MPs ask for new Bill containing amendments suggested by AG
By Shamindra Ferdinando
Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena yesterday (09) assured Parliament that the vote on the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Bill would not be held tomorrow (11).
PM Gunawardena gave this assurance in response to a petition from a section of MPs representing the Uthara Lanka Sabhagaya (ULS), requesting that the Bill be thouroughly examined before being put to the vote.
In a letter signed by Ven. Athureliye Rathana, Udaya Gammanpila, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Gevindu Cumaratunga and Jayantha Samaraweera, the ULS requested PM Gunawardena to withdraw the Bill, one-third of which had been deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, and to submit a fresh one containing amendments proposed by the Attorney General. Seeking postponement of the second reading of the Bill, the ULS pointed out the following issues to Gunawardena. (1) Supreme Court has ruled that nearly one-third of clauses in the Bill should be passed by a 2/3 majority. In addition to that, some should be also endorsed at a referendum (2) The Attorney General, on behalf of the government, has recommended amendments to all disputed clauses and the Bill could be passed with a simple majority, after replacement of the controversial sections (3) The challenge in incorporating the amendments at the Committee Stage following one day debate (4) The Committee of Public Finance hadn’t so far met to discuss the changes, in line with the Supreme Court ruling (5) The need to reschedule the debate, taking into consideration the above-mentioned matters (6) Introduction of a new Bill, taking into consideration all amendments proposed by the Attorney General and (7) The need for meaningful debate to identify shortcomings and possible dangers as the Supreme Court only deemed the constitutionality of the Bill.