by Saman Indrajith
The main Opposition, the SJB, yesterday said that the Attorney General had observed that the government’s attempt to reconvene dissolved local government bodies through a private member’s bill was unconstitutional.
Addressing the media at the Opposition Leader’s Office in Colombo, Chief Opposition Whip and Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella said that the Attorney General had informed the Secretary General of Parliament that the private member’s bill presented to the House through SLPP backbencher Jayantha Ketagoda contained clauses that were inconsistent with the Constitution and some of them would have to be passed by a two-third majority in Parliament besides being approved by the people at a referendum.
“The Attorney General has observed that the draft bill, titled Pradeshiya Sabha (Amendment) by MP Ketagoda, has clauses inconsistent with the Constitutional provisions governing sovereignty and fundamental rights of the people.
The AG has also observed that the clause 2 of the draft bill is inconsistent with Articles 3, 4, 21(1) and 14(1) of the Constitution and will require a special majority of Parliament and approval by the people at a referendum in terms of Article 83 of the Constitution,” Kiriella said, quoting from the AG’s letter to the Secretary General of Parliament.
“This is another attempt that has backfired on this government. They wanted to get their men reappointed to local government bodies without holding elections. The government, which puts off elections, claiming that it had no money will have to raise funds for a referendum if it is to secure the passage of Ketagoda’s Bill.
“The private member bill by MP Ketagoda was nothing but a move to give a boost to the SLPP grassroot members who are in disarray after the Aragalaya protests and the economic crisis. We know that the SLPP leaders have promised their grassroots level members that those who had been in the local councils would be reappointed without elections and asked them to campaign hard to revive the SLPP.