Connect with us


MPs nominated to Sri Lanka’s parliamentary committee on public finance

Share with your friends:

ECONOMYNEXT –  Sri Lanka’s newly proposed 22nd amendment to the constitution, while being based on the 19th amendment, will transcend the latter’s democratic features while also retaining the more progressive aspects of the 20th amendment, Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said.

In a press briefing held on Wednesday August 10, Rajapakshe summarised some key features of the proposed amendment.

Constitutional Assembly 

“The basic features of the 19th amendment are all there. Mainly, reestablishing the Constitutional Assembly which has the power to approve appointments of High Court judges and higher government officials, and appoint members to Commissions,” he said.

Unlike in the 19th amendment, he said, the three members of the Constitutional Assembly from parliament would not be selected by the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader.

Instead, one member will be appointed by and of the ruling party, one by and of the main opposition, and one member from the majority appointment from and of the other parties.

The three civilian members of the Constitutional Council will be appointed by the Speaker with the approval of parliament without intervention by the Prime Minister or Opposition Leader.

“As in the 19th amendment, the Police Commission, Public Service Commission, Election Commission and Bribery Commission will be independent institutions,” he said.

The Public Procurement Commission and Audit Services Commission, which were dissolved by the 20th Amendment, will be re-established by the 22nd Amendment.

“These Commissions were established because most corruption in the governing process happens during audits and procurement processes,” said Rajapakshe.

Appointment of Central Bank Governor

The Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) is to be appointed by the President with the approval of the Constitutional Council.

“There was justified discourse surrounding the appointment of the Central Bank Governor,” said Rajapakshe.

“[Previous Governors] Arjuna Mahendran and Ajith Nivaard Cabraal worked in an arbitrary manner to destroy the country’s economy, and because the impact on the economy is so great, steps had to be taken [regarding the appointment of CBSL governors],” he claimed.

President’s ministerial positions

The 22nd Amendment aims to restrict the president’s ministerial portfolios to just the Defence Ministry via interim arrangements, while the 19th Amendment granted them authority over the Environment and Mahaweli ministries too.

Rajapakshe said the Defence Ministry must remain with the President, as the country’s security comes under their responsibility according to previous Supreme Court rulings.

“Under the 22nd Amendment, until a Minster is appointed, the President must take responsibility of the respective Ministry. Additionally, in case of emergency, the President can take over a Ministry on the advice of the PM,” he said.

Opportunity for Public to engage in legislative process

Bills proposed in Parliament can be contested in the Supreme Court, and this can be done within 14 days of the Bill’s presentation.

“The public has the right to contest if a Bill proposed in Parliament is Constitutional or not. To enact those rights, the public must do so within seven days of presentation of the bill. We have increased that to 14 days, to give the people more opportunity to take part in the legislative process,” said Rajapakshe.

Action against Bribery and Corruption

Under the 22nd Amendment, Sri Lanka will establish laws to carry out the provisions of the United Nations Convention against Corruption and other international conventions regarding bribery and corruption.

“Though there was [a similar provision] in the 19th amendment, no laws were created. The Anti Corruption bill has already been created, it will be further studied in the coming weeks,” said Rajapakshe.

The Bribery and Corruption Commission Law and Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Law will also be updated, he said.

Ministry secretary posts

Under the 22nd Amendment, ministry Secretaries will retain their positions even after the dissolution of the cabinet.

These seven features are special as ones that go beyond 19A.

It has been added that dual citizens are not qualified for ministerial positions.

According to Rajapakshe, the 22nd Amendment, if passed, will be named as the 21st Constitutional Amendment.

He said that dubbing the 22nd Amendment, “19+” did not do justice to the scope of the progressive changes that were to be made.

“You cannot give a narrow definition to this amendment. It’s not plus or minus anything. We have included some advanced democratic features that were not in the 19th amendment in this one.” (Colombo/Aug10/2022)

Continue Reading

Source link

0 Users (0 votes)
Best article0
What people say... Leave your rating
Sort by:

Be the first to leave a review.

{{{review.rating_comment | nl2br}}}

Show more
{{ pageNumber+1 }}
Leave your rating

Your browser does not support images upload. Please choose a modern one

Share with your friends:
Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.