Taking up amended 19A on Wednesday a gross violation of the constitution – Prof. G. L. Peiris
Posted on April 5th, 2015

Former External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris yesterday warned of dire consequences if the UNP was allowed to go ahead with the project to undermine the process to amend the Constitution.

Prof. Peiris issued the following statement to The Island yesterday: “The enactment of a Constitution, the highest law of the land, is the most sacred task which the country’s legislature can undertake.

It has the most far reaching consequences in all sectors of public life for generation to come.


This is why the constitution prescribes crystal clear procedures, fully protective of the public interest, for amending the constitution or enacting a new constitution.

One of the basic requirements insisted on by our country’s paramount law in this regard, is the absolute necessity for public participation and consultation.

Article 121(1) clearly requires that a bill for amending the constitution should be on the Order Paper of Parliament for one week, to enable the public to petition the Supreme Court and to canvas issues relating to the need for a referendum. “The Bill” obviously means the up to date, current version of the legislation which parliament is asked to adopt, certainly not a historical, outdated, previous draft which has been rendered irrelevant by subsequent developments.

On Tuesday 4th March, the Prime Minister presented to Parliament the Nineteenth Amendment to the constitution,published in the gazette Part II of March 13., Supplement, issued on 16th March. The Gazette containing the Nineteenth Amendment was placed on the tables of all Members of Parliament and published extensively in the print media in all three languages for the information of the public.

The period available for petitions addressed to the Supreme Court by the public come to an end, seven days later on Tuesday 31st March. The Supreme Court began hearing counsel supporting 16 petitions which had been filed, the very next day, Wednesday 1st April.

While the hearing by the three Judge bench was in progress, the Attorney-General made available to Counsel a 12 page document containing a series of substantive amendments which cumulatively, changed in fundamental respects the character of the proposed Nineteenth Amendment, published in the Gazette and presented in parliament during the previous week. In particular, the constitutional roles of the President and the Prime Minister were drastically altered by the amendments submitted during the court hearing.

This is a cynical violation of mandatory constitutional rights. Our requires that the current content of the Bill, Incorporating the amendments handed out in Court, should be presented a fresh in Parliament and published in a new Gazette. This is for the purpose of providing the opportunity for members of the public, who object to the new changes, to submit petitions invoking the constitutional jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, as they are legally entitled to do. This right, guaranteed to the public by the law, cannot be denied by committee stage amendments on which the pubic have no opportunity whatever to express their views.

Any attempt, therefore to take up for debate on Wednesday 8th April, any Bill other than the Bill, in the form in which it was published in the Gazette and presented to Parliament by the Prime Minister, on 24th March, is a gross violation of the constitution of Sri Lanka.

2 Responses to “Taking up amended 19A on Wednesday a gross violation of the constitution – Prof. G. L. Peiris”

  1. SA Kumar Says:

    Prof. G. L. Peiris
    Hello Prof well come long time no see !

  2. AnuD Says:

    There will be a big problem when there will be two leaders. No one will know whose word is correct. right now the way the govt acts and the govt talks, it looks there is no specific leader.

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