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Enactment of 20A will pave way for monstrous govt: Manohara

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President's Counsel Manohara de Silva has observed that the enactment of 20 A will pave the way for the establishment of a monstrous government in the country.

He made this observation in his submission before Court during the hearing of Petitions challenging the constitutionality of the Bill 20.

The Bench comprised Justices Sisira J. de Abrew, Prasanna S. Jayawardena and Murdu N. B. Fernando.

Counsel Manohara submitted that the said Bill was presented by JVP Gampaha District MP Vijitha Herath to the Parliament as a private Bill on 5 September to amend the present Constitution to curtail some of the powers of the Executive Presidency provided by the 18th Amendment. The power to the Executive President is presently vested by the People, not by the Cabinet of Ministers.

He further submitted that the Bill provides both the President and the Cabinet of Ministers to exercise executive power and that is an encroachment of the executive power of the President. It needs to be understood that it is to make the President as ceremonial President or Head of the State. The Bill provides executive power to two organs to exercise it independently, and there is a fundamental shift of power to parallel two organs to exercise executive power, totally altering the present structure of the Constitution.

He argued that there is no provision in the Bill that the President is a part of the Cabinet of Ministers and not even a member of the Cabinet, and that if the Bill is enacted, the President can continue to exercise his executive power without the advice of the Prime Minister, in particular take decisions without the consent of the Cabinet of Ministers. As per the new Bill, the President does not make the statement of the Government, and the people do not know which direction the country is heading for.

Counsel Manohara de Silva PC appeared for Petitioner Udaya Gammanpilla of Pivituru Hela Urumaya, challenging the constitutionality of said Bill.

Sanjeeva Jayawardena PC appeared for intervenient Petitioner Ven. Iththekande Sadhatissa Thera.
Dharshan Weraduwage appeared for Jayantha Samaraweera MP from Wimal Weerawansa's Jathika Nidhahas Peramuna.

Petitioners seek from the Court the determination that the Bill violates Article 3 (...in the Republic of Sri Lanka, sovereignty is in the people and is inalienable. Sovereignty includes the power of government, fundamental rights and the franchise).

They also seek a determination that the Bill infringes Article 4 (exercise of sovereignty) and Article 30(2), (...the President of the Republic shall be elected by the people, and shall hold office for a term of six years).

 

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