Government tables changes to 20th Amendment

The Government today tabled changes to the draft 20th Amendment to the Constitution.

The changes were tabled when a two day debate on the 20th Amendment to the Constitution began in Parliament today.

Justice Minister Ali Sabry tabled the changes after opening the debate today.

He said that during the committee stage of the debate the Government will be prepared to consider further changes.

The Supreme Court (SC) has already determined that some clauses of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution are inconsistent with the Constitution.

In the determination read to Parliament yesterday, the Supreme Court has called for a referendum to obtain public approval for those clauses or for changes to be made to those clauses.

The court has determined Clauses 3,5, 14, and 22 in their present form are inconsistent with article 3, read with article 4 of the Constitution, and therefore requires approval by the people at a referendum by virtue of the provisions of the article 83.

Clause 3 refers to the powers and functions of the President, Clause 5 refers to the immunity of the President from suit, clause 14 refers to the powers of the President to summon, prorogue and dissolve Parliament and clause 22 refers to the offences any public officer has to face due to failure of complying to the directions given by the Election Commission in holding elections and referendum as mentioned in Article 104GG.

The court said however that, such inconsistencies in clauses 3 and 14 would ease by amending in accordance with the proposed committee stage amendments and the inconsistency in clause 5 would seize if clause 5 is suitably amended specified in the determination.

The Supreme Court had on 5th October concluded considering the petitions filed against the 20th Amendment to the Constitution and communicated its decision to the Speaker of Parliament.

Several petitions were filed before the Supreme Court against the 20th Amendment to the Constitution. (Colombo Gazette)