By Chandani Kirinde
Attorney General (AG) Dappula de Livera yesterday made a case in support of the 20th Amendment (20A) to the Constitution Bill stating its provisions did not contain anything new and most of the clauses can be found in 1978 Constitution and its 17th and 18th Amendments.
These he said were removed with the introduction of the 19th Amendment and are merely being reintroduced by the 20th Amendment.
He was making submissions before the five-member SC Bench headed by Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya PC and comprising Justices Buwaneka Aluwihare PC, Sisira de Abrew, Justice Priyantha Jayawardena PC and Vijith Malalgoda PC considering the petitions filed challenging the Bill as well as those supporting it.
The AG who has been cited as a Respondents in the Petitions told court that since most of those provisions were scrutinised by the Supreme Court in the past through comprehensive determinations, there can be no question on the legality of those provisions as the proposed 20A is simply abiding by those determinations.
“The Petitioners came up with many hypothesis and conjunctures of various claims on the basis that those clauses violate the basic principles of the Constitution whereas they could be found elsewhere in the 1978 Constitution and earlier Amendments,” De Livera said in his opening remarks.
A record number of 39 petitions have been filed challenging the Bill with around 12 Intervenient Petitioners.
Even though the submission were to conclude by yesterday, the court decided to allow further submissions by the AG. The AG will make further submissions on Monday.
Yesterday the court also heard submissions from the counsel for the Intervenient Petitioners which included Ministers Nimal Siripala de Silva, Gamini Lokuge and Prof. G.L. Peiris as well as MP Sagara Kariyawasam, Ven. Omare Kassapa Thera, M. Dayaratne, W.A. Weerathilake and P.G.B. Abeyratne.