Requiring plebiscite to enact 20-A: LFP to file spl determination petition in SC

A group of lawyers will be filing a special determination petition before the Supreme Court next week seeking that a plebiscite before the people be required for the enactment of the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution Bill. 

The Lawyers Forum for the People (LFP) organisation announced, they will be filing a special determination application in this regard. The Lead Counsel will be Lakshan Dias while LFP Convening Board Member, Senaka Perera, will be the Instructing Attorney. 

Speaking to Ceylon Today, Perera cited the Supreme Court determination in connection with the 17th Amendment to the Constitution as backing for their call for approval of the 20th Amendment by the people at a referendum.  

Among the petitioners will be LFP Convening Board Members Namal Rajapaksa, Achala Seneviratne and Upali Ratnayake.

Previously, the LFP, whilst calling on the rulers to further strengthen the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, informed that they would intervene to take all measures to oppose any move to repeal it. 

Perera observed that the 19th Amendment contained salient provisions which safeguarded the rule of law, the independence of the Judiciary and provided some measure of relief and equality to the people in terms of their rights, through a mechanism and process of meting out justice, via independent Commissions. 

Whilst criticising the immunity afforded to the President under Article 35(1) of the Constitution, Rajapaksa claimed that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had violated the Constitution by taking over the Defence Ministerial portfolio. He warned against moves that were underfoot to attribute all ills and failures of the rule of the previous United National Front led regime, especially that of its lack of leadership, to the 19th Amendment which contained progressive independent Commissions. He also urged the empowerment of the Judiciary under a new Constitution through the establishment of the post-enactment judicial review of legislation. 

Seneviratne called on all to be vigilant with regard to the direction that would be taken by the Government which has a two thirds majority. 

Ratnayake urged the relevant political authorities to repeal Article 29 which held that the Directive Principles of State Policy (Article 27) and fundamental duties (Article 28) were non-justifiable, as it, according to Ratnayake, prevented the people’s right to life for being provided for under Articles 27 and 28. He pointed out that the enactment of the 19th Amendment had been viewed favourably by the international community and international organisations and had in turn resulted in Sri Lanka gaining benefits of an economic nature.

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