21st Amendment: Supreme Court says some clauses inconsistent

21st amendment in Sri Lanka Parliament

The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka has directed its determination on the bill titled the 21st Amendment to the Constitution to the Speaker of Parliament.

The Supreme Court has determined that several clauses of the proposed 21st Amendment to the Constitution are inconsistent with several articles of the Constitution.

Speaker of House Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said the Supreme Court has accordingly determined that such clauses can be passed only by a special majority in Parliament and after a public referendum.

The bill was challenged in the Supreme Court in terms of Article 120 (1) (1) of the constitution.

The following determinations were made by the Supreme Court:

1. Clause Number 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28, and 36 of the bill contain provisions inconsistent with Article 3 read together with Article 4 (B) of the constitution and such may be enacted only by the Special Majority required by Article 84 (2) and upon being approved by the people at a referendum by virtue of Article 83.

2. Clauses 2, 3, and 4 of the Bill are inconsistent with Article 3 read together with Article 4 (E) of the constitution and as such may be enacted only by the Special Majority required by Article 84 (2) and upon being approved by the people at a referendum by virtue of Article 83.

3. Clause Number 14 of the bill, as it presently stands, is consistent with Article 3 read together with Article 4 (B) of the constitution and as such may be enacted only by the Special Majority required by Article 84 (2) and upon being approved by the people at a referendum by virtue of Article 83.

However, the necessity of the referendum will cease if the proposed Article 41 (a) (1) provides for the President to appoint one person as a member of the council as his nominee.

If the proposed Article (41 (a) (6) is suitably amended to remove the provision,

4. Clause Number 19 of the Bill is consistent with Article 3 read together with Article 4 (B) of the constitution and as such may be enacted only by the Special Majority required by Article 84 (2) and upon being approved by the people at a referendum by virtue of Article 83.

5. Clause Number 30 (a) of the Bill seeks to limit the Judicial Power of the People. Therefore it is consistent with Article 3 read together with Article 4 (C) & 4 (E) of the constitution and as such may be enacted only by the Special Majority required by Article 84 (2) and upon being approved by the people at a referendum by virtue of Article 83.

6. Clause Number 39 of the Bill is so far as it seeks to repeal Article 129 (1) of the constitution is consistent with Article 3 read together with Article 4 (C) of the constitution and as such may be enacted only by the Special Majority required by Article 84 (2) and upon being approved by the people at a referendum by virtue of Article 83.

7. Clause Number 43 of the Bill is inconsistent with Articles 2 & 3 of the constitution read together with Article 4 (B) of the constitution and as such may be enacted only by the Special Majority required by Article 84 (2) and upon being approved by the people at a referendum by virtue of Article 83.

8. Clause Number 51 of the Bill seek Intr-Alia to introduce Chapter 19 (c) titled ‘National Security Council’ of which the Prime Minister is to be the Chairperson. The proposed Article 156 (j) (1) & 156 (j) (2) are inconsistent with Articles 1, 2, and 3, read together with Article 4 (B) of the constitution, and as such may be enacted only by the Special Majority required by Article 84 (2) and upon being approved by the people at a referendum by virtue of Article 83.

However, the necessity of the referendum will cease if the proposed Articles 156 (j) (1) & 156 (j) (2) are amended to change the proposed composition of the National Security Council and make the President the Chairperson of the proposed council.

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