Weerawansa’s bid against 13A postponed, not abandoned

On hold as he’s a member of the impeachment Select Committee


By Shamindra Ferdinando

UPFA constituent, the National Freedom Front (NFF) yesterday emphasized that it would move the Supreme Court against the 13th Amendment to the Constitution regardless outcome of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) inquiry into a spate of allegations directed at the Chief Justice, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake

The breakaway JVP faction led by Minister Wimal Weerawansa, MP, is confident that action could be initiated early next year. Attorney- at-law, Chinthaka Mendis, who is spearheading the effort on behalf of the NFF, said that the party was to initiate action last Monday.

"We temporarily suspended the initiative due to NFF leader, Weerawansa being a member of the 11-member PSC," Mendis told The Sunday Island.

Mendis stressed that they would definitely go ahead with planned legal action immediately after the PSC announced its decision on Chief Justice Bandaranayake. The PSC recently called for the CJ’s written response to allegations made against her by a group of government MPs by Nov 23, 2012.

Mendis dismissed assertion that the NFF called off its much publicized effort due to political pressure. There was absolutely no other reason than NFF leader Weerawansa being on the PSC headed by Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, said Mendis who is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Constitutional Law at Indiana University in the United States.

Commenting on the ongoing simmering political debate involving various political parties, with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) calling for constitutional changes to pave the way for the country to be divided to three or four zones instead of Provincial Councils, Mendis said that there was no way out of constitutional imbroglio other than seeking a ruling from the Supreme Court.

Such a course of action would prevent various interested parties, both here and abroad from making a political issue as part of their overall strategy targeting the Sri Lankan state.

Alleging that the then JRJ administration had introduced the 13th Amendment at the behest of India, Mendis said that it was enacted in violation of many fundamental constitutional provisions. The attorney-at-law alleged that the JRJ administration acted in contempt of the Supreme Court hence violated procedural process and the tripartite division of powers of government in the Constitution.

"Certainly, the procedure prescribed by the Constitution has not been followed in the enactment of the 13th Amendment and as such irreparable procedural error has been caused in the enactment. Therefore it should never to have become laws in this country,"Mendis said.

Asked whether the NFF was seeking to gain political mileage at the expense of ongoing national reconciliation efforts, Mendis said that the late Justice R.S. Wanasundara had clearly explained the circumstances under which the 13th Amendment was brought in.

"If you go through the proceedings of the National Revival Commission, you’ll realize the illegality of the entire process with regard to the 13th Amendment as well the Provincial Council law," Mendis said.

Responding to another query, Mendis said that the 13th Amendment was akin to the Post Tsumani Operational Management Structure (PTOMS), which, too, sought to bring the LTTE to the political mainstream.

Commenting on the enactment of 13th Amendment as well as the Provincial Councils Bill under questionable circumstances, Mendis said that they would seek a declaration from the Supreme Court on the legality of the 13th Amendment and the Provincial Councils.

He said that the following steps should have been followed for the valid enactment of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and the Provincial Councils Bills without deviations from the law as per the Supreme Court Determination:

(1)The revised 13th Amendment should have been referred for the opinion of the Supreme Court.

(2) If the revised 13th Amendment was approved by the Court, it should have been presented to Parliament for debate, voted on and passed as indicated by the Court.

(3) If the 13th Amendment becomes law on the grant of the Speaker’s certificate, then the second Bill, the Provincial Councils Bill, must itself be referred to the Supreme Court for its opinion.

(4) If its legality is approved by Court, this Second Bill viz. the Provincial Councils Bill, must be presented to Parliament, voted on and passed with the required majority

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