By S.S. Selvanayagam
The Attorney General yesterday undertook to amend the implementation mechanism of the Provincial Council elections when the 13 petitions challenging the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution were taken up in the Supreme Court.
The bench comprised Chief Justice Priyasath Dep, Justices Anil Gooneratne and Vijith K.Malalgoda.
Attorney General Jayantha Jayasuriya, with Additional Solicitor General Indika Demuni de Silva, Deputy Solicitors General Nerin Pulle and Viveka Siriwardena, Senior State Counsel Yuresha de Silva and State Counsel Suren Gnanaraj, in his submission stated that the power of the provincial councils would not be given to Parliament and that the governor would take administrative power
He said amendments will be moved during the Committee Stage of the Bill.
In Clause 2, the proviso 154DD (1) says the election of members to all provincial councils shall be held on the same day, he said.
Where the term of office of any one or more of the provincial councils expires on different dates, all the provincial councils shall stand dissolved at the end of 12 months from the expiration of the term of the first constituted provincial council or on the date immediately after the date on which the term of office of the last constituted provincial council expires, whichever occurs earlier referred to as the specified date, he stated.
The first constituted provincial council means the provincial council which has held its first meeting prior to the first meeting of all other provincial councils and the last constituted provincial council means the provincial council which has held its first meeting after the first meeting of all other provincial councils, he asserted.
The term of any provincial council ends prior to the specified date, the term of such provincial council shall be deemed to be extended up to the specified date and such a provincial council shall stand dissolved on the specified date or the term of any provincial council continues beyond the specified date, the term of such a provincial council shall end on the specified date and such a provincial council shall stand dissolved on the specified date, he said.
Where any provincial council is dissolved by reason of the operation of the provisions of the sub-paragraph (c) of paragraph (8) of Article 154B or by any other reason specified in any law before the completion of a period of 42 months from the date of its first meeting, an election for such a provincial council shall be conducted in accordance with the law relating to the provincial council and such a provincial council shall stand dissolved on the specified date, he submitted.
Prof. G.L. Peiris, Udaya Gammanpila, PAFFREL, MEP, the Centre for Policy Alternatives, MP Dullas Alahapperuma, Ranga Dayananda, Renuka Dushyantha Perera, the Young Lawyers Association, K.G. Gunawansa and MP Namal Rajapaksa and Ven. Omare Kassapa Thero are some of the petitioners who have filed petitions.
The Centre for Policy Alternatives in its petition states that the said bill was published as a supplement to part II of the gazette of 28 July 2017 and the gazette was only issued on 3 August 2017 and placed on the Order Paper of Parliament on 23 August 2017.
It states the Bill seeks to amend the Constitution and the provisions of the said Bill if enacted will give Parliament the power to determine the date (specified date) on which all the provincial councils shall stand dissolved and to extend up to the specified date the terms of office of any provincial council ending prior to such a specified date and to end the said specified date, the term of office of any provincial council which continues beyond such a specified date.