An Echelon Media Company
Thursday July 18th, 2024

Unprecedented 39 petitions challenge 20th Amendment before Supreme Court

ECONOMYNEXT – The Supreme Court this morning September 29, will begin proceedings to hear Fundamental Rights applications filed by an unprecedented 39 individuals and organisations against the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution.

Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, Justices Buveneka Aluwihare, Sisira de Abrew, Priyantha Jayawardana and Vijith Malalgoda are in the bench, the courts have announced.

The initial decision for the Apex Court will be to decide on Leave to Proceed, that is whether the petitions will be heard.

The 20A seeks to remove the Independent Commissions and other checks and balances to the power of the Presidency introduced by the 19th Amendment which was passed during the last government.

Concerns have been raised that the proposal will undermine judicial independence and the Audit Commission.

The 20A seeks to restore power to the Executive to the level that was present in the 1978 Constitution passed by the United National Party government headed by J R Jayewardene.

It proposes to take significant powers away from the Prime Minister and hand it over to the Presidency.

Over the years through the 17th Amendment and the 19th Amendment some of the powers of the Presidency have been whittled down, as successive electoral mandates have been interpreted as being against the powers vested in the Executive.

However, the current government which has won a historic majority in Parliament, as well as the preceding Presidential Elections which saw Gotabaya Rajapaksa garner a million votes plus more than his challenger believes the mandate they have received, calls for a strengthened Presidency.

The petitions have been filed by political parties, Human Rights activists and Watchdog Groups.

Opposition Members protest the 20A in Parliament

Leading the charge against the 20A is the main Opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) which has filed several applications.

Among petitioners is the General Secretary of the SJB Ranjith Madduma Bandara, Member of Parliament Mayantha Dissanayake and youth leaders Attorney Lihini Fernando and Rasika Jayakody.

“We’re correctly aligned for our role in history,” Jayakody posted on Social Media.

The United National Party, a shadow of its former self, has filed two petitions, one by Deputy Leader Ruwan Wijewardene and another by General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam.

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) will also make an intervention after the Bar Council, decided on Saturday to intervene, a legal official said amid concerns over judicial independence and absolute immunity for the president as a person, as well as his acts.

The proposed amendment aims to remove room now available to challenge the acts of the President through a fundamental rights application.

Yesterday the Chairman of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) said the 20A is being introduced to ensure that a situation such as the security lapses that led to the Easter Sunday attacks does not recur.

Education Minister Prof G L Peiris told reporters that recent testimony led before the Presidential Commission probing the attacks make it clear that the information about the attacks which had been received by the authorities had not been directed to the right people at the right time.

“This was because of the power struggle between the Prime Minister and the President of that time which had been created by the 19th Amendment.”

The SJB Leader Sajith Premadasa has said that the 20A has been proposed by the President to resolve the power struggle between Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and President Rajapaksa.
(Colombo, September 29, 2020)
Reported by Arjuna Ranawana

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment

Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sri Lanka to conduct threat assessments for presidential candidates

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe has submitted a cabinet paper proposing security measures for presidential candidates and former presidents, following the recent attack on former US President Donald Trump during a campaign rally in the USA.

“This proposal suggests the appointment of a committee to conduct threat assessments and provide necessary security for Presidential candidates as well as former Presidents,” a statement from his media division said.

The committee will include the Secretary of the Ministry of Public Security as Chair, the Chief of Defence Staff, the Inspector General of Police, the Chief of National Intelligence, and the Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police/Elections.

A Deputy Inspector General of Police will be appointed to oversee all security arrangements.

The committee and the designated officer will work closely with the Election Commission to ensure seamless coordination of security arrangements, the PMD said.

After today, July 17, Sri Lanka’s Election Committee is empowered to announce a date for the presidential polls due to be held this year.

Minister of Foreign Affairs M U M Ali Sabry has said the election will be held on October 5 or 12.

Members of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) have said that the government should be accountable for the security of Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa, the SJB’s presidential candidate. (Colombo/Jul17/2024)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka rupee closes flat at 303.80/304.00 to US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed almost flat at 303.80/304.00 to the US dollar on Wednesday, from 303.70/304.00 to the US dollar on Tuesday, dealers said, while bond yields were down.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed at 10.60/75 percent, down from 10.82/92 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2027 closed at 11.60/38 percent, down from 11.65/75 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2028 closed at 11.72/78 percent, down from 11.80/90 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed at 12.05/10 percent, down from 12.05/20 percent. (Colombo/Jul17/2024)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka stocks close down, John Keells, Hemas, Hayleys push turnover

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed down on Wednesday, data on its site showed.

The broader All Share Index closed down 0.41 percent, or 48.44 points, at 11,830; while the more liquid S&P SL20 Index closed down 0.52 percent, or 17.91 points, at 3,456.

Turnover was 1.2 million. A big part of this (Rs597mn) came from John Keells Holdings Plc (down at 194.25).

“There was foreign buying interest on John Keells and Hemas,” Softlogic Stockbrokers said.

“We saw foreign interest in selective counters persist.”

Hemas Holdings Plc contributed Rs143mn to the turnover, and the share closed down at 81.10.

Hayleys Plc contributed Rs156mn to the turnover, and the share closed up at 101.50.

The three crossings made up 67 percent of the turnover.

The capital goods counters, with all the bluechips, was the leading sector contributing to the day’s turnover.

With the exception of Hayleys and a couple of other companies, the counter saw most stocks close down or flat.

Sentiment around the banking counters also remained negative.

“The volatility in investor sentiments persisted. There are a lot of spectators in the market over the last few weeks, despite some positive news coming in.”

Treasury bill and bond rates have also dropped.

The top contributors to the ASPI were Melstacorp Plc (up at 86.00), SMB Finance Plc (up at 0.70), and TeeJay Lanka Plc (up at 40.00).

There was a net foreign inflow of 392 million. (Colombo/Jul17/2024)

Continue Reading