Five-member SC judge bench to consider petitions against 20A

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A special judge bench consisting of Supreme Court justices has been appointed to consider the petitions filed against the draft bill of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution.

The judge bench, chaired by Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, consists of four other Supreme Court Justices Buwaneka Aluwihare, Jayantha Jayawardhane, Vijith Malalgoda and Sisira de Abew.

The petitions will be taken up for consideration on the 29th of September.

Twelve petitions in total have been put forward against the 20th Amendment so far.

They were filed by the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader Parliamentarian R. Sampanthan, Anil Kariyawasam, public interest litigation activist Nagananda Kodituwakku, Executive Director of Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, Attorney-at-Law Indika Gallage, former Governor of Southern Province and former ex-Executive Director of Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon, Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL), human rights activist Abdul Sanun and 03 civilians named S.C.C. illangavon, Lohini Fernando and Lakmal Jayakody.

The Attorney General has been cited as the respondent of the petitions.

The petitioners claim that certain provisions of the proposed draft bill of the 20th Amendment severely violate the country’s Constitution.

They call for a two-thirds majority of the Parliament and a referendum to pass the draft bill.

The draft bill of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution was tabled at the Parliament on September 22, amidst the protests of the Opposition.

The Cabinet of Ministers granted its approval to the draft bill of the 20th Amendment on the 2nd of September and its extraordinary gazette notification was published the following day (September 23).