The main opposition, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), is contemplating filing a petition against the proposed 20th Amendment with the Supreme Courts, Chief Opposition Whip, Member of Parliament Lakshman Kiriella said today.
Addressing a press conference, he said that his party was currently discussing on the matter.
“We are currently discussing the possibility of filing a petition against the 20th Amendment. Petitions will be filed against the 20th Amendment by many sections. Therefore we would like to tell the judicial officers to give their verdict in a manner which would protect their dignity. If anyone files a petition against this piece of legislation it will be also to safeguard the self-respect of judicial officers. Therefore we would like to request the judges who will probably examine the petitions, to deliver a verdict in a manner which would safeguard their self-respect. Judicial officers will lose their self-respect if they allow the amendment to go ahead as they will have to obey the executive who would be appointing them, as per the new legislation,” Mr. Kiriella said.
The Chief Opposition Whip said the common belief which came into being from 2001 was, that important institutions such as the Judiciary, police and the public service should be independent, and this, has been undermined by this piece of legislation. “This faith in institutions such as the police and the Judiciary came about from the time the 17th Amendment was brought to Parliament in 2001 to make them independent and to make the legislature more powerful. This was reversed in 2011 by the 18th Amendment. However our government rectified this error in 2015. It seems that the country is going back to the era prior to 2001 once again,” he said.
SJB MP Dr. Harsha De Silva who also participated in the press conference said, if any of the MPs vote in favour of the 20th Amendment, it will be proven that they were a lot without proper policies. “There are MPs in the current Parliament who voted in favour of 17th,18th and 19th Amendments. If they vote in favour of the 20th Amendment too, they would be contradicting their ownselves and will show themselves as persons without policies,” Dr. de Silva said.(Yohan Perera)