Update: Another 12 page amendment to the 19th amendment; Supreme Court concludes considering the petitions
The Supreme Court today concluded considering the petitions filed in connection with the 19th Constitutional Amendment.
Accordingly, Chief Justice K. Sri Pavan noticed that the respective verdict would be submitted to the President as well as the Speaker of parliament.
The 19th Constitutional Amendment Draft Bill was presented to parliament by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on March 24th.
Later 19 petitions were filed with regard to the new amendment.
5 of them were filed for the amendment while 14 petitions were filed against it.
A panel of Supreme Court Judges led by Chief Justice K. Sri Pavan started to consider the petitions last Wednesday.
Other Supreme Court judges sat in the panel were Chandra Ekanayake and Priyasad Depp.
While presenting his submissions today, Attorney General told the court that the 19th Amendment could be passed with two third majority in parliament without calling for a referendum.
At that point, the Chief Justice said, in the 19th Amendment, the President is depicted as the symbol of national unity.
Therefore, the Chief Justice said as the national flag is currently depicted the symbol of national unity, and replacing such position with the president is disputable.
Therefore the Chief Justice informed the Attorney General to draw his attention to that crucial point.
The Chief Justice has further questioned whether it curtails the power of the President after the Prime Minister is named as the head of the Cabinet.
Thereafter the Attorney General informed the Supreme Court that he would forward further submissions in writing to that regard.
Meanwhile the 19th Constitutional Amendment debate has been included in the parliament agenda for April 9th and 10th.
A special political party leaders meeting in connection with the proposed debate was presided by speaker Chamal Rajapaksa at the parliament complex today.
Addressing political party leaders, speaker Chamal Rajapaksa has said that he would inform all political leaders whether the debate is held on Wednesday and Thursday only after he receives the Supreme Court decision with regard to the debate.
Meanwhile MEP Leader Dinesh Gunawardana has informed during the political party leaders’ meeting that the Attorney General has submitted a 12 paged Amendment to the Supreme Court.
He has also told that the Amendment submitted by the Attorney General is contradictory to that of the 19th Amendment presented to parliament recently by the Prime Minister.
He has therefore pointed out that opportunity should be made available to express their views in parliament.
Former Minister G.L. Peries has also presented details in this regard, and Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva, former ministers Tissa Vitharana, DEW Gunasekera and W.D.J. Seneviratne have also supported Professor Peries’s reasoning.
However, Government Chief Whip and Minister Lakshman Kiriella said participants of the political party leaders’ meeting today, agreed to pass the 19th Constitutional Amendment, after it is debated on April 9 and 10.
Update: Monday, 06 April 2015 - 07:34 PM .................................................
19th amendment to SC today
Attorney General’s submissions with regard to the 19th constitutional amendment filed at the Supreme Court are scheduled to take place today.
Nineteen petitions were taken for hearing last time before the three-judge bench including Chief Justice K. Sripavan on Thursday.
Re-hearing of the petitions had been fixed for today.
Different political parties and organizations had filed the relevant petitions before the Supreme Court.
Nine of them had made submissions to the effect that a referendum should not be held with regard to the 19th constitutional amendment and that the amendment should be passed by a parliamentary majority.
The remaining 10 petitions had been filed saying that a referendum should be held with regard to the 19th amendment to the constitution.