Global Sri Lankans Forum calls for devolution of limited power to districts



Global Sri Lankans Forum, (GSLF), a group of expatriate Sri Lankans in Europe, North America, Australia and West Asia submitted their proposals to the proposed amendments to the Sri Lankan Constitution to the Chairman of the Committee of Public Representations on the Constitution (CPRC) Secretariat Office.


The salient features of the proposals submitted by GSLF are that the devolution of limited power shall be given to the districts. In that way it could develop the each district with micro management and would give each majority ethnic community to manage their district development.


The summary of the proposal submitted by the GSLF is as follows;


1.  Unitary State.


 The Republic of Sri Lanka shall always be a Unitary State. In any forms or any acts, it should not be allowed and/or promote to create a separate state or states, or federal state or states, or to create any form confederation state or states within Sri Lanka. Such acts or promotion or and the like shall be punishable.


Further, the characteristics of Unitary status shall not be diluted under any circumstances by delegating its power(s) and authorities to any other local or provincial or any other institution whatsoever.


2.0 Exercise of Sovereignty.


Election System; The present proportional election mechanism shall be abolished and electoral representative system shall be brought back to select their respective representative by the people;


Judicial Power; The judicial power of the people exercised by the Parliament through courts shall not be delegated to any other institutions whether there are National or local or International or even to a province of Sri Lanka.


3.0 The Territory


Republic of Sri Lanka shall consist of the twenty-five (25) administrative districts. These districts shall not be re-demarcated or amended or increased or decreased on the basis of any ethnic groups or religions.


The current provisions provided for amalgamation of provinces in the 13th Amendment of the current Constitution should be removed from the Constitution.


Sri Lanka is an Island. Accordingly, the boundaries of Sri Lanka shall not be physically or otherwise annexed whatsoever with a neighbouring country or countries.


4.0 The National Anthem


The National Anthem of the Republic of Sri Lanka shall be "Sri Lanka Matha", the words and music of which shall be as set out in the current Third Schedule of the Constitution.


The National Anthem shall only be sung in Sinhala Language.


5.0 The National Day


The National day shall be 22nd May of each year on which day Sri Lanka obtained its complete freedom by removing head of state as Queen of England. It shall not be the date of 4th February on which date the British withdrew its colonial rule but retaining several colonial vestiges.


6.0 Ethnic Communities


The Constitution shall recognize that there are mainly three ethnic communities such as:


i.   Sinhalese (majority community),


        ii.   Tamils (including Indian origin Tamils) – minority community,


      iii.   Muslims (Including moors and similar others) – minority community.


These communities shall not be referred as nationalities. It is only one Nationality which is Sri Lankan.


There should not be given preferential treatments and/or advantages to the ethnically or religiously minority communities of Sri Lanka.


6.0 BUDDHISM


The following proposed provisions of the Constitution shall be maintained as it is without any amendments or changes. It is also noted that the foremost place given for the Buddhism and Buddhists and Buddhist monks shall not even be amended or changed through a referendum.


7.0 LANGUAGE


The Official Language: The official language of Sri Lanka State shall be Sinhala.


Tamil and English shall also be the link languages and can be used as appropriate.


8.0 THE EXECUTIVE


The President: The President shall have the full executive powers in all affairs of the Republic of Sri Lanka. The President shall be the Head of the State, the Head of the Executive and of the Government, and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.


The Executive Power: President shall have full executive powers to interfere with the affairs of government bodies, local authorities, district authorities and the like when it is a matter related to national security, and any other matters which are endangering the Unitary status of the Republic of Sri Lanka.


9.0 THE LEGISLATURE


The Parliament: The Parliament shall consist of two hundred (175 from Election and 25 from National list = 200) Members elected in accordance with the electoral based election mechanism.


Members of Parliament: Any Sri Lankan Citizen who contests for the Parliament shall declare his/her wealth in written form to the Commission of Election and he/she shall have minimum of educational qualification of General Certificate of Education (Ordinary Level) conducted by Ministry of Education of Sri Lanka and any other approved and recognized international body.


The Supremacy of Parliament: There should be no institution, body or authority locally or internationally to restrict or be an impediment on the legislative supremacy of Parliament.


Number of Ministers: The number of ministers in Parliament shall be restricted to 30 with similar number of Deputy or State Ministers. There must also be a Monitoring Council appointed by Parliament to review the functions and efficiency and progress of each ministry.


10.0 ELECTION


Election of Member of Parliament: Each Candidate contesting a parliamentary seat shall not spend more than the amount prescribed by the Commissioner of Election in his/her election campaign. The political parties shall also not spend for the election campaign(s) not more than the amount prescribed by the Commissioner of Election for each election such as General Election and Presidential Election.


Members of Parliament from National List: Twenty-five Members of Parliament shall be allocated to Parliament through the National List. The nominees for the National List from each political party shall only include academics, intellectuals, professionals and eminent personality of the society. No other candidates who participated in the election or person who has not contested in the election other than those who are in the proposed National List shall be nominated to Parliament under the National List quota.


Cross-overs: After being elected to Parliament, the Members of Parliament shall not cross over to another recognized political party nor sit and act as an independent member of parliament. This adversely affects the Rights of the Sovereignty of the Voters who voted based on his political party ideology as Candidate who contested under recognized political party; exception applies where it is an independent Candidate. Those who Cross Over to another Political party from his original party from which he sought the votes shall be dismissed from the Parliament membership and new member shall be appointed through a By-Election for that electorate.


11.0 THE JUDICIARY


Foreign Courts and Jurisdictions; Foreign government or foreign institution should not be allowed to exercise any judicial power or proceedings to interfere in Sri Lankan Judiciary system. No any other special tribunals, commissions, courts, institution and the like shall be established over and above the current Sri Lankan Jurisdiction system.


Police powers; Police powers relating to law and order shall not be delegated to any provincial or regional or district local authorities. The Sri Lanka Police shall be under the direct command as currently administrated by the Inspector General of Police of Sri Lanka who shall be the head of the Police and report to the President.


Sri Lanka being a small country it is not practical on the ground to have nine separate Police forces for each province. Further, considering the imminent security concern from neighbouring countries it is not advisable to have regional Police forces considering the National Security and historical circumstances of Tamil terrorism.


12.         FINANCE


Only Parliament Controls Funds; Parliament shall have full control over public finance. No tax, rate or any other levy shall be imposed by any local authority or any other public authority and provincial or district authorities.


No Direct Funds; No direct funds, grants, aid and loans etc. whatsoever shall be directed to any other institution in Sri Lanka unless such funds, grants, aid, loans are first channelled through the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. Foreign States, Non-Governmental Organizations, and United Nations and the like shall also first channel such funding and materials through the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.


 13.0 DISTRICT DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL


The current Provincial Council system imposed by India by force on Sri Lanka is a failure. It was not able to serve the intended purpose but created a mess and constitutional failure in all aspect of current Provincial Council mechanism.


The current provincial council mechanism creates mistrust among the various ethnic communities. In particular, the 13th Amendment enacted for the setting up of Provincial Councils is violating the Unitary status of Sri Lanka and promoting a Federal State. This has created a huge mistrust among the people in North and East Provinces with the rest of the country. In short, the Provincial Council formed under the 13th Amendment, while violating the Unitary status of Sri Lanka and promoting the Federal Stated, which would lead to ultimate break up of Sri Lanka.


In view of the foregoing, the current Provincial Councils shall be repealed in their entirety along with the 13th Amendment made to the current Constitution.


In place of failed Provincial Councils, District Development Council should be established for each district. In this case there will be four Tamil majority District Development Councils and one Muslim majority District Development Council and a number of Sinhala majority District Development Councils. Each of these councils shall take care of the development of their respective districts. In this way there shall be 25 District Development Councils instead of number of Provincial councils and Local councils.


14.0 INTERNATIONAL TREATIES AND AGREEMENTS


The Government shall not enter into any agreements which are injurious or which have a prejudicial effect on Sri Lanka’s sovereignty, unitary character, territorial integrity, and national security.


Such agreements which are in relation to sovereignty, unitary character, territorial integrity, and national security of Sri Lanka shall only be valid upon approval of the two third majority of Parliament and a two third majority at a referendum


15.0 LANDS


All lands are belonging to the Government of Sri Lanka. No land shall be given to any other country or province and district.


All historical and archeologically valued and Buddhist historical important locations shall be preserved and developed by the Government.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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