Speaker signs 20th Amendment draft

2020-10-29 at 13:54

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana has signed the draft of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution.

Thereby, the Parliament Communication Division stated the 20th Amendment will be implemented from today (29).

The 20th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified in Parliament with the backing of a two thirds majority last Thursday.

156 Parliamentarians supported the bill during the final vote of the 20th Constitutional Amendment while 65 MPs voted against it.

Several amendments were tabled by Minister of Justice Ali Sabry during the Committee Stage or the Third Reading of the bill.

A number of government MPs and Chief Opposition Whip Parliamentarian Lakshman Kiriella also submitted changes to the proposed bill during the Committee Stage.

The Minister of Justice presented the bill entitled “Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution” to amend the Constitution 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 Amendment.

The Supreme Court for two weeks considered submissions pertaining to the special determination petitions.

The petitioners sought 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, as proposed, are not in accordance with article 3 of the Constitution which is to be read with Article 4 of the Constitution.

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

Accordingly, the Justice Minister tabled relevant changes to avoid a public referendum during the Committee Stage.