20A introduced respecting views of all - Keheliya
The 20th Amendment to the Constitution has been introduced respecting the views of the Ven Maha Sangha, the public, the Judiciary and the Opposition while retaining the constructive features of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution to guarantee a vibrant democracy in the country, Mass Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella in Parliament yesterday.
He made this observation joining the Second Stage debate on the 20th Amendment to the Constitution Bill.
He said that one should consider as to why the 20th Amendment to the Constitution is essential. He added that the UNP led Government during their 100 day programme after 2015 thought that the paramount solution for all issues was the 19th Amendment.
“At any moment when they were questioned on any issue including the bankruptcy of the economy, the Good Governance Government’s answer was that they set up Independent Commissions and brought about social justice,” Minister Rambukwella said. “But their prime objective was to hate politics and to take revenge from their political opponents. They said they would make the mail address of Mahinda Rajapaksa the Welikada.”
He said that in order to achieve this goal, the Good Governance Government set up Separate Police divisions and Courts.
He said that the Independent Commissions were set up by the Constitutional Council during the Good Governance Government. The composition of the Constitutional Council consists of 10 members - the President, Prime Minister, the Speaker of Parliament, the Leader of the Opposition, one person appointed by the President, five persons appointed by the President, on the nomination of both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition and one person nominated by agreement of the majority of the Members of Parliament belonging to political parties or independent groups, other than the respective political parties or independent groups to which the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition belong, and appointed by the President.
“However, though it seemed it was just, it was not as they all worked together to achieve one goal,” Minister Rambukwella said.
He said further if the Independent Commissions and the Good Governance Government had brought about social justice they wouldn’t have to fear to go for elections. But the Good Governance Government deliberately delayed the elections and it delayed the Local Government elections more than two and half years.If they were fair and fruitful to the public, how were the 72 year old UNP and the 70 year old SLFP political parties defeated at the Local Governmrent elections by the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) which had only being formed six months prior to that. Those two parties could win mere 40 seats from 342.
“That election result reflects the fact that the Good Governance Government’s 19th Amendment that they made to bring about social justice and to develop the economy was refused by the public,” Minister Rambukwella said. “
He added that hence all not only the people but also the 225 MPs too have to think again on the 19th Amendment to the Constitution as we need to make Social Justice a reality. So we have to consider the 19th Amendment to the Constitution and the mechanism for the same is the 20th Amendment Bill.
Unlike the 19th Amendment, we pass the 20th Amendment to the Constitution democratically. We discussed the matter with the public, then was allowed to take the matter before the Court. Thirty nine went before the Court and we consider the views of the Court. We also consulted the Ven Maha Sangha too. We could consider views of the 225 members here. We agreed to retain some constructive sections. The Opposition thinks that it is a drawback of the Government but it is democracy.