By Chandani Kirinde
The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution will be published in the Gazette today (June 29), following which it will be presented to Parliament after seven days, Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said yesterday (June 28).
He said that on Monday (June 27), the Cabinet had given approval to publish the Bill in the Gazette after the draft Bill prepared by the Legal Draftsman was cleared by the Attorney General, who informed that the Bill is in accordance with the Constitution.
He said while the Bill will be gazetted as the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, it will be enacted as the 21st Amendment.
“The SJB presented a Private Member’s Bill titled 21st Amendment to the Constitution and the Supreme Court ruled all its clauses will need approval at referendum hence it will not be possible to enact their Bill. The Government Bill will be enacted as the 21st Amendment,” Rajapakshe said.
The Minister said the Bill will reinstate the independent commissions and strengthen the role of Parliament.
“The international community too is keen to see that we bring legislation that strengthens democracy. Along with this we will also enact legislation on the lines of the United Nations Convention against Corruption as well as amend the laws dealing with declaration of assets and liabilities,” the Justice Minister said.
He also said that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has entrusted him with the work related to drafting a new Constitution.
“I have been given a copy of the report of the expert committee led by Romesh de Silva PC which prepared the draft of a new Constitution. Once the work relating to the 21st Amendment is completed, a parliamentary select committee will be set up to study the report,” he said.
Rajapakshe added that a new Constitution will be enacted after the approval of the people at a referendum.