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18th Constitutional Amendment must obtain assent from Provincial Councils to be law

Sep 9, 2010 6:56:27 AM- transcurrents.com

by M.A. Sumanthiran

(This is the text of an objection raised by Tamil National Alliance Par;iamentarian M. A.Sumanthiran when the 18th constitutional Amendment was placed on the order paper of Parliament)

Mr. Speaker, I rise to a point of order.

This point of order is in relation to Standing Order No.46A.

Standing Order 46A mandates the procedure with regard to Urgent Bills with a provision in respect to any matter set out in List III of the Ninth Schedule to the Constitution.

This is in view of the provision contained in Article 154 G (2) and (3) of the Constitution.

Article 154 G (2) states that “no Bill for the amendment or repeal of the provisions of Chapter XVIIA or the Ninth Schedule shall become law unless such Bill has been referred by the President, after publication in the Gazette and before it is placed on the Order Paper of Parliament, to every Provincial Council …”

And Article 154 G (3) provides that “no Bill in respect of any matter set out in the Provincial Council List shall become law unless such Bill has been referred by the President, after publication in the Gazette and before it is placed on the Order Paper of Parliament, to every Provincial Council …”

The Bill titled “Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution” has certain provision in respect of matters set out in Chapter XVIIA and List III of the Ninth Schedule to the Constitution:

Clauses 20 and 22 of the Bill have provisions in respect of matters set out in the Provincial Council List and seeks to amend and/or repeal the provisions with regard to Provincial Public Service Commission and Provincial Police Commission, both of which are referred to in the Ninth Schedule to the Constitution.

The Supreme Court has at least on two previous occasions ruled that such Bills cannot be placed on the Order Paper of Parliament without first complying with the procedural requirements of Articles 154 G (3):

Supreme Court determination on “Water Services Reform Bill” made on 13.11.2003 clearly holds that a Bill in respect of a matter set out in the Provincial Council List cannot be placed on the Order Paper of Parliament without first complying with the provisions of Article 154 G (3) of the Constitution;

Supreme Court determination on “Local Authorities (Special Provisions) Bill made on 19.12.2010 also holds that since the said Bill relates to certain matters set out in the Provincial Council List it ought to be referred by HE the President to every Provincial Council as required by Article 154 (G) (3) of the Constitution before it is placed on the Order Paper of Parliament.

In view of the fact that the Bill titled: “Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution” has not been referred to every Provincial Council after publication in the Gazette, as mandated by Article 154 G (2) and (3) of the Constitution, this may not be placed on the Order Paper of Parliament at this stage as it violates Standing Order 46A as well.

M A Sumanthiran MP
ITAK (TNA) – National List

7 September 2010