The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) has responded to the proposed draft of the 21st Amendment to the Constitution.
Issuing a statement, the association said it is concerned that whilst the 21st Amendment will restore the provisions of the previous 19th Amendment with regards to the Constitutional Council and Independent Commissions, there are several vital provisions in the 19th Amendment which have not been incorporated into the draft Amendment.
The statement said the provisions of the 19th Amendment prevented the President from assigning to himself any subjects or functions adding that however, the draft Amendment does not incorporate such provisions.
As such, the Head of State will be able to continue to retain Ministries, assign any subjects and functions and also take over subjects and functions of any other Minister.
The statement added that the BASL is of the view that the 21st Amendment must include a provision amending Article 44(2) of the Constitution removing the President’s power to retain Ministries and assigning any subjects or functions.
“Such provisions must be made operative as soon as the draft Amendment is passed,” the statement read.
The association also noted the President’s powers to prorogue and dissolve Parliament are left intact, whereas the President could only dissolve the Parliament after four and a half years following a Parliamentary election through the 19th Amendment.
The BASL called for the provisions relating to the dissolution of Parliament to be restored.
Full Statement is as follows: