Executive Presidency retained; CC reintroduced


The 22nd Amendment Bill to the Constitution gazetted on Wednesday (29 June) proposes a Constitutional Council (CC) made up of the Prime Minister, the Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition in the House of Representatives, one Member of Parliament chosen by the President and five additional individuals also chosen by the President.

The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution was presented to the Cabinet by Justice Minister Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe. The Cabinet approved the Bill last week.

However, the Executive Presidency has not been abolished by the Amendment. The CC, which would suggest appointments to all Independent Commissions, has been reinstated.

The Amendment says the Speaker shall be the Chairman of the Council and the Council reflects the pluralistic character of Sri Lankan society, including professional and social diversity and that every member of the Council appointed shall hold office for a period of three years from the date of appointment unless the member resigns their office by writing addressed to the President or is removed from office by the President on a resolution passed by the majority of the Members of Parliament.

The President would appoint the Chairmen and the members of the Commissions as specified within fourteen days of receiving the recommendations of the Council for such appointments.

All the Commissions such as the Election Commission, the Public Service Commission, The National Police Commission, the Audit Service Commission, the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption, the Finance Commission, the Delimitation Commission, the National Procurement Commission other than the Election Commission, shall be responsible and answerable to Parliament.

In the discharge of its function relating to the appointment of Judges of the Supreme Court and the President and Judges of the Court of Appeal, the Council shall obtain the views of the Chief Justice.

The 22nd Amendment also states that all matters relating to the appointment, promotion, transfer, disciplinary control and dismissal of members of the Sri Lanka State Audit Service and pending before the Public Service Commission on the day preceding the date on which this Act comes into operation, shall, with effect from that date, stand transferred to the Audit Service Commission established by Article 153A and shall be determined by the Audit Service Commission accordingly.

Also, the Amendment says that the Parliament shall by law provide for the establishment of a Commission to investigate allegations of bribery or corruption but the

Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption Act, No. 19 of 1994 shall apply, subject to the modification that it shall be lawful for the Commission appointed under that Act, to inquire into, or investigate, an allegation of bribery or corruption, whether on its own motion or on a written complaint made to it.

By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan