New bill to curtail powers devolved under 13th Amendment

13 amendment      The government decided yesterday to appoint the much hyped Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) proposed some time ago to work out political proposals for the resolution of the national question, Daily Mirror learns.

The decision was taken at a meeting with the leaders of the ruling party’s allies. The Select Committee proposed some time back could not be appointed because the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) declined to participate in it. However, it was decided at the meeting chaired by President Mahinda Rajapaksa that it would be appointed whether or not all parties agreed to participate in it. Accordingly, the government will consult Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa to take the necessary steps in this respect.

Earlier, the government had assured the international community that the PSC would be the best forum to evolve a political solution in consensus with all the parties. It is learnt that the United National Party had hinted that it would be willing to attend the Committee’s deliberations.

Besides this, the government has also decided to introduce legislation limit the powers devolved to the provincial councils in accordance with the 13thAmendment. The proposed bill seeks to annul the clause in the 13th Amendment that provides for the amalgamation of two or more councils for the purpose of forming of a new council.

According to the present system, the central government has to obtain the approval of all the provincial councils when enacting legislation on subjects devolved to the Councils under the 13th Amendment. The government intends to remove that power as well. The new bill, if enacted, will provide for approval by a majority of the councils rather than by all. (Daily Mirror)

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