Proposed 20th Amendment erodes Parliament, Judiciary independence - NPP | Daily News


 

Proposed 20th Amendment erodes Parliament, Judiciary independence - NPP

The National People’s Power (NPP) yesterday complained that the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution could seriously erode the independence of Parliament and the Judiciary. The lawyers in support of the NPP made these observations at a NPP press brief held in Pitakotte yesterday (6).

They accused that the 20th Amendment Bill could turn Parliament into a rubber stamp. Speaking at the press brief, Attorney Sunil Watagala observed, “At present the 20th Amendment to the Constitution has been gazetted.

 The 20th has been brought to repeal the 19th Amendment completely. We wonder whether the 20th Amendment is being used to bulldoze democracy. The independence of Parliament and the independence of the judiciary have been compromised. The Cabinet and MPs have been relegated back put and the President has become powerful.The Prime Minister’s authority has been turned into a blank slate.” Watagala said Article 28E of the Constitution states that the Constitution is bound to respect the rights of others and the freedom of all. But this amendment has blatantly violated the sovereignty of Parliament. A law has been brought that allows laws to be passed within 24 hours. People have been deprived of the opportunity to seek redress in court and seek an opinion on those laws. What kind of democracy is this? Especially the powers of the Auditor General have been abolished. The Audit Commission established under the 19th Amendment has been abolished. “Does this government say that an audit is not necessary?”Watagala queried.

He alleged that, according to the 20th Amendment, the oath of allegiance to the Constitution, which does not support a separate state, has been taken out by this amendment.

Pointing out that this is a very serious constitutional amendment, Watagala said “We are still studying this. At first glance, this is an amendment to Article 3 and 4 of the Constitution that would affect the sovereignty of the people. This amendment comes with a two third majority. But the people who voted did not believe that such anti-people, anti-democratic amendments would be brought.”

“This amendment is brought especially to consolidate the power of one family in the government. This is a very tragic situation.” Watagala added.

Attorney Harshana Nanayakkara observed that, “The Constitution is not just a document. It is the general consensus of the people of the country. That is why when the Constitution is changed, a two thirds majority in Parliament, and sometimes a referendum is required. In the past, humans have used various methods to control themselves. During the tribal and feudal eras, they followed different methods. In the tribal era, individual decisions were made by the leader. With the advancement of human civilization, steps were taken to adopt a collectively correct decision -making system.

“The constitutions of any country are formed by giving priority to the aspirations of the people. None of this was put on a tray by the rulers. It is through the struggle and struggle of the people that these democratic reforms were won. In such a situation, I see the 20th Amendment as a return to the Stone Age. This entire amendment is designed to make Parliament a mere rubber stamp.” Nanayakkara observed.