Several clauses from 19A and 20A in 22A – Wijeyadasa

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Several democratic and progressive clauses from the 19th and 20th Amendments to the Constitution are included in the 22nd Amendment, Minister of Justice, Prison Affairs, and Constitutional Reforms Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said yesterday (2).

He said, the Cabinet approved the draft 22nd Amendment to the Constitution. Accordingly, the amendment will be tabled in Parliament soon.

The 19th Amendment to the Constitution, he said, gave the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition the authority to appoint three Members of Parliament to the Constitutional Council.

However, with the new amendment, the Speaker will oversee such appointments, and the three MPs will represent the main ruling party, the main opposition party, and minor parties in Parliament.

According to Rajapakshe, the new amendment is more progressive than the 19th Constitutional Amendment.

According to the current law, the President can appoint the Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka without consulting any faction, and the clause was not amended even through the 19th Amendment, according to Dr. Rajapakshe.

However, he noted that with the passage of the 22nd Constitutional Amendment, the President will be required to consult with the Constitutional Council before appointing the Central Bank Governor.

“The President was able to hold three Ministries following the 19th Amendment, but the provision was removed following the last election. However, the new Constitutional Amendment includes a provision requiring the President to hold the Defence Ministry portfolio. At the moment, the general public has only seven days to challenge any Bill in the Supreme Court for violating the Constitution. Following the enhancement of the 22nd Constitutional Amendment, the public will have 14 days to challenge any bill in the Supreme Court,” he said.

He also said the government intends to introduce a separate anti-corruption bill. According to the Minister, several changes will be made to the current Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Law, No. 1 of 1975.

BY Thameenah Razeek