Joint Opp. alleges govt. will disregard mandatory steps laid down to make new Constitution
Posted on December 31st, 2015

By Shamindra Ferdinando Courtesy Island

The Joint Opposition yesterday urged the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government to adhere to the specific constitutional provisions in amending the Constitution.

Former External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris told The Island that though the Constitution had to be amended from time to time as circumstances required, it should be done in accordance with the law.


Prof. Peiris was answering our questions on behalf of the Joint Opposition. He pointed out that the Constitution prescribed in detail the procedure to be followed in that regard. “The procedure is very clearly spelt out in Chapter 12 of the Constitution.

The most important provision in this Chapter is Article 83,” Prof. Peiris said.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on behalf of the ruling coalition will move a resolution in parliament on Jan. 9 to pave the way for a new Constitution.

Prof. Peiris said that Article 83 identified 11 provisions which were required, in addition to a two-thirds majority and a referendum. Asked whether the Joint Opposition would throw its weight behind the high profile coalition government project, former Colombo District MP said that the grouping was taking a very clear stand on the issue. He stressed that there wouldn’t be any issue as long as the new administration followed the Constitutional directives pertaining to the amending of the Constitution.


Prof. Peiris said that the ambitious project could go awry in case the 11 provisions spelt out in Article 83 weren’t followed. The former Minister said: “These provisions are specifically entrenched in this manner because of the importance in terms of the nature as well as essential characteristics of the Sri Lankan State. They cannot be amended or repealed without a referendum. This is a mandatory requirement contained in the highest law of the land.”


Asked whether the Joint Opposition believed the government was planning to act contrary to Article 83, Prof. Peiris said that the resolution to be proposed by the PM, the text of which had been carried in a section of the media, very clearly contravened the mandatory requirement. Prof. Peiris said the government proposed through the resolution to place the entire text of the new Constitution before the people at a referendum. Obviously, the proposal didn’t meet current constitutional requirement at all, the Constitutional Affairs minister said.


Prof. Peiris alleged that an attempt was being made to confuse the electorate. The legal scholar said it wasn’t permissible under any circumstances to mix up the 11 entrenched provisions with 170 other provisions and to present a whole booklet to the people at a referendum. He emphasized that those provisions had been given special status to enable the people to consider them separately and decide whether they should be retained or abolished.


The Joint Opposition demanded that the government comply with what he called compulsory constitutional requirements in amending the Constitution. Prof. Peiris emphasized the pivotal importance of ensuring the legal validity to the constitution making process.

2 Responses to “Joint Opp. alleges govt. will disregard mandatory steps laid down to make new Constitution”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    IF these clowns violate the constitution ALL of them will be behind bars and their parties – UNP, JVP, SLMC, TNA, CWC, SLFP, etc. will be BANNED.

    This is serious business.

  2. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    Countries generally don’t keep re-writing Constitutions. The original Constitution is already in place. What is needed are
    ” AMMENDMENTS ” ( Except, where JR fiddled with the Constitution, like what is going to happen right now. )

    The British Constitution is, ONE MASS OF AMMENDMENTS.

    With headless chicken Politicians, Re-Writing a New Constitution will be disaster. This talk of a New Constitution by an Ignoramus, who said that Buckingham Palace was in America, is a feeble attempt to appease the Tamils, in appreciation for enabling him to put on the Presidents Gown and Shoes, which apparently appears that they do not fit him.


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