Govt. to amend 20A at committee stage, AG tells court

Attorney General Dappula de Livera today (29) informed the Supreme Court that the Government has decided to add several amendments to the draft of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution during the committee stage in Parliament.

He informed this when the petitions challenging the draft bill of the 20th Amendment, which was tabled in Parliament by the Government, were taken up for consideration before a five-member Supreme Court judge bench this morning.

Several of these amendments that are to be made at the committee stage have already been submitted to the court through a motion, the Attorney General notified the judge bench.

The attorneys representing the petitioners then sought the Supreme Court to provide them with the relevant document containing the amendments.

Accordingly, the judge bench chaired by Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya instructed the Attorney General to hand over copies of the said document to the petitioners.

Four other Supreme Court justices, namely Buwaneka Aluwihare, Sisira de Abrew, Priyantha Jayawardhane and Vijith Malalgoda, are sitting for the hearing to consider the petitions along with the Chief Justice.

Thirty-nine petitions in total had been filed against the draft bill of the 20th Amendment so far.

Citing the Attorney General as the respondent, the petitions were put forward by the Election Commission member Professor Ratnajeevan Hoole, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), UNP General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, UNP Deputy Leader Ruwan Wijewardene, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Youth Wing Chairman Mayantha Dissanayake and Attorney-at-Law P. Liyanaarachchi of the Sirilaka Janatha Peramuna, Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL),  former Governor and Executive Director of the Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) Ranjith Keerthi Tennakoon, human rights activist Abdul Zanoon and many others.