SC defers for Sep. 6

Published : 8:50 am  August 30, 2017 | No comments so far |  | 


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Hearing 20A

By S.S. Selvanayagam   

The Supreme Court yesterday (29) deferred for September 6 the hearing for Special Determination on the Bill titled “The Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution.”

The Bench Comprised Chief Justice Priyasath Dep, Justices Anil Gooneratne and Vijith K.Malalgoda.  

Eight petition have so far been filed seeking the special determination of the Supreme Court on the Bill.   Prof. G.L. Peiris, Udaya Gammanpila, PAFFREL, MEP, Centre for Policy Alternatives, Dullas Alahaperuma MP, Ranga Dayananda, Renuka Dushyantha Perera have filed petitions.   

Romesh de Silva PC with Sugath Caldera and Niran Anketell appeared for G.L. Peiris. Faisz Musthapha PC appeared for the Intervenient Petitioner. Manohara de Silva PC appeared for Udaya Gammanpila. Uditha Egalahewa PC appeared for one petitioner. Viran Corea with Luwie Gnanathas instructed by Mohan Balendra appeared for Centre for Policy Alternatives. Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya with Additional Solicitor General Indika Demuni de Silva, Deputy Solicitors General Nerin Pulle and Viveka Siriwardena, Senior State Counsel Yuresha de Silva and State Counsel Suren Gnanaraj appeared for the Attorney General.   
Centre for Policy Alternatives in its petition states that the said Bill was published as a Supplement to Part II of the Gazette of 28th July 2017 and the gazette was only issued on 3rd August 2017 and placed on the Order Paper of Parliament on 23rd August 2017.   
It states the Bill seeks to amend the Constitution and the provisions of the said Bill if enacted would give Parliament the power to determine the date (specified date) on which all the Provincial Councils shall stand dissolved and to extend up to the specified date, the terms of office of any Provincial Council ending prior to such specified date and to end the said specified date, the term of office of any Provincial Council which continues beyond such specified date.   

In the event, any Provincial Council is to be dissolved by the Governor of the said Province in terms of Article154B(8)(c) or is to be dissolved by any other reason specified in any law, the powers of such Provincial Council will be exercised by the Parliament until the specified date and the provisions of Articles 154L and 154M shall, mutatis mutandis (with the necessary changes having been made) apply in relation to the exercise of powers of the Provincial Council, it bemoans.   

It alleges the Bill negatively impacts the franchise of the people: where a Provincial Council’s five year term ends prior to the “specified date” by depriving the citizens residing within that province the opportunity to vote and constitute a Provincial Council until the said specified date; (b) where a Provincial Council’s five year term only ends after “the specified date” by curtailing the mandate given by citizen residing within that province to such Provincial Council without the consent of the majority of members of such Provincial Council and (c) by transferring to Parliament, the power vested with the members of a Provincial Council to decide when such Provincial Council stand dissolved.   

The institutions having being created and cloaked with “powers of government”, the government cannot now abridge and/or denude the sovereignty of citizens to elect individuals to animate the said institution, without first obtaining the consent of the People at a referendum, it contends.