Govt ready for 20A draft amendments | Daily News
Opinions of all are welcome - Minister

Govt ready for 20A draft amendments

The Government yesterday said that it will accommodate further amendments to the 20th Amendment to the Constitution at the Committee Stage in Parliament if required.

Co-Cabinet Spokesman and Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila said the Justice Minister will table the Bill to provide for the 20th Amendment in Parliament for the first reading after the completion of two weeks from publishing it in the Gazette.

“Then there is a week to constitutionally challenge it before the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court will also inform which Articles need to be amended and whether any of them will require a Referendum. Depending on the Supreme Court’s determination, the Committee appointed to draft the 20th Amendment will make further amendments to the draft Bill as required,” Gammanpila said.

He made these observations responding to a query by a journalist at the weekly Cabinet media briefing held at the Government Information Department yesterday.

Commenting on recent opinions on the Draft 20th Amendment by Dr Gunadasa Amarasekara, Prof Nalin de Silva and President Counsel Manohara de Silva, Minister Gammanpila said the government respects them and is ready to listen to their opinions as well as the opinions of the public.

The 20th Amendment Bill was gazetted on September 3 following Cabinet approval.

“It’s a progressive decision taken by the government to give a two-week period for public opinions till the draft is tabled in Parliament. Any mistakes in the draft amendment can be corrected at the committee stage. Just like nobody is perfect and nothing is perfect, so the same is applicable to the draft 20th amendment and it is also not a perfect one,”Gammanpila said.

Several Opposition parties and pro-government groups have voiced their opposition against certain Clauses of the draft. The minister said that any shortcomings of the 20th Amendment would be addressed at the Committee Stage debate in Parliament, after listening to the opinions of the Supreme Court and the public.

Responding a question by a journalist with regard to a statement by Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa claiming that the proposed amendment to the constitution is a first step towards a dictatorship, Cabinet Spokesman Mass Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said as the opposition leader it is his democratic right to make such a statement.

“The final decision on the matter will be taken by obtaining the two thirds majority in Parliament and the government is confident of obtaining a two thirds majority in Parliament to pass the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution,” he added.