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Sampanthan files a petition in the SC challenging 20A

Sampanthan

Tamil National Alliance Leader R.Sampanthan has filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the 20th Amendment. The petition stated that the proposed 20A adversely impacted the sovereignty of the people and that the legislature and the judiciary were made subservient to the Executive.

The petition states:

“Clause 7 of the Bill repeals the entire Chapter VIII of the Constitution and replaces it with a new Chapter VIII. This would inter alia;

(a) Remove the security of tenure of the Prime Minister, as long as she/he holds the confidence of Parliament.

(b) Result in the position of Prime Minister to one of that which serves at the pleasure of the President.

(c) Remove the constitutional requirement that the President has to act on the advice of the Prime Minister when appointing from among Members of Parliament, Ministers, to be in charge of the Ministries determined by him.

(d) Remove the constitutional requirement that the President has to act on the advice of the Prime Minister when appointing from among Members of Parliament, Ministers who shall not be members of the Cabinet of Ministers.

(e) Remove the constitutional requirement that the President has to act on the advice of the Prime Minister when appointing from among Members of Parliament, Deputy Ministers to assist Ministers of the Cabinet of Ministers in the performance of their duties.

(f) Remove the constitutional requirement that the President has to act on the advice of the Prime Minister when removing a Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers, a Minister who is not a member of the Cabinet of Ministers or a Deputy Minister.

(g) Remove the constitutional limitations on the total number of Ministers of the Cabinet of Ministers, the number of Ministers who are not members of the Cabinet of Ministers and Deputy Ministers.

Clause 14 of the Bill would provide the President power to decide when to dissolve Parliament at any time after the lapse of one year from the date of the last General Election, except in certain limited situations.

The impact of clauses 7 and 14 of the Bill is that the President will have full control over Parliament and be able to determine when Parliament should be dissolved. Such clauses would weaken the Parliament’s role of being an effective check on the President, paving the way to a situation where Parliament will be at the whim and fancy of the Executive. Such a trend can lead to the violation of the separation of powers, erode the rule of law and undermine the sovereignty of the People.

The provisions in Clauses 7 & 14 of the Bill derogate from and infringe the provisions of Article 3 of the Constitution.

Clause 17 repeals Article 91(1)(d)(xiii) of the Constitution which provides that “a citizen of Sri Lanka who is also a citizen of any other country” is disqualified from being elected as a Member of Parliament. By virtue of Article 92(b) this provision also disqualifies such a person from being elected as President of the Republic. The proposed clause will therefore remove the constitutional restriction of dual citizens from contesting elections for the post of President and to be elected a Member of Parliament, allowing a situation where citizens of another country to hold elected office in Sri Lanka.

The inclusion of such a clause will pave the way for individuals who may have loyalties to another country and possess assets and interests in another country to be elected to key offices in Sri Lanka. It may thus lead to an unfortunate situation where those having divided loyalties and unable to prioritise Sri Lanka and the interests of the People of Sri Lanka holding elected office in Sri Lanka. Clause 17 of Bill therefore derogates from and infringes the provisions of Article 3 of the Constitution.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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