Local Govt. Ordinance amendment bill before SC
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 12 February 2002, 15:11 GMT]
President Chandrika Kumaratunge Tuesday made a special request under Section 122 of the Constitution to the Chief Justice to report to her within twenty-four hours whether the proposed amendment to the Local Government Ordinance is consistent with the present Constitution. The President made this request on receipt of the proposed amendment bill from the United National Front (UNF) government.
A three-member bench of the Supreme Court comprised Justices S.W.BWadugodapitya, D.P.S.Gunasekara and Ameer Ismail is to meet Wednesday to consider the amendment bill. According to the Constitution, the Supreme Court should convey its decision confidentially to the President and the Speaker within twenty-four hours on receipt of the bill
The Cabinet of the UNF government had already approved the draft amendment, which empowers the Commissioner of Elections to postpone elections to local government institutions under special circumstances.
Tamil political circles expect that with the passage of the amendment to the Local Government Ordinance next week in Parliament, the elections scheduled to be held in northeast local authorities could be postponed. The parliament is scheduled to meet on February 18 to debate the Local Government Ordinance amendment bill.
Meanwhile the new Leader of the Opposition Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse said Tuesday that his party (People's Alliance) is for the postponement of elections to all local government authorities throughout the island.
However the Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) has demanded that elections be held in all parts of the country on the same day and not on staggered basis.
The JVP has accused the UNF government for its decision to hold the local government elections in two phases with an intention of postponing the elections in the northeast province.
The Election Commission last week announced that elections to local government authorities in northeast would be held on March 25 and in others areas in the country on March 20.