Law-making in Sri Lanka is dangerous without judicial oversight: Kiriella

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka needs judicial review to stop laws that are changed at the last minute at “committee stage” without debate and may be unconstitutional, opposition leader Lakshman Kiriella has said.

“It’s a serious flaw in the parliamentary system (in Sri Lanka),” Kiriella told President Mahinda Abeywardena.

“You know that in committee, the amendments are bought. If the correct or incorrect amendments are passed, they cannot be challenged in court. »

In Sri Lanka, a bill can be challenged in the Supreme Court on its constitutionality. However, subsequent amendments made at committee stage cannot be challenged.

Kiriella’s comments came after Harsha de Silva, chairman of the House’s Public Finances Committee, asked on Monday how an amendment landed on his desk saying property development companies would be exempt from a proposed $2 cascading tax. .6%.

He was later informed that this was a mistake by Finance Ministry officials and that another newspaper should have been printed and distributed.

“The court does not have the power to review a bill passed in parliament,” Kiriella said. “It’s dangerous. We need to change the constitution.

“If, as Harsha de Silva says, a bad amendment was made, it was passed… In the future, when we change the constitution, we must restore judicial control.

Alleged attempts to subvert the legislative process by going through last-minute changes without debate have featured repeatedly in the recent past.

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Sri Lanka’s legislative charade without judicial review at ‘committee stage’ exposed

De Silva said he was told the First Amendment was a mistake and the Public Finances Committee. (Colombo/08/09/2022)