By Hishan Welmilla
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has received approval from the Cabinet of ministers to appoint a 24 member committee comprising political party and civil society representatives, to seek public views, ideas and suggestions to be included in the proposed constitutional reforms for Sri Lanka.
The committee will obtain both oral and written submissions from the public on the above issue at island wide locations.
An announcement from the Lankan parliament said on Tuesday that the Prime Minister will move a resolution to form a ‘Constitutional Assembly’ (CA) comprising the entire membership of Parliament. The CA will be charged with the task of drafting a new constitution for Sri Lanka. The Speaker of the current parliament will be the Chair of the CA. He will be assisted by seven Deputy Chairs.
This will be third time independent Sri Lanka will be reworking its Constitution. The Colonial Constitution, which tied Sri Lanka to Britain despite independence, was replaced by a Republican Constitution in 1972. But in 1978, a new constitution replaced the UK style with a Presidential system. A distinguishing feature of the constitutional exercise is that the Tamils, the largest minority, will be participating for the first time.
Following the completion of the task, the committee will formulate a report and submit it to the Cabinet Sub-committee on Constitutional Reforms.
Attorney-at-law, Lal Wijenaike has been appointed as the head of this committee.
The other members include Faiz Mustapha PC, Prof.Gamini Samaranayake, Prof.A.M.Navaratne Bandara, Prof.M.L.A.Cader, N.Selvakumaran, S.Thawarasa, Kushan de Alwis PC, Dr.Harini Amerasuriya, Dr.Kumudu Kusum Kumara, Attorney-at-Law Sunil Jayaratne, Dr.Upul Abeyratne, Themiya Hurulle, Winston Pathiraja, Dr.S.Wijesandiran, attorney-at-law M.Y.M.Faiz, Nadeeka Damayanthi, attorney-at- law Kanthi Ranasinghe, S.C.C.Illankowan and Sirimasiri Hapuarachchi.