BY Pamodi Waravita
Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris said yesterday (18) that the work on the proposed new Constitution has been finalised by the experts committee chaired by Romesh De Silva PC, and that a draft of the new Constitution will be presented to Parliament in January 2022.
“President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, in his ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour’ policy statement, has clearly stated that he will bring in a new Constitution. The current Constitution was created during the era of President J.R.Jayewardene in 1978, 43 years ago. During those 43 years, Sri Lanka has faced several changes in various aspects. The Constitution is the supreme law of the country, but it is not engraved in stone. It should change according to new social needs and dynamics. President Rajapaksa appointed a committee composed of the most famous lawyers to do this and it was led by De Silva PC. This committee has finished its work,” Prof. Peiris told the media at a Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) press conference held yesterday.
Attorney General (AG) Sanjay Rajaratnam PC has sent the draft compiled by the committee to the Legal Draftsman’s Department for the compilation of the final document, noted Prof. Peiris.
“We hope that we can present it to the Government towards the end of this year. Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa’s inaugural Budget will be read in Parliament on 12 November 2021, and the vote on it will be taken on 10 December 2021. Thus, in January 2022, the Parliament will have the opportunity to focus on the new Constitution.”
The nine-member expert committee was appointed in September last year. Led by De Silva PC, its other members include, among others, Gamini Marapana PC, Manohara de Silva PC, Sanjeeva Jayawardena PC, Samantha Ratwatte PC, Dr. A .Sarveswaran, Prof. Wasantha Seneviratne, and Prof. G.H. Peiris.