Government to move minor amendments to 20 A at Committee Stage

20th Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka

The amendments the Government intends to move to the Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution (20A) Bill at its Committee Stage will include increasing the period that must elapse before the President may use his powers to dissolve Parliament to two-and-a-half years, while in the draft 20A Bill, the President could dissolve Parliament after a year.

Another amendment will be to increase the members of the Election Commission from three to five, and to make one of its members a retired officer of the Department of Elections or Election Commission, who has held office as a Deputy Commissioner of Elections or above.

The other members will be those who have distinguished themselves in any profession or in the fields of administration or education.

The clause dealing with the appointment of the Auditor-General is to be amended, so as to make the appointee a qualified Auditor, and also to bring the Office of the Secretary to the President and the Office of the Secretary to the Prime Minister under the oversight of the Auditor-General. These two were excluded from the 20A draft Bill.

A new section will be added to Clause 57 to make “All applications instituted under Article 126 against the Attorney-General in respect of anything done or omitted to be done by the President in his official capacity and ending on the day immediately preceding the date of commencement of their Act shall be continued and disposed of accordingly.”

The Article on the powers and functions of the President will also be amended to include the words, “To ensure the creation of proper conditions for the conduct of free and fair elections, at the request of the Election Commission.”

(Source: Daily FT)