19 A has no reason to remain in the Constitution of Sri Lanka, 20A is a welcome alternative. But 13 A remains yet to be removed.
Posted on September 6th, 2020

By Charles.S . Perera

When the people had sanctioned the removal of UNP  from  Parliament , there was no reason to keep 19A any more in the Constitution. It was introduced by Maithreepala Sirisena- Ranil Wickramasinghe duo on the19th April,2015, by Ranil Wickramasinghe to remove the executive powers of the President and make the Presidency a Ceremonial office, and as  he knew that he would never be the President of Sri Lanka, to have the executive powers of the President  conferred on himself as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. Maithrpala Sirisena was duped to accept it.

19A mutilated the Constitution and made democracy meaningless. 19 A was a tool in the hands of Ranil Wckramasinha to make a mockery of Parliamentary Democracy.  JVP  participated in it with Ranil Wickramasinghe hoping to reap benefits from it to remove the influence of Rajapaksas in the parliamentary politics in the country, and become the second main political party In Sri Lanka.  With 19A in the Constitution Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe became powerful and acted as a pseudo Dictator controlling every aspect of Governance, the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary,  making the Speaker of the House his  Cabin Boy. 

He had the Parliament for himself for  four and a half years . He had his  buddies around him to do his biddings. Arjun Mahendran as the Governor of Central Bank, Ranjan Ramanayake to control the Judiciary, Rishad Budyudin and  Rauf Hakim to keep his Muslim  vote bank safe. He had the Temple Trees for himself  where he was working with  Foreign enemies of Sri Lanka  to prepare trade agreements ,  and agreements with China to sell the National treasures. When he was sacked by the  President he would not leave and was sure he could get a judgment in his favour and he had it  one of the Supreme court Judges Sarath de Arbrew asserting  that the Parliament cannot be dissolved before four and a half years ? That was the 19A in the hands of  the Prime Minister  Ranil Wickramasinghe. 

Sajith Premadasa was also hoping that 19A  would remain, so that  he may some day use parts of  the 19 A for his own benefit.  JVP  had established a special committee to accuse Mahinda Rajapaksa, his family and his supporters for theft, Bribery and corruption.  The JVP Parliamentarian for Anuradhapura Wasantha Samarasinhe  we saw carrying loads of files to the office of the Commissioner of Bribery and Corruption , while Anura Kumara Dissanayaka was  sitting with the Prime Minister at a committee to decide who should be arrested by FCID- Prime Minister’s special police force.

This degenerative 19A  personal political tool of Ranil Wickramsinghe is finally to be removed. What a relief for the people of this country. 

Now  the proposed 20A,may be it has restored all or some of the powers JR Jayawardhana had written into the Constitution in 1978; but President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is not  JR Jayawardhana.  President Gotabaya Rajapksa is a man with a head full of good ideas to take Sri Lanka forward, therefore he has to have enough space to work out his plans and lay them down  for execution. What he wants is not an administrative bureaucracy . He wants a team to work with. 

The Sunday Times Political Editor  wrote soldier-turned-politician Gotabaya Rajapaksa , yes he was a soldier, a soldier who won a war against terrorism. He  now wants to be a President to win a political and a financial war to bring back security, peace, and prosperity to Sri Lanka.  Therefore 20A would be a tool for him to act confidently to achieve success in his effort.

However the 20 A is only an interim amendment,  before the introduction of a new Constitution to Sri Lanka. Therefore there is no real reason for the opposition political parties to have heart attacks for something that would not last more than perhaps one year.

But there is another matter with regard to the Amendments to the Constitution that should not be overlooked; it is the 13th Amendment. There is no question why it should not GO- removed from the constitution  for the good of all  free thinking people of Sri Lanka. 

In fact it should have been removed from the Constitution of Sri Lanka  in March  1990 wben the last Contingent of Indian Peace Keeping Force left Sri Lanka.

One cannot understand why even the President Mahainda Rajapakse did not say  no to 13A then , instead of talking about a 13 plus on more than one occasion.  13A was a part of  the India Sri Lanka Accord signed  in August ,1987.  There were two parties to the India Sri Lanka Accord in which India agreed to  guarantee and enforce  the cessation of  terrorist  hostilities  provided the Government of Sri Lanka agreed to enter  the 13th Amendment ( which had been prepared by India) to the Sri Lanka Constitution.  Sri Lanka promptly introduced the 13th Amendment to the Constitution by the President JR Jayawardhana  forcing the  parliamentarians to vote in favour of it. 

Therefore the Government had already kept its part of the Accord , but the Government of India failed tot keep its part of the Accord,- to guarantee and enforce the cessation of terrorist hostilities, as the Indian Peace Keeping Force could not stop  the LTTE hostilities.  Hence  legally the India Sri Lanka Accord ceased to exist when the IPKF left Sri Lanka having failed to keep its terms.

Therefore the President Mahinda Rajapaksa could have then said that Sri Lanka is no more bound by the India Sri Lanka Accord signed in August,1987, and the 13A would be removed from the Constitution.  This is the mistake on which Abraham Sumanthiran of TNA  now play and  the Sunday Times reports that :

Abraham Sumanthiran told the Sunday Times, It would be the biggest mistake if the Government abolishes 13A. It is based on a bilateral agreement signed with India. This was signed to provide solutions to issues of the Tamils. We understand sections in the government are campaigning to abolish 13A which provides for the Provincial Council. That would be a grave error the Government will be making. TheProvincial Council system in the North and East was non-functional for a long period, but in the other provinces the PC system was working. In the other provinces, there have been no calls for the abolition of the Provincial Councils. We will totally oppose any move by the Government to scrap 13A and the Provincial Council system.”

The bilateral agreement  signed with India Sumanthiran speaks of, is now not a legal document.  It is  not valid anymore and the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lanka Constitution can now be removed from the Constitution. That cannot be contested neither by TNA, nor by India.

Therefore Mr. President please remove the 13the Amendment from the Sri Lanka Constitution.

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