External Affairs Minister Professor G.L. Peiris says the views of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA0 has been taken into account when finalizing the terms of reference of the Parliament Select Committee (PSC) appointed to look into proposed constitutional reforms.
The Committee, headed by Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, will function in a time-bound manner and priorities and modalities regarding the work of the Committee will be discussed when it convenes on July 9 for the first time, the Minister said.
Professor G.L. Peiris was quoted by the External Affairs Ministry today as saying this when he briefed Ambassadors and High Commissioners accredited to Sri Lanka at the Ministry of External Affairs yesterday.
He said that there is no substitute for a Parliamentary Select Committee to resolve in a systematic and all-inclusive manner the issues relating to constitutional reform which are now the subject of vigorous debate in the country.
He noted that several Provincial Councils, political parties, academics and professionals had recently expressed divergent views on these issues and commented that a structured and comprehensive approach is necessary in reflecting on these matters before constitutional amendments are presented to Parliament.
Since constitutional reform is necessarily a matter within the purview of Parliament and a special majority is required, involvement of a Parliamentary Select Committee for this purpose is indispensable, he said.
Prof. Peiris told the envoys that the government regards consideration of these matters as urgent and this is why the Parliamentary Select Committee, the Chairman and members of which were named by the Speaker last week, will convene on the very first day Parliament meets in 9th July 2013.
While issues relating to the Thirteenth Amendment will naturally be in focus, the discussion at the Select Committee is expected to cover a wider range of matters in respect of the Constitution as a whole, he explained. He said that the government’s wish to ensure the expression of all points of view is amply demonstrated in many ways.
The government will have 19 members in the Committee and the Opposition 12. This arrangement, he said, is entirely acceptable to the government, although the government is entitled, in terms of the composition of Parliament, to significantly stronger representation, he remarked. (Colombo Gazette)