Ven. Rathana Thero sets ultimatum for 19th Amendment

Ven. Rathana Thero sets ultimatum for 19th Amendment

Written by Ramesh Irugalbandara

15 Oct, 2014 | 1:39 pm

The current Sri Lankan constitution was introduced in 1978 by then President J.R. Jayawardene. Since then there have been eighteeen amendments made to the Sri Lankan Constitution.

On Tuesday, October 14,  an event was held in Colombo to launch the proposed 19th Amendment to the constitution. The 19th Amendment is proposed by MP Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thero of the JHU. The proposal was launched with a view of establishing public dialogue on democracy, good governance and national reconciliation. The event was attended by a political party leaders, ministers and other civil society representatives

MP Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thero speaking at the event noted that this amendment to the constitution should be implemented prior to holding an election, he added that failure on the part of the President to do so will force them to do everything in their power to defeat him.

The Venerable thero speaking further at the event confessed that the vote approving the 18th Amendment to the constitution was wrong.  Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thero also stated that the current government is acting according to the wishes of the one individual, one family and a handful of government officials.

Speaking on the rumoured presidential election the venerable thero pointed out that the dates of any election should be finalised according to the law of the country and should not be done by astrologers, he advised that adhering to such practices is not an intelligent strategy..

Draft Proposal

The draft amendment proposes that the term of the office of the president will commence on the date on which the results of the presidential election are announced.

It also proposes that any President who comes into office ceases to be a member of any political party and will be disqualified from being nominated as a candidate at any subsequent election to the office of president.

The draft also proposes the creation of a constitutional council which will consist of the Prime Minister, Speaker, Leader of the Opposition, Presidential representative and six MPs.

It also calls for the creation of an executive committee for each ministry inorder to advise the minister. The draft also calls for the implementation to the right of access of information

Civil Society Comments

Speaking at the event Former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva noted that the constitution should never be amended for the benefit of an individual or party with selfish aspirations.

President of the BASL Attorney-at Law Upul Jayasuriya notes that the country is gradually moving towards one extreme. He described the constitutional powers of the executive as a tragedy to the nation. According to Upul Jayasuruya the breakdown of the rule of law will give rise to the rule of the individual and notes that the country cannot be governed in a democratic manner through the rule of an individual.

Previous Amendments

  •  First Amendment to the Constitution

Certified on:          20.11.1978

Main Objective: Make provisions that Jurisdiction conferred on the Court of Appeal shall be exercised by the Supreme Court and not by the Court of Appeal.

  • Second Amendment to the Constitution

Certified on:          26.02.1979

Main Objective: Create new laws on resignation and expulsion of Members of the First Parliament.

 

  • Third Amendment to the Constitution

Certified on:          27.08.1982

Main Objective: Make provision for the President to seek a fresh mandate to continue in office for a second term at any time after the completion of 4 years of the term of the term of office;

  • Fourth Amendment to the Constitution

Certified on:          23.12.1982

Main Objective: to make provision for the first Parliament to continue until August 04, 1989.

  • Fifth Amendment to the Constitution

Certified on:          25.22.1983

Main Objective: Amendment of Article 161 – Re vacancies in the first Parliament; By-Election to be held if the Secretary of the Political Party failed to nominate a Member.

  • Sixth Amendment to the Constitution

Certified on:          08.08.1983

Main Objective:  Insertion of Article 157A – prohibition against violation of territorial integrity of Sri Lanka.

  • Seventh Amendment to the Constitution

Certified on:          04.10.1983

Main Objective: Creation of Kilinochchi Administrative District (25th);

Insertion of Article 111A – Appointment of the Commissioners of the High Court.

  • Eighth Amendment to the Constitution

Certified on:          06.03.1984

Main Objective: To vest in the President the power of appointment of Senior Attorneys-at-Law as President’s Counsel

Insertion of Article 169A; Provisions relating to Queen’s Counsel and Senior Attorneys-at-Law.

  • Ninth Amendment to the Constitution

Certified on:          24.01.1984

Main Objective: Amendment of Article 91 – To adjust the salary scale matters in regard to political rights of public servants.

  • Tenth Amendment to the Constitution

Certified on:          06.08.1986

Main Objective: Amendment of Section 155 – To repeal paragraphs (8) and (9) – To remove the requirement of a two-third majority for a Proclamation on the Public Security Ordinance.

  • Eleventh Amendment to the Constitution

Certified on:          06.05.1987

Main Objective: To enable Parliament to vest in the High Court any jurisdiction and powers in addition to its present criminal jurisdiction;

To empower Judicial Services Commission to make rules in respect of scheduled public officers as well;

  • Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution

(Not enacted)

  • Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution

Certified on:          14.11.1987

Main Objective: To make provisions for the establishment of a Provincial Council for each Province; for the establishment of a High Court for each Province; and to make Tamil an official language and English the link language.

  • Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution

Certified on:          24.05.1988

Main Objective : To increase the membership of the Parliament from 196 to 225, where the additional 29 Members will be elected in proportion to the national total of district votes received by each party;To provide for proportional representation.

  • Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution

Certified on:          17.12.1988

Main Objective : To reduce the cut-off point acceptable in proportional representation system from 12 ½ percent to 5 percent;

to eliminate zoning and re-introduction of the Electoral District.

  • Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution

Certified on:          17.12.1988

Main Objective : Amendment of Articles 20 and 24 – to include “Members of Provincial Councils” and the “Provincial Councils” in Article 20;

To make Sinhala and Tamil, the languages of Courts;

Replacement of Articles 22 and 23 – to make Sinhala and Tamil, the languages of administration;

  • Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution

Certified on:          03.10.2001

Main Objective : To make provisions for the constitutional council and Independent commissions

  • Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution

Certified on : 8.09.2010

Main Objective : To remove the sentence that mentioned the limit of re-election of the President

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