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20A draft not perfect; any mistakes can be ironed out at committee stage: Gammanpila

ECONOMYNEXT – The draft 20th amendment to Sri Lanka’s constitution is not perfect and any mistakes can be ironed out at the committee stage and over the two-week period till the draft is tabled in parliament, co-cabinet spokesman Minister Udaya Gammanpila said.

“Just like nobody is perfect and nothing is perfect, the 20th amendment’s draft is also not perfect,” Gammanpila told reporters at the weekly cabinet press briefing today.

The Energy Minister was responding to a question about a letter written by the pro-government Federation of National Organisations (FNO) to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa last week, requesting a review of the draft amendment.

FNO Convenor Dr Gunadasa Amarasekara writing to the president earlier this week made a number of recommendations pertaining to the amendment, including a request to reverse a proposal to change the number of days a bill is accessible to the public.

The proposed 20th amendment seeks to reduce the period of time between a bill being published in the gazette and being placed on the parliament’s order paper, from 14 days to seven. Critics as well as the pro-Rajapaksa FNO noted that this would give insufficient time for legislators to read, understand and propose further amendments..

Further, Gammanpila said that after the completion of two weeks’ period the Minister of Justice will tabled draft at the parliament for the first reading and then a week is constitutionally challenge it in Supreme Court.

Gammanila told reporters that changes cannot be made to a draft every time mistakes are pointed out but added that the government has the opportunity to make amendments at the committee stage after listening to the opinions of the Supreme Court and the public. (Colombo/Sept10/2020)

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