SC begins considering petitions against 20A for third day

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The Supreme Court has commenced considering the petitions filed against the draft bill of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution for the third day this morning (02).

Consideration of the petitions commenced before the five-member judge bench chaired by Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya. The bench consists of Supreme Court justices Buwaneka Aluwihare, Sisira de Abrew, Priyantha Jayawardhane and Vijith Malalgoda.

On Wednesday (30), attorneys appearing on behalf of 32 of the petitions filed challenging the proposed constitutional amendment had concluded their statements.

The court then postponed further consideration of the petitions until this morning (02). The statements on the remainder of the petitions are expected to be delivered today.

Thirty-nine petitions in total were filed against the draft bill of the 20th Amendment, citing the Attorney General as the respondent.

The petitions have been put forward by 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.

Meanwhile, Ministers Nimal Siripala de Silva, Gamini Lokuge and Prof. GL Peiris have filed interlocutory petitions seeking permission to present cross-submissions pertaining to the petitions challenging the 20th Amendment draft bill.

In addition, MPs Sagara Kariyawasam, Venerable Omare Kassapa Thera, M. Dayaratne, W.A. Weerathilake and P.G.B. Abeyratne also filed interlocutory petitions.

When the petitions were taken up on Tuesday (29), Attorney General Dappula de Livera informed the 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.