20A Debate likely in First Week of Nov
By W. K. Prasad Manju and J. T. de Silva
The Parliamentary debate on the draft 20th Amendment to the Constitution has been planned for the first week of November, a senior Government spokesman said.
He added the Government hopes to hold the debate and pass the 20th Amendment before presenting the Appropriation Bill to Parliament. The Appropriation Bill is expected to be presented in the second week of November.
Accordingly, the Government hopes to pass the 20th Amendment with a two-thirds majority after holding the debate from 3-6 November.
Another Cabinet Minister said, the proposals made by the committee appointed by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa regarding the 20th Amendment would be further discussed and presented at the Committee Stage of the Parliamentary debate.
He said, about 10 Parliamentarians of the Opposition have agreed to support the 20th Amendment. “The Government representatives held discussions with those MPs and they were very successful,” he added.
However, legal authorities pointed out that in the event the 20th Amendment is challenged in the Supreme Court after the First Reading, which is likely to be held on 22 September it would take at least three weeks until the Supreme Court gives its verdict on the matter. In such an eventuality, the debate will take place after the Supreme Court verdict.
The 20th Amendment will be included in the Order Paper on 22 September, and Justice Minister M.U.M. Ali Sabry, PC will read the Amendment in Parliament for the first time.