Vasudeva is wrong to say that the President can dissolve the Provincial Councils anytime
Posted on May 31st, 2013

Media Release ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” Chanaka Bandarage, Sri Lanka Support Group

On 30 May 2013, in Sirasa TV program ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”SatanaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢, Hon Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara, participating in a debate with Hon Minister Champika Ranawaka stated thatƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  people should not be scared of provincial governments because the President can dissolve them anytime. To stressƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  this point, he mentioned Articles 154A1, 154 J, 154K, 154L, 154M and 154N of the Constitution (these are the English version Articles, he referred to the corresponding Sinhala ones).

These provisions do not provide power to the ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ PresidentƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  to dissolve the provincial councils willy nilly:

Article 154A1 ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” this Article is about the President establishing the Provincial Councils ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” it doesƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  not talk aboutƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  dissolution

Article 154J ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” On the ground that maintenance of essential supplies and services are threatened or that security of the country isƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  threatened by war or external aggression or armed rebellion, the President may be able to dissolveƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  aƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  provincial government after issuing a Proclamation under the ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Public Security OrdinanceƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ (note: not under the 13th amendment).ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Even herein, the words ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”dissolve or dissolutionƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ are not used. What it states is that ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-the President to hold that a situation has arisen in which the administration of theƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Province cannotƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ The then President Premadasa used this provision to dissolve Vardharaja PerumalƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢sƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  provincial government (Perumal tried to mobilse the provinceƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s 15,000 strong police force like an ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”ArmyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ and unilaterally declared a ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Tamil EelamƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ in northern Sri LankaƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” this will happen again under a TNA run Northern Provincial Council).ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

Article 154K ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” This is not a power available for the President to dissolve a Provincial Council. It allows him to give a direction to the Governor and Provincial Council that directions to the Provincial Council be carried out. This has nothing to with dissolution.

Article 154L ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” If the President is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which the administration of the province cannot be carried out per the Constitution (failure of the administrative machinery), the President may assume the functions of the administration of the Provincial Council. What Mr Nanayakkara failed to say is that the President can do this only by Proclamation (to be approved by a resolution of the Parliament) and such Proclamation is valid only for 2 months.

Article 154N – If the President is satisfied that a situation has arisen whereby the financial stability or credit of Sri Lanka is threatened, he may make a Proclamation to that effect (to be approved by a resolution of the Parliament) and such Proclamation is only valid for 2 months. During the period of Proclamation, the President isƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  only allowed to give directions to the Governor in relation to ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”observe such canons of financial proprietyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Again, this does not give power to the President to dissolve the Provincial Council.

Therefore, theƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  representations made by Mr Nanayakkara seem wrong and he may have misled millions of viewers who watched the Program.

Hon Ranawaka very correctly showed that the Chief Minister is the head of the Provincial Government andƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  the Governor ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” appointed by the President,ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  acts in accordance with the advice of the Board of Ministers (Article 154F1 ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” Sinhala 154ƒÆ’‚ ƒ”š‚¶ƒ…‚ (1)). Mr Nanayakkara tried to emphasis that discretion available to the Governor is absolute, but this Article clearly articulates that it is subject to the Constitution, thus is very limited.

Mr Nanayakkara failed to mention to the liveƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  and TV audience that unlike in Sri Lanka, per the Indian Constitution, its President can easily dissolve a Provincial Government. He also failed to say that in India (and alsoƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  in Australia) where a Provincial Government/(State) law isƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  inconsistent with a Central Government law (made under the concurrent heads of powers), the latter prevails over the former, to the extent of inconsistency, this is not the case in Sri Lanka.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Even though JR Jayewardene did not say it, what he effectively created in Sri Lanka in 1987 wasƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  a federal structure, giving far reaching powers to the Provinces – more than in India (and Australia) (this is why we say that giving the NorthernƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  Province to the separatist, TNA, is akin to ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”entrusting the surveillance of a chicken coop to a foxƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

Mr Nanayakkara also stated that a Referendum to ask people whether orƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  not they wish to keep the Provincial Government system (9 such Provincial Governments) may be inappropriate because ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-more than 70% of the population is Sinhalese.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ This is an indication he may lack respect to representative democracy. ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”One Vote, One VoiceƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢, is the cardinal rule of democracy; Mr Obama came to power not just on the back of Black and Hispanic votes, he campaigned hard and secured white votes too. Those who campaign to keep the Provincial Council system (like Mr Nanayakkara), if they want to win the Referendum (if held), should try to secure the Sinhala vote also, rather than trying to denigrate it.

Chanaka Bandarage, President of Sri Lanka Support Group, is an Australian Lawyer

6 Responses to “Vasudeva is wrong to say that the President can dissolve the Provincial Councils anytime”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Why do we have to put up with these communists?

    Only North Korea and Cuba are the REAL remaining communists. They are in a VERY BAD SHAPE.

    If we follow these commies’ BS, we will also end up as them.

  2. Sunil Vijayapala Says:

    lack of wise leadership is the root cause all problems in heladeepa. the wise old fool jr made a mess. he was subservient to india. he wanted to anglisize the country – an English speaking country. and now we have a guy who has not guts to take on india. we badly need a wise leader. he is totally lost. he wants to keep a unitary state and then gives in to external pressure. jayalalita must be laughing through her rear end (Sinhala pun). annexation of npc will not be easy if tamils, like what happened in tamilnadu, attempt to play their own game. this time india will intervene.
    omg why do our fools not think of deterrence. they want to be good with india, china, Russia, us – simply sri lanka becoming a whore!!!!

  3. A. Sooriarachi Says:

    This is where the problem is. People like Vasudeva and other leftist leaders, might be supporting in good faith the 13th amendment in full, as they have not grasped the dangers in such legislation. The very fact the TNA is pushing for it should indicate how vital it is for the TNA to trap SriLanka beyond redemption. President Rajapakse can now say that the intention of devolution is not for the provinces to have powers to over rule the Centre, and as this amendment in its current form confers such unintended powers to the PCs, it is a No No and must be rejected.

  4. Charles Says:

    Lanka Samasamaja Party was a very promising political party that had the potential of bringing the Communities together and form a Nation. But they mixed up trade Unionism with National Politics to the extent of becoming isolated as a political party neither having the support of the Tamils nor the Sinhala. The Marxism says that a Marxist political party should ride on the back of a popular political party through which it could implement Socialist policies and win over the people. The opportunity was open to NM Perera when SWRD Bandaranaike invited him to join the coalition –Mahajana Eksath Peramuna. He refused, while all the Marxist Parliamentarians like Phillip Gunawardhana, William de Silva and Dahanayake joined hands with SWRD. Thereafter, the LSSP was isolated and finally accepted to join Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike, and became the Finance Minster of her government.

    LSSP continued its mistakes and even today Vasudeva Nanayakkara and Tissa Witharana are continuing to do the same mistakes. One cannot understand for what reason they remaining in the Government of Mahinda Rajapakse want to go against popular demands of the people. The 13 Amendment is definitely an objectionable amendment to the Constitution and all those who have no self interest oppose the implementation of the 13 A and yet the LSSP goons support the TNA terrorists in calling for the implementation of the 13A.

    It would be more honourable for both Nanayakkara and Tissa Vitharana to leave the Government rather than remain in the government , and go against a popular demand of the people to withdraw the 13A.

  5. Senevirath Says:


  6. Ananda-USA Says:

    HERE IS AN EXAMPLE of how sub-national local governments in Sri Lanka, in the CONTROL of SEPARATIST Groups, can UNDERMINE the AUTHORITY OF THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT by entering into agreements with Foreign Governments and Entities inimical to Sri Lanka.

    In this way, the Role of the National Government, having the RESPONSIBILITY to DEFEND and PROTECT the Nation accorded to it by the citizens of the country, is slowly ERODED away, inch by inch.

    This kind of Anti-National Activity would greatly increase if Provincial Councils are handed over to SEPARATIST GROUPS in the Future. Little by little, they will establish irreversible direct relationships with Foreign Powers to cement and ease their way towards their DECLARED GOAL of an Eelam OUTSIDE the current Unitary State of Sri Lanka.

    OPEN YOUR EYES and Rise Up!…. O Patriots of Mother Lanka…. to DEFEND the Nation from ENCROACHING SEPARATISM!

    REPEAL the 13th Amendment and DEMOLISH the Provincial Council System at its ROOT.

    Trincomalee Urban Council in Sri Lanka suspends MoU with US Embassy – report

    ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    Jun 02, Colombo: The Trincomalee Urban Council in Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province has decided to suspend the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) it signed recently with the US Embassy in Colombo to establish a public information and activity center known as a American Corner in Trincomalee, a local newspaper reported.

    The Sri Lankan Government expressed concern over the signing of the MoU between the US Embassy and the Trincomalee Urban Council on May 22 to jointly establish the American Corner without the knowledge of the External Affairs Ministry.

    A local government entering into an agreement with a foreign mission without the approval of the External Affairs Ministry is a clear breach of protocol, according to the Ministry.

    According to a report in the local English weekly Sunday Leader, the Secretary of the Urban Council Abdul Latif Mohammad Nafeel has said that the External Affairs Ministry had informed the Council that the deal was unacceptable and the Council needs to obtain clearance to continue with the MOU.

    The US Embassy has said that it had signed similar agreements when it opened American corners in Kandy and Jaffna.

    However, the Secretary of the External Affairs Ministry Karunatilaka Amunugama said that a special investigation has been launched into the MOU and the investigation will also cover the American corners opened in Kandy and Jaffna.

    “The Ministry will seek information from the local Council about the deals they had signed with the US Embassy. We have not sought information from the US Embassy as yet,” Amunugama was quoted as saying.

    The Secretary has said that an official from the Ministry has been appointed to investigate the MOU signed with the local councils and a report will be submitted on the findings.

    US embassy spokesman and Director of Press Cultural and Educational Affairs Christopher Teal has said that the purpose of setting up of the information center is to provide vital information to the people particularly, the student population in the East.

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