Parliamentarian, Dr. Jayampathy Wickremaratna PC said the intention of ratifying the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was to reduce the powers vested in the Presidency having further strengthened Parliament, the President cannot dissolve Parliament according to his dictates without a two-thirds vote in the Legislature.
He said the 19th Amendment has also empowered the dissolution of Parliament only after the completion of four-and-a-half years from the date of convening the House after the conclusion of a General Election.
He affirmed that the Constitution should be considered as a whole and not in parts . it is only then that it could be interpreted properly.
“If that is done this process will become a joke”, said MP Wickremaratna PC.
Meanwhile, J.C. Weliamuna PC said that interpreting only clauses that are beneficial to some, it cannot be fully comprehended.
Speaking further, Dr. Wickremaratna said that “Till the 19th Amendment was brought, the President had unlimited powers to dissolve Parliament. However, those powers have now been curtailed by the 19th Amendment”.
In Article 65 of the Constitution, the full duration of Parliament has been listed as five years.
Also in Article 70 of the Constitution it has been stated that through a proposal that is ratified through a two-thirds majority vote, Parliament can be dissolved by the President.
“But, as per Article 33, power has not been entrusted in the President to dissolve Parliament, and some have begun to say that Article 70 is not having an impact.
In Article 33 it has only been stated as to who could convene Parliament, who could suspend Parliament or dissolve it.
Article 70 states as to how those actions can be taken and the time frame concerned.
Hence, the Constitution has to be read along with the clauses that are in the Constitution before the 19th Amendment,” said MP Wickremaratna.