Constitutional amendment: New 22A draft Bill in Cabinet tomorrow

A new draft Bill of the Government’s proposed 22nd Amendment to the Constitution is to be taken up for discussion at the Cabinet meeting tomorrow (1 August), The Sunday Morning learns.

The Justice Ministry last week sent the new draft Bill to the Cabinet Secretary to be included in the agenda of Monday’s Cabinet meeting to be taken up for discussion and decision.

Justice Minister Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe told The Sunday Morning that the new draft 22nd Amendment would be gazetted once the Cabinet granted approval and presented it to Parliament seven days after the gazette was issued.

When asked about the provisos that were included in the previous 22nd Amendment draft Bill during President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s tenure, the Minister noted that all provisos that were included in the previous draft Bill due to the former President’s request had now been completely removed.

Therefore, the new draft Bill will reflect the 19th Amendment to the Constitution and will go even beyond that, according to Rajapakshe.

He explained that the new draft Bill contained more features that empowered the Parliament as well as mechanisms to counter bribery and corruption. “It is, therefore, a 19th Amendment Plus scenario,” the Minister added.

The draft Bill of the 22nd Amendment that was earlier presented to Parliament was terminated following the prorogation of Parliament until Wednesday (3 August) last week.

In the previous 22nd Amendment draft Bill, former President Rajapaksa requested certain powers vested with the Executive Presidency to remain during the period of the incumbent Parliament.

Among the clauses that the provisos requested were the ones on the President’s power to appoint members to the Cabinet and ministry secretaries, the holding of Cabinet portfolios, and the President’s power to remove a prime minister.