Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is aiming for the presentation of a draft Constitution Bill by the end of this year, according to Lal Wijenayake, chairman of the Public Representations Committee on Constitutional Reforms.
(Two senior Cabinet Ministers in the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government, on separate occasions, told this correspondent recently that a draft Bill would be ready later this year.)
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the report was presented to the Prime Minister and Speaker of Parliament and chairman of the Constitutional Assembly, Karu Jayasuriya.
Asked what would happen to the panel’s report, Mr. Wijenayake replied that there were six sub-committees, dealing with various subjects, as spelt out by the committee. Once the subcommittees completed their work, they would present their findings to the Steering Committee, which would, in turn, present a report to the Constitutional Assembly along with a draft proposal.
To a query which issue was the most challenging, the panel’s chief pointed to the nature of the State.
Even though there were differences among members of the committee as to how certain objectives should be accomplished, the panel was unanimous that institutions of governance should be strengthened; no room be given for subverting democracy; rule of law and independence of judiciary be ensured; human rights be respected; the delivery of public services be revamped and national reconciliation be achieved.
People will see it as their Constitution
Emphasising that unlike in the previous instances of the 1972 and 1978 Constitutions, extensive discussions and consultations were held with people this time. “People will see this [new] Constitution as their Constitution. I hope that it will last longer than others,” he added. (The Hindu)