Statement of the National Joint Committee on the Report submitted by the Centre-Periphery Sub-Committee on Constitutional Reform
Posted on December 17th, 2016

The National Joint Committee Press Release

 The Government on the 19th of November presented to Parliament several reports of subcommittees appointed by them on constitutional reform, which includes reports on centre-periphery relations and police powers.

The subcommittee on centre-periphery relations was chaired by Mr Dharmalingam Siddharthan Member of Parliament. The report in its introduction states that the unitary character of the constitution is an impediment to the effective functioning of provincial councils. Mr. Dharmalingam Siddharthan has reiterated this position in an interview he had given to the Daily Mirror on 22nd of November. Therefore it appears that the approach of this subcommittee is to propose a structure which is federal in character. We are in total disagreement with this damaging approach and hence reject such an approach.

The National Joint Committee wish to place on record that we are against any attempt to change the unitary character of Sri Lanka. It needs to be said that the unitary character should not be limited to a mere label to deceive the public, but the contents of the constitution should be unitary in character.

In this regard it is necessary to point out that the structure introduced by the 13th Amendment has considerably eroded the supremacy and sovereignty of Parliament and thereby the unitary character of the State. Article 154 G(3) requires a majority of 2/3 of the members of Parliament to repeal or amend any statute passed by a Provincial Council, whereas it only needs a simple majority to repeal or amend its own laws. The Parliament would need a 2/3 majority to only amend the constitution and not amend ordinary laws, thus in effect we have elevated the laws made by Provincial Councils to that of constitutional provisions. Therefore Article 154 G (2) and (3) should be repealed forthwith.

The 13th Amendment gives to the Provincial Councils legislative and executive powers with regard to 73 subjects included in the provincial and concurrent lists, including police and land powers. It is necessary that Parliament should be able to repeal any legislation passed by a Provincial Council with a simple majority in the same way Parliament can repeal its own laws if it so desires in the National Interest. We therefore wish to state categorically that the impediments placed on the sovereignty of the people by the 13th Amendment should be removed forthwith and restore the unitary character of the State as it existed prior to the 13th Amendment. It is clear from the recommendation of this subcommittee that they are in a process of further deteriorating the unitary character of the State.

The subcommittee on centre-periphery relations has identified several provisions in the existing constitution which they are not agreeable to, in addition to their objection to the unitary character of the State, namely –

1) The concurrent list,

2) National Policy included in the reserve list,

3) Powers of the Governor

And

4) Fiscal control by the Centre.

We wish to point out that many countries that have devolved political power including India and South Africa, have included a concurrent list in their respective constitutions to enable the Centre to intervene against wrongful action of Provincial/regional Governments.

This is considered as a step in the right direction if we are to continue with a structure which devolves power. The concurrent list will provide an opportunity for the centre to intervene if the acts of Provincial Governments affect the rights of regional minorities.

We also wish to point out that we strongly object to any attempt to abolish the office of the Governor or to remove the executive powers vested in him, to enable the Provincial Board of Ministers to exercise executive power as they wish. Article 154 B (2) introduced by the13th Amendment provides for Presidential intervention through the office of Governor against any improper or illegal exercise of executive power by a Provincial Government. It is our view and strongly pursue that a Cabinet Minister be empowered to override any unlawful or improper action taken by a Provincial Minister.

There appears to be a move to do away with the powers of the Centre to decide on matters of National Policy in respect of all subjects. We note with regret that the attempt to take away powers of the Government to decide on matters of National Policy is also done with view to destroy the unitary character of the State and the sovereignty of the people. If this subcommittee had even a semblance of concern to stand up as one Nation, they would never have made such a proposal.

We wish to reiterate that the powers regarding fiscal policy should continue to remain with the Government of Sri Lanka. Any proposal made by this subcommittee to incorporate in the constitution a compulsory allocation from the national income to a Provincial Council is yet another attempt to destroy the unitary character of the State.

We also strongly object to Police and Land powers being granted to Provincial Councils as it will render law and order management and land management chaotic in the whole country and incorporating provisions into the constitution to amalgamate the Northern and Eastern provinces. The National Joint Committee strongly objects to the establishment of a constitutional court providing for ethnic representation. We do not consider that it is a prudent move to select judges and other holders of office based on their ethnicity.

Therefore we urge the Government of Sri Lanka to refrain from implementing these disastrous proposals made by this subcommittee in the preparation of a new constitution for Sri Lanka. We would after careful study, make a fuller statement on all the other proposals made by other subcommittees in the near future.

Yours sincerely,

National Joint Committee

Signed – Dr Anula Wijesundara – Joint President

Col. (rtd) Anil Amarasekera – Joint President

Dimuth Gunawardena – Hony. Secretary

Mr Pani Wewala – Adminstrative Secretary

Dr Ranjini Rathnapala – Hony. Treasurer

Mr Manohara de Silva (PC) -Exco Member

Dr. Lalithsiri Gunuruwan – Exco Member

Mr Gamini Gunawardena – Exco Member

Mr Gevindu Cumaratunga – Exco Member

Mr Neville Laduwahetty – Exco Member

Mr Kulathunga Rajapakse – Exco Member

Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara – Exco Member

Dr P. G Punchihewa – Exco Member

Mr S. P. Weerasekara – Exco Member

Mr Tilak Godamanne – Exco Member

 

 

6 Responses to “Statement of the National Joint Committee on the Report submitted by the Centre-Periphery Sub-Committee on Constitutional Reform”

  1. Christie Says:

    We should tell the Indian Empire not to interfere with our affairs. There is no escape until all Indian colonies are decolonized.

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    My God,

    The Centre-Periphery Committee is chaired by a Tamil EELAMIST!

    Talk about asking the Fox to Mind the Hen House!

    This Yamapalanaya government us the workhouse of the DEVIL himself!

    Let the VOTERS of Sri zlanka take note of WHO IS CRAFTING the New Constitution and the TROIKA OF TRAITORS presiding over the DISSOLUTION & DISINTEGRATION of our Motherland!

    The GREAT CENTRAL BANK ROBBERY yesterday,
    the GREAT BETRAYAL OF THE NATION today!

  3. Ananda-USA Says:

    IT IS TIME that this ABSOLUTE NONSENSE of DEVOLVING POWER to the Provinces and CREATING another semi-independent Provincial Bureaucracy that undermines the power of the National Government at the Centre protect, control and administer it Provinces is COMPLETELY DONE AWAY WITH.

    This Provincial Council System is Prescription for National Suicide of Sri Lanka.

    It will EMPOWER SEPARATISTS and place them beyond the control of the Central Government.

    It will create yet another layer of costly bureaucracy that will burden the people and divert the economy of the funds needed for development to the pockets of politicians and unnecessary officials who do not add any value. Enormous barriers will be erected to the simplest thing that a citizen wants to do, whether to live wherever he wants to, buy a house, build a house, open a business, pay fair taxes, protect his environment, send his children to a school anywhere in the island. All that and more will require the approval of a new layer of bureaucrats whose palms need to be greased! At a time when the whole world is competing with us, and we need to simplify governier systems, we are creating yet another layer of bureaucracy to please separatists and asorted bloodsuckers and leeches who want to prey upon the people.

    One National Parliament, and town and village councils are ENOUGH GOVERNMENT! One vote per citizen to elect his/her MP to Parliament is ENOUGH FREEDOM OF CHOICE in the exercise of Democracy!

    Only SEPARATISTS and professional LEECHES looking to live off people doing NOTHING want MORE GOVERNMENT!

    In which country has DEFEATED but FANATICAL SEPARATISTS been granted in peace what they FAILED to win by murderous war?

    1. REPEAL the 13th Amendment!
    2. DISSOLVE the Provincial Councils!
    3. REPLACE with a system of DISTRICTS governed by officials, including a DISTRI T GOVERNOR, APPOINTED by the CENTRAL NATIONAL GOVERNMENT!
    4. VEST ALL POWER in the CENTRAL NATIONAL GOVERNMENT!
    5. BAN all COMMUNAL PARTIES!

    NOTHING MAKES SENSE in Sri Lanka except that a bunch of OUTRIGHT TRAITORS & FOREIGN PUPPETS have seized power and are colluding with the ENEMIES OF THE STATE to destroy our beloved Motherland!

  4. Lorenzo Says:

    6. Singhala people, please DO NOT VOTE for ANY politician who has NOT promised to implement Ananda-USA’s demands.

    “1. REPEAL the 13th Amendment!
    2. DISSOLVE the Provincial Councils!
    3. REPLACE with a system of DISTRICTS governed by officials, including a DISTRI T GOVERNOR, APPOINTED by the CENTRAL NATIONAL GOVERNMENT!
    4. VEST ALL POWER in the CENTRAL NATIONAL GOVERNMENT!
    5. BAN all COMMUNAL PARTIES!”

    But……but….has so and so promised to do these things?

  5. Ananda-USA Says:

    NPC wants a POWERLESS EUNUCH as Nominal Governor; not an Executive Governor!<L/.

    Why have a "Governor"at all?? We might as well save the money and abolish the NPC!

    These BUGGERS want to CON US into gifting them a proto-EELAM!

    And, the Yamapalanaya will be only TOO HAPPY to GIVE IT!

    God DAMN the Yamapalanaya TRAITORS!! They shall REAP LATER what they SOW NOW!

    …………………………..
    NPC wants nominal governor with no executive powers
    By Amali Mallawaarachchi

    DailyNews.lk
    Monday, December 19, 2016 – 06:30

    The Northern Provincial Council (NPC) has requested the government for a nominal governor instead of one with executive powers.

    NPC Chairman C.V.K. Sivagnanam speaking to the Daily News pointed out that their request is not to abolish the post of governor.“We have not requested for an abolition of the post of governor. What we have really suggested is that it to be a nominal head appointed by the President or the government. It is not a matter of reducing or enhancing the powers of the governor but that we need a nominal governor, instead of an executive governor,” Sivagnanam said.

    TNA’s M.K.Sivajilingam said reducing the powers vested in the governor is not applicable only to the Northern Province but for all Provincial Councils.

    “The powers vested in a governor in Sri Lanka is too much. Not even the governors in India are vested with such powers. The powers that a governor here has equals to executive power. Our suggestion is not limited to Northern province only, but to the whole country. We do not have a personal vendetta against the governors. We, as the NPC forward this proposal along with few other proposals,” Sivajilingam said.

    “We also propose that there is no need of a title as ‘governor’. Our suggestion is that it should be a title meaning ‘an agent of the central government,” the MP said.

    “We also forwarded proposals for the new constitution steering committees on a federal state and making North-East region a single administrative unit within which the Muslims shall have an autonomous region,” Sivajilingam added.

  6. Ananda-USA Says:

    NPC wants a POWERLESS EUNUCH as Nominal Governor; not an Executive Governor!

    Why have a “Governor”at all??

    We might as well save the money and abolish the NPC!

    REPEAL the13th Amendment!
    DISSOLVE ALL Provincial Councils!
    REPLACE with DISTRICTS administered by a District Governor APPOINTED by the CENTRAL NATIONAL Government!

    NEVER DEVOLVE any part of the NATIONAL Government’s power to any SUB-NATIONAL unit of administration!

    These BUGGERS want to CON US into gifting them a proto-EELAM!

    And, the Yamapalanaya will be only TOO HAPPY to GIVE IT!

    God DAMN the Yamapalanaya TRAITORS!! They shall REAP LATER what they SOW NOW!

    …………………………..
    NPC wants nominal governor with no executive powers
    By Amali Mallawaarachchi

    DailyNews.lk
    Monday, December 19, 2016 – 06:30

    The Northern Provincial Council (NPC) has requested the government for a nominal governor instead of one with executive powers.

    NPC Chairman C.V.K. Sivagnanam speaking to the Daily News pointed out that their request is not to abolish the post of governor.“We have not requested for an abolition of the post of governor. What we have really suggested is that it to be a nominal head appointed by the President or the government. It is not a matter of reducing or enhancing the powers of the governor but that we need a nominal governor, instead of an executive governor,” Sivagnanam said.

    TNA’s M.K.Sivajilingam said reducing the powers vested in the governor is not applicable only to the Northern Province but for all Provincial Councils.

    “The powers vested in a governor in Sri Lanka is too much. Not even the governors in India are vested with such powers. The powers that a governor here has equals to executive power. Our suggestion is not limited to Northern province only, but to the whole country. We do not have a personal vendetta against the governors. We, as the NPC forward this proposal along with few other proposals,” Sivajilingam said.

    “We also propose that there is no need of a title as ‘governor’. Our suggestion is that it should be a title meaning ‘an agent of the central government,” the MP said.

    “We also forwarded proposals for the new constitution steering committees on a federal state and making North-East region a single administrative unit within which the Muslims shall have an autonomous region,” Sivajilingam added.

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