22A presented to Parliament

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The much awaited 22nd Amendment to the Constitution was presented to Parliament yesterday (10) by Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe.

Cabinet approved the draft 22nd Amendment to the Constitution last week.

The Justice Minister, on a previous occasion, said several democratic and progressive clauses from the 19th and 20th Amendments to the Constitution are included in the 22nd Amendment.

The 19th Amendment to the Constitution, he said, gave the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader 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.

Furthermore, according to the present 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.

However, he said with the passage of the 22nd 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 public has only seven days to challenge any Bill in the Supreme Court for violating the Constitution. Following the enhancement of the 22nd Amendment, the public will have 14 days to challenge any Bill in the Supreme Court,” he said.

By Gagani Weerakoon and Methmalie Dissanayake