ECONOMYNEXT- Opposition activist, Attorney at Law Harshana Nanayakkara is saying that the 20th Amendment to the Constitution if enacted, will take Sri Lanka back to the Stone Age.
Nanayakkara, who represents the Lawyers of the opposition National Peoples’ Power alliance, told reporters that the 20A has given the power to the President to kick away the mandate given by the people to the elected parliament.
This is because the President can dissolve the parliament a year from the date it is elected.
“The entire amendment is made in a way where the parliament is converted to just a rubber stamp as the powers of the House is taken by the President,” he said.
He went on to say that in any developed country there is a division of power among the executive, legislature and judiciary.
But he added according to the 20A the power of appointing the Chief Justice, Judges to Court of Appeal and members to the Judicial Service Commission is given to the President.
The Lawyer also said that before 20A, there was a mandatory period of 14 days between the bringing of a Bill to Parliament and when it is voted on.
Under the new proposal, this period has been shortened to 7 days giving insufficient time for legislators to read, understand and propose amendments, he says.
“The other new one is if the cabinet decided the Act has national importance then it could be made law within 72 hours without even gazetting only with the approval of the Chief Justice,” he added.
Every word in the constitution affects the people of this country but the thing is that it will be felt by people only when the damage is done.
“I would clearly say there is not even one citizen in the country who is educated enough or disciplined enough who would not be corrupted by this amount of power in their hands,” Nanayakkara said. (Colombo/Sept7/2020)
Reported by Imesh Ranasinghe