- Published on Friday, 14 June 2013 11:09
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The Sri Lanka government will present an urgent Bill to the Parliament next Tuesday to repeal certain clauses of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution especially to repeal the Constitutional provisions to merge two or more Provinces.
This was stated by the Minister of Mass Media and Information Keheliya Rambukwella addressing the Cabinet press briefing at the Ministry auditorium, Thursday (13).
He said that the President’s right to proclaim the merger of Provincial Councils under the 13th Amendment will be repealed making it impossible to merge provinces.
The minister said the Cabinet also decided to appoint a fresh Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to extensively discuss the other revisions required to the 13th Amendment such as the Constitutional clause that requires the consent of all Provincial Councils to pass nationally important Bills. He said the members and PSC session schedules will be decided at the Party Leaders’ Meeting with Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa on Tuesday adding that the PSC will commence work from Wednesday.
The minister said that there are dissenting views among the public at large on the 13th Amendment to the Constitution since it was not asked for by a majority of people. He said there had also been a court order against the merger of the Northern and Eastern Provinces, and former President J. R Jayewardene himself was not ready to proceed on some of these proposals.
The Minister said with over 25 years having elapsed since the introduction of the 13th Amendment, public opinion has emerged that some of these clauses are not valid and suitable for the country in the present era. He said the wrongs of the past should be rectified.
Responding to questions by the media personnel the Minister said that the Cabinet extensively discussed the matters pertaining to the 13th Amendment yesterday and favourable, neutral and opposing views were expressed by the Ministers. The Minister said, however, the government is confident of securing the two thirds majority for the urgent Bill. He said the government, while respecting all views held by foreign countries, gives priority to public opinion within the country as Sri Lanka is a sovereign nation.
The Minister said that even though terrorism was defeated militarily, it still haunts in the psychological sphere. The minister stated that the government is firm in its decision to hold the Northern election in September.
The Director General of Government Information Prof Ariyarathna Athugala also attended the media conference. (niz)