Final vote on 20A this evening

2020-10-22 at 13:49

The final vote on the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution will take place in Parliament this evening.

Members of Parliament are currently debating the bill in Parliament for the second day after it commenced at 10 this morning.

According to the agenda of Parliament, the vote on the second reading will take place at 7.30pm.

The Committee Stage or the third reading of the bill will take place if the 20th Constitutional Amendment received an absolute majority.

Following the Committee Stage, the final vote on the bill will take place.

The proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution will become a law following the ratification of Parliament and after the signature of the Speaker of House is placed on the amended bill.

The Minister of Justice presented the bill entitled “Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution” to amend the Constitution was presented in Parliament on the 22nd of September.

Following the presentation of the bill, 39 special determination petitions were filed before the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the 20th Amendment.

The Supreme Court for two weeks considered submissions pertaining to the special determination petitions filed challenging the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution.

The petitioners were seeking a declaration that the proposed bill in whole or in part, requires the approval of voters at a public referendum and also requires a two-thirds majority in Parliament.

The Supreme Court’s interpretation was then submitted to the President and the Speaker on the 10th of October.

The Supreme Court had ruled that Articles 3,5,14 and 22 of the bill, as proposed, are not in accordance with the article 3 of the Constitution which is to be read with Article 4 of the Constitution.

The court also determined to approve the 20th Amendment in its present form; it would require approval at a referendum.

Accordingly, Minister of Justice Ali Sabry yesterday presented a summary of the changes the government hopes to table pertaining to the 20th Amendment.

The Minister said amendments that are inconsistent with the constitution will not be included in the proposed bill.

The Justice Minister said apart from four clauses in the draft bill, all other articles can be passed with a two thirds majority in Parliament.

Minister Sabry said two clauses cannot be fulfilled according to the Supreme Court interpretation claiming they will be amended accordingly.

The Justice Minister also noted that all proposals will put forth will meet the expectations of the public.

Meanwhile, despite various differences, all constituent parties of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna including the Sri Lanka Freedom Party have indicated that they will vote in favour of the 20th Amendment.

Opposition parties the Samagi Jana Balawegaya, the National Movement for People’s Power and the United National Party have announced that they will not support the new Constitutional Amendment.