Sri Lankan house panel to study issues linked to 13A
The Sri Lankan Cabinet on Thursday decided to ask the Parliament Speaker to appoint a Select Committee to examine all issues relating to the controversial 13th Amendment (13A) of the constitution and submit a report within a time-frame.
Cabinet spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella told the media here that the government would take up the matter with the Speaker, Chamal Rajapaksa, on June 18.
Merger of Provinces
However, the cabinet decided that the existing provision in the 13A for parliament to merge two or more provinces to form a single province, should be done away with.
The government is anxious to see that a future parliament does not merge provinces as it did in 1987 when it merged the Northern and Eastern Provinces to form a single, Tamil-speaking, North-Eastern Province (NEP) which accounted for a third of Lanka’s land mass and two thirds of its coastline.
The North and East were separated in 2006 as a result of a case filed in SC.
The cabinet decided that the proposed PSC should be asked to go into the other issues raised in regard to 13A, such as taking away of land and law and order from the Provincial List; and the dilution of the requirement that all Provincial Councils must give their consent before the Centre legislates on a subject in the Provincial List.
The cabinet decided to leave these issues to the Parliament Select Committee (PSC) because it was divided on these matters.
The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), the Eelam Peoples’ Democratic Party (EPDP) and the Leftist Lanka Sama Samaj Party (LSSP) were opposed to any changes in the 13A.
The Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) wanted the 13A removed root and branch.
The National Freedom Front (NFF) was in-between, wanting only land and law and order to be taken away from the Provincial List.