Govt Decides to Bring 21st Amendment to the Constitution;Cabinet SubCommittee to be Appointed to Liaise with Legal Draftsman’s Dept; Parliamentary Select Committee will be set up to Approve Final Draft

Cabinet Co-Spokesman Dr. Ramesh Pathirana said yesterday (26) that the Cabinet of Ministers has approved two key proposals to prepare the 21st Amendment to the Constitution Bill.

“The Cabinet approved the appointment of a subcommittee to immediately assist the Legal Draftsman’s Department to draft an initial Bill for the 21st Amendment to the Constitution. This Amendment is to be brought in as a solution for the economic and political crises by achieving political and social stability. It aims to bring back power to the Parliament and to strengthen democracy,” said Dr. Pathirana while addressing the post-Cabinet media briefing held yesterday.

Cabinet Spokesman Dr. Nalaka Godahewa noted that there are already two private member Bills for constitutional amendments that have been submitted to the Speaker of the House Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena.

“The process for private member Bills, in this case, one by President’s Counsel and Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna MP Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, and the other by the main Parliamentary Opposition, the Samagi Jana Balawegeya (SJB), will be a lengthy process, as opposed to an amendment put forth by the Government,” he said.

Speaking further, Dr. Pathirana said that the Cabinet has also approved for the initial draft Bill to be discussed together with the aforementioned private member Bills, and for a common agreement to be reached through a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) before being submitted to Parliament by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

“The proposed Bill will take positive points from the 19th and 20th Amendments to the Constitution,” he added, echoing the Prime Minister’s statement in Parliament last week, where he said that the new constitutional amendment will be a reintroduction of a better 19th Amendment to the Constitution.

“Political, social, and economic stability in the country is important while we look for solutions to the economic crisis. I believe that a practical and quick solution to this is an amendment to the Constitution. As a first step to this, I believe that bringing back the 19th Amendment to the Constitution with necessary and timely amendments to strengthen democracy is a timely decision that can be taken in the short term,” said Rajapaksa last week.

The SJB presented its proposed 21st Amendment to the Constitution Bill to the Parliament on 21 April, with the aim of “restoring checks and balances to the three pillars of democracy”.

Courtesy:The Morning