22A threat to Judiciary’s independence – Nagananda

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The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution abolishes the independence of the Judiciary and the powers vested in the Auditor General and the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) will be limited as well, said Attorney-at-Law Nagananda Kodituwakku.

The Supreme Court commenced hearing of the nine petitions challenging the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution yesterday (22) before the three-judge bench consisting of Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, Justices Buwaneka Aluvihare and Arjuna Obeysekera.

The hearings adjourned until today (23).  The petitions were filed in Supreme Court on 18 August, challenging certain provisions of the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution. Secretary of the ‘Vinivida Peramuna,’ Kodituwakku, who was among the petitioners, filed a Special Determination Petition with the Attorney General named as the respondent.

Other petitioners are G. Sooriyaarachchi, Captain Anil Sumesha Amarasekara, Tissa Bandara Ratnayake, H.S. Kumara, Herath Dissanayake, Jayantha Kulatunga, S.M. Thushan Devinda, Attorney-at-Law Nuwan Bellantudawe, Gunadasa Sooriyaarachchi Amarasekara, D.B. Dahanayake and Ven. Ananda Sagara Thera.   It was stated in the petition of Nagananda Kodituwakku that according to Article 41A (1) of the 22nd Amendment of the Constitution, there shall be a Constitutional Council comprising the Prime Minister, the Speaker, the Opposition Leader, an MP appointed by the President, two MPs nominated by both the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader, a professional nominated by the Organisation of Professional Associations of Sri Lanka, a person nominated by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, a professor of a State University nominated by the University Grants Commission, appointed by the President.

The petitioner further stated that the 22nd Amendment provides that the appointment of Judges to the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal could only be done upon the recommendations made by the President to the said Constitutional Council and upon the approval of the Constitutional Council which is an interference with judicial independence and would subject the Judiciary to be under the Executive.

Thereby, he sought an order declaring that the relevant provision is in contravention to Article 3 and 4 of the Constitution regarding sovereignty of the people and the exercise of the sovereignty and affects judicial independence, while requesting for notice to be issued on the Attorney General. The Petition was filed in accordance with Article 121 of the Constitution.

By Kamal Mahendra Weeraratne