- Says Parliament should approve all high posts
- Bar dual citizens from being MPs
By Yohan Perera
While opposing certain sections of the proposed 20th Amendment to the constitution, the National Joint Committee (NJC) yesterday called for further amendments to the constitution such as repealing the 13th Amendment, the 16th Amendment and the electoral system.
NJC in a statement said the provisions relating to the enactment of urgent bills within 24 hours should not be incorporated in the 20th amendment. “We consider that the introduction of the provisions relating to the enactment of urgent bills within 24 hours which was misused by all previous governments should not be incorporated in the twentieth amendment,” the statement signed by the Co-Presidents of the NJC Lt Col. Anil Amarasekera and retired DIG K. M. B. Kotakadeniya said.
“We favour the restoration of the powers of the President including his right to select his Ministers and administrators including Members of these numerous Commissions established by law. However it is our considered view that all appointments should be approved by Parliament. We see no danger in such an exercise as no President can function without the support of Parliament,” they said.
Although we were against the dubious constitutional council, it does not mean that we support the elimination of checks and balances from the Constitution, they added.
“If it is the view of the Government that the abolition of the nineteenth amendment is so urgent we see no justifiable reason why it should not forthwith repeal the thirteenth and the sixteenth amendments and the proportional representation system of elections presently exist,” they argued.
We are not in favour of repealing the provisions which bar dual citizens from being Members of Parliament and the removal of the ceiling placed on the number of Ministers. We see that there is an attempt to accommodate extremists who are citizens of other countries in Parliament and in the Cabinet without taking the required oath under the sixth amendment,” the statement added.
“We have always opposed the thirteenth amendment and call for its abolition even now, however, if that is not favoured at this moment, the existing Provincial Council system should be at least restructured. Thus, it is the duty of the Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Governments to dismantle the existing Provincial Council system and empower the Local Authorities so that the Provincial Councils if at all could consist of representatives from the Local Authorities. The Minister should ensure that elections for Provincial Councils are done away with completely. It would be a tremendous waste of public resources to conduct elections and spend large sums of money to pay for salaries and grant benefits to members of the Provincial Councils,” the statement further said.
We have always opposed the thirteenth amendment and call for its abolition even now