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We urge SC to rule that the 20A Bill is unconstitutional in its entity… Sumanthiran

Sumanthiran

President’s Cousel M.A.Sumanthiran has urged the Supreme Court to rule that the entirety of the 20 th Amendment Bill was unconstitutional, and declare that it could not be enacted into law.

President’s Counsel M.A. Sumanthiran made this plea during his submissions before the Supreme Court hearing the petitions that challenge the 20 A Bill. He was appearing for the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) and its Executive Director Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu.

Sumanthiran in his submissions pleaded:

“ The entirety of the Bill is unconstitutional, and is in violation of the fundamental principles which make up the bedrock of the Constitution.

Legislative power cannot be transferred. However, certain provisions of this Bill weaken the legislative power and concentrate that power on the President. That is, the President can pass a bill that is rejected by the legislature through a referendum. It violates the sovereignty of the people. The sovereignty of the people cannot be taken away in this way.

The provisions of 20A to allow the President to refer a Bill rejected by Parliament to people at a referendum will strengthen the hands of the Executive like nowhere else in the world, and set up a super position where the person is immune and unaccountable.

Supreme Court in its determination on the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution, held that the transfer of power attributed to one organ of Government to another organ or body would be inconsistent with Article 3, read with Article 4 of the Constitution. 20A seeks to transfer various powers from organ to another.

When the Bill is taken as a whole, it is a clear attempt to shift power from one organ of Government to another. The evolutionary process of a Constitution must be progressive and not regressive.

The provisions of 20A to allow the President to refer a Bill rejected by Parliament to people at a referendum will strengthen the hands of the Executive like nowhere else in the world, and set up a super position where the person is immune and unaccountable.

We urge the Court to rule the entirety of the Bill is unconstitutional, and declare that it cannot be enacted into law.”

The five judge Supreme Court Bench comprised Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, Justices Buwaneka Aluwihare, Sisira de Abrew, Priyantha Jayawardena and Vijitha Malalgoda.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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