn’t show urgency to pass amendment to deal with Pandemic Covid-19, or to Vote on Account, up to June. From whom these irrational ideas are coming from? Less trained constitutional lawyers or it is the wishes of the greedy masters? Earlier constitutional lawyers made flaws in 19A too. But when it came to light, they said it was not under their control. Everything went wrong only because of last minute changes. 20A proponents say they are changing 19A because it is flawed. It is only an opportunistic talk. The whole drama sounds here like an election campaign but not discussion for constitutional changes, which decide the country’s future. UNHRC High Commissioner M/s Barlete , UN General Assembly and Commonwealth Agencies are expressing their disappointment & Concern about this 20A. Lankawe’s comedies are these days reported on BBC, Al Jazeera, New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, NHK, Madras Hindu…….

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        After the commercial world seeing these & reading these, if somebody cries that exchange is going down, export is going down, FDI is not coming forth then how is it going to help?

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    Dr Nihal Jeyawicrama,

    Among other articles, 20th amendment proposes to amend 154 R of the constitution.
    The article 154 R is part of Chapter XVIIA . This chapter includes Articles 154 A to 154 T of the constitution .

    These articles were incorporated in the constitution through 13 A.

    Further,154 G (2) stipulates, “No bill for the amendment or repel of this chapter
    ( XVIIA) or the ninth schedule shall become law unless such bill has been referred by the President after publication in the Gazette and before it is placed in the order paper of parliament to every provincial Council for expression of the views therein….”

    This provision was not followed when 13A was placed in the order paper.

    Was it because the Provincial Councils were presently not in existence or for any other cause?

    Could you please clarify?

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      Srikrish, In answer to your two questions:

      (a) Section 154G(2) was introduced into the Constitution by the 13th Amendment. Therefore, the question of following the procedure laid down in that section did not arise when the 13A Bill was placed on the Order Paper.

      (b) You are correct when you state that a Bill for the amendment of Article 154R cannot be placed on the Order Paper until the procedure prescribed in Article 154G(2) has been complied with. The Government appears to have overlooked this. Nor has anyone raised this matter in Parliament yet. That should have been done at the stage of the First Reading. Since many (or all) of the Provincial Councils now stand dissolved, compliance with Article 154G(2) will not be possible at this stage. That raises an interesting question. Can a provision in the Bill be deleted now, or should the Bill in its entirely be re-introduced?

      Thank you for drawing attention to a matter which the Government appears not to be aware of. I had not noticed it myself.

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      Srikrish,

      Are you talking about Note 8.? A remark with 8. says “(The power to audit these accounts was expressly conferred on the Auditor-General by the 19th Amendment).” Then why do you say this is under 13A?

      Thanks

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        Mallaiyuran,

        Not at all,

        Please read my comment and the response from Dr Nihal carefully.

        We are talking about amendment to article 154R in the proposed 20th amendment.and 154G (2) -Where the procedure to be adopted to amend 154R.is prescribed.

        -not at all about Article 154

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          Yes, it is a good catch. 20A is simply saying its is changing 154R. But not saying what is it changing.

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          srikrish,

          You should try to bring this to one of the lawyers who is appearing in those cases. Even the Yogan Yoganathan ‘s essay is not mentioning it.

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    Bunch of lawyers ensuring federalism or something. For country security, executive powers are essential. As long as PoSL doesn’t chop down forests, then he’s good to go with greater executive powers.

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    Thanks for the neat summary of the impending disaster.

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    20 seeks to plunder peoples earnings outright. If the idiotic citizens sent knowledgeable MP’s at least they should not destroy the last penny of these idiots by voting in favour of 20. Sri Lanka can prosper very well without the Rajapakshe’s.

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    When I listed to the TV program Talk with Chamuditha, I was shocked to see what “Ambanda” Sabry had to say. He said SL Constitution is a presidential constitution. May be this educated fool does not know the 19A changed this and made the PM stronger. He also stated that there are no issues between Gota and Mahinda and they work well together. In that case I would like to ask this “Ambanda” Sabry, why is there such a rush to bring 20A when both the brothers have another 4 years to work together and bring about a new constitution!
    Coming to this article:
    Article 35: If the President cannot be taken to court, then (as Gota planned to bring in a Military Governement in 2015 when Mahinda was getting the results of his defeat) if Gota brings a Military Government takes over the governement, no one can take him to court. We already see even under 19A after being appointed as President how he has made Sri Lanka a military state. Also from the comments below the readers will learn that the entire 20A is based on this concept of him being a Military Dictator.
    Article44: If the President can hold any subject and any number of Ministries, why should there be a Cabinet of Ministers. He can hold all the Ministries as Minister.

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    This is in regard to item No. 8 “154” in the essay. I watched a TV program titled “Nadiya” aired over “Suwarnawahini” channel. There were three students to question from a panel of three composed of ” (1) State Minister of Education Mr. Susil Premajayantha (2) Dr. Harshine Amarasuriya and (3) Dr. Harsha de Silva. One of the students, posing a question to Mr. Susil Premajyantha asked: ” The 20th A has removed the requirement Audit the Government Corporations, President & PM Office. How are you going to ensure those Institutions are “Audited” to be in compliance with Financial Rules & Regulations. The reply by the State Minister of Education was: “There are two Government bodies called COPE & COPA to handle that function.” Unfortunately, the student who posed the question, either did not know what “Audit Function” is OR was not given the opportunity to seek further clarification on the answer. But the surprising thing is how these types of Ministers who have been in Parliament for “Donkeys Years” mislead and tell blatant lies to the public and the younger generation. This Minister is a “Lawyer” and they are generally “Taught” and “Practice” to tell “LIES”. So, in certain respects, it is no surprise. But the fact is how these “Veteran Parliamentarians” tell blatant LIES assuming that the “Innocents could easily be “Hoodwinked”.

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    Simon,

    You have raised some very important points.

    The parliament has full control over Public Finance-Art 154. Auditor General is an independent officer who brings through Annual Reports bring to attention of Parliament the non compliance by government institutions-Ministries, Departments, Boards and Corporations and other government agencies and COPA and COPE consisting of Members of Parliament with the assistance of Auditor General deals with the Non Compliance.

    COPE and COPA depends solely on the Auditor General for any information about the performance of the government institutions.

    COPA and COPE have no way of getting the any information to carry out their assignment effectively.

    G.L.Pieris, if he had said so had actually deliberately misled the listeners.

    The matters relating to 12 Amendment are becoming more and more ambiguous.
    Hope Dr Nihal Jeyswicrama makes matters clearer.

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      srikrish: It was not G.L.Peiris who said that. He was State Minister of Education Mr. Susil Premajayantha- the “Lawyer” turned a “Politician”. This is a small correction to your comment. Pl. watch that program “NADIYA” on Swarnawahini. Thank you for detailing how COPE & COPA work and I hope those students who participated in the program and all other students and the public would try to understand the process.

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    All the clauses inserted to establish a monarchy in Sri Lanka must be removed from the 20th Amendment.

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