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Govt to amend 20A at committee stage; AG to SC

The five-member Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya this morning commenced considering the 39 petitions filed challenging the draft bill of the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution.

The petitions are being considered before Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya and Justices Buwaneka Aluwihare, Sisira De Abrew, Priyantha Jayawardena and Vijith Malalgoda.

Making his submissions this morning, the Attorney General informed the bench that the government is intending on making several changes to the draft bill of the proposed 20th Amendment during the Committee Stage in Parliament.

The Supreme Court bench is expected to deliver its determination pertaining to the Constitutional Amendment within 21 days to the President and the Speaker of House.

39 petitions had been filed before the Supreme Court against the proposed 20th Amendment to the Constitution. Petitions were filed by member of the Election Commission Ratnajeevan Hoole, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya, the Tamil National Alliance, the United National Party, the Centre for Policy Alternatives, Transparency International, the Ceylon Teacher Services Union and several other groups.

The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna is acting as an intermediary in the petitions.

The petitioners are challenging the constitutionality of several clauses of the proposed 20th Amendment and also seeking a declaration that the proposed bill in whole or in part requires the approval by voters at a public referendum and requires a two-thirds majority in Parliament.

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