Thirty-one petitions against constitutional amendments

[TamilNet, Thursday, 26 September 2002, 18:18 GMT]
Thirty-one petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court (SC) challenging the legality of the eighteenth and nineteenth constitutional amendments, which was tabled in parliament on September 19.

The majority of the petitions were filed against the nineteenth amendment, which restricts the powers of the President in dissolving parliament. Four petitions were filed Thursday, the last day for filing objections to the draft constitutional amendments, court sources said.

Petitioners have prayed the SC to determine that the government should hold a referendum on the proposed constitutional amendments in addition to the passage of them with two third majority in parliament, court sources said.

Several political parties including the main opposition Peoples Alliance, Sri Lanka Freedom Party, major constituent of the PA, Mahajana Eksath Peramuna, Lanka Sama Samaja Party, Sinhala Jathika Peramuna, Democratic Left Front and Liberal Party have filed these petitions. Several lawyers are also among the petitioners, sources said.

The eighteenth constitutional amendment is to strengthen the functioning of the eleven-member Constitutional Council that has been appointed under the seventeenth constitutional amendment.

All the thirty-one amendments will be mentioned shortly before the Chief Justice who will later fix dates for the inquiry and appoint panels of judges to hear the petitions, court sources said.

Meanwhile PA's former minister and at present a parliamentarian Mr. Richard Pathirana Wednesday addressing a meeting in the south of the country said that he would support and vote for the nineteenth constitutional amendment.

 

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