Statement of the National Joint Committee on the Decision Taken by the President and the Cabinet of Ministers to Fully Implement the 13th Amendment
Posted on January 30th, 2023

Lt Col. A.S.Amarasekera.(Rtd.) Co-President National Joint Committee

The 13th Amendment was enacted in 1987 consequent to the signing of the Indo-Lanka Accord between the Government of India and the Republic of Sri Lanka. The Accord was signed in Colombo by President J.R Jayawardena and Rajiv Gandhi while the country was under curfew. The Government of India violated Sri Lanka’s airspace and sovereignty by dropping food parcels from Indian air crafts on Sri Lankan territory. Gunboats were placed near Sri Lanka’s territorial waters. Subsequently, under the pressure exerted by the Government of India, the 13th Amendment was enacted by Parliament whilst President Jayawardena had letters of resignation from members of Parliament in his pocket.

When the 13th Amendment Bill came up before the Supreme Court four Judges of the nine Bench constituted determined that the Bill in its entirety was unconstitutional. Thus, although the Bill was deemed as having passed in view of the five Judges who supported the enactment of the 13th Amendment, there is real doubt about the constitutionality of the 13th Amendment. The four Judges who expressed the dissenting view expressed their opinion that the 13th Amendment could not be passed without the approval of the people at a Referendum. Thus, the 13th Amendment was enacted without the approval of the people. Therefore, the legitimacy of the 13th Amendment is questionable.

The 13th Amendment provides for the amalgamation of the Northern and Eastern provinces on the basis that these two Provinces constitute the traditional homelands of the Tamils. Constituting a unit of devolution on ethnic grounds is a threat to racial amity and mutual coexistence. Governments must try to unite the people and not divide them. We believe that the Government intends to amalgamate the Northern and Eastern provinces utilising the provisions of the 13th Amendment when they declared that they agree to the full implementation of the 13th Amendment”.

The 13th Amendment empowers the Provincial Councils with regard to seventy three subjects enumerated in the Provincial Council and Concurrent Lists. There are thirty seven subjects in the Provincial Council List alone including Police powers, land powers, and powers relating to ancient and historical monuments and records. Even religious societies and associations are included in the Provincial Councils List which empowers Provincial Councils to enact statutes which would override laws of Parliament. Thus, the 13th Amendment will lead to the enactment of a new Police Statute and a Criminal Procedure Code which may replace the existing Police Ordinance and the Criminal Procedure Code. There is express provision to the effect that no police officer of one Province could exercise any powers in another Province thus for example the Anuradhapura Police will not be in a position to investigate an offence committed in Vavuniya.

Item 11:1 of Appendix I of the Ninth Schedule provides that the Head of the Provincial Police is responsible to and under the control of the Chief Minister”. The investigation entrusted to national Police is limited to national security, and security of VIPs.” The Security relating to ordinary citizens is entrusted to the Provincial Police. Thus, the people of respective provinces will be at the mercy of a police force controlled by the Chief Minister. Two members of the three member Provincial Police Commission are appointed with the consent of the Chief Minister. With these provisions in place, the security of the Sinhala and Muslims in the North and East will be disastrous.

There is ample evidence that secessionists have engaged in the destruction of archaeological sites to establish their false assertion that the Sinhala people have no right to live in the North and East, the TNA openly objects to the settlement of Sinhalese and Muslims in the North. With the police powers handed over to the Provincial Councils one wonders about the plight of our archaeological sites under such administration. Even the dayaka sabhawa of a temple can be regulated by the Provincial Council.

Therefore, the National Joint Committee strongly condemn the decision of the Government and urge them to withdraw that decision forthwith and call for a parliamentary and presidential election so that the people of this country can elect a government of their choice and remove the politicians of the present Cabinet that have taken this decision to implement the 13th Amendment. It is pathetic that Prime Minister Mr. Dinesh Gunawardena and the leader of the largest political party in Parliament Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse is supportive of this move, having come into power with the votes of the patriotic citizens of the country. We urge them and their party members to resign forthwith and call for fresh elections. . We are thankful to the Hon. Leader of the Opposition for declaring their stand supporting the 13th Amendment which would enable the Public to make their own decision with regard to the future of this country.

Lt Col. A.S.Amarasekera.(Rtd.)

Co-President National Joint Committee

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