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Press Release: Serious concerns over the ‘Divineguma Bill’

Press Release: Serious concerns over the ‘Divineguma Bill’

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Published by Sanjana Hattotuwa
Press Release: Serious concerns over the ‘Divineguma Bill’
Press Release: Serious concerns over the ‘Divineguma Bill’

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Published by: Sanjana Hattotuwa on Aug 17, 2012
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05/13/2014

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Centre for Policy Alternatives (Guarantee) Limited | 24/2, 28th Lane, off Flower Road, Colombo 7, Sri LankaTel: +94 11 2565304-6, 5552746, 5552748 | Fax: +94 11 4714460 | Email: cpa@cpalanka.org | Web: www.cpalanka.org
PressRelease:Seriousconcernsoverthe‘DivinegumaBill’
17 
th
August2012,Colombo,SriLanka:
TheCentreforPolicyAlternatives(CPA)isconcernedaboutthetablingofthe“DivinegumaBill”inParliamentwhichifenactedwillhaveseriousimplicationsfordemocracy,devolutionandgoodgovernanceinSriLanka.CPAanditsExecutiveDirectorfiledaPetitiontodayintheSupremeCourt(SCSD3/2012)challengingtheconstitutionalityoftheBill.
CPAisconcernedwithboththeprocessbywhichtheBillwasintroducedanditssubstantiveprovisions.WhilsttheBillhasawidereach,CPAhighlightsthetwomostimportantissues.TheBill,ifenacted,provideswidepowerstotheMinisterinchargeofEconomicDevelopmenttoregulateanddecideonawiderangeofissuesincludingsubjectswithinthepurviewoftheProvincialCouncils,withlimitedchecksandbalances.TheBillcontainsseveralclausesprovidingforthetakeoverofsubjectsprovidedintheProvincialCouncillistintheThirteenthAmendmenttotheConstitution,raisingseriousconcernsnotmerelyofcentralisationandtheconsolidationofpower,butalsoofthepoliticalwilloftheGovernmentintermsofitspledgestoimplementtothefullexistingprovisionsintheconstitutionondevolution.Furthermore,theBillifenactedwilltakeawaytheambitofoversightmechanisms,especiallyintheareaoffinancialcontrolandaccountability.TheBillalsocontainsprovisionforofficersandservantsoftheDepartmentestablishedthroughtheBilltosignadeclarationpledgingsecrecyrelatedtoworkofthesaidDepartment,raisingquestionsastowhysuchaprovisionshouldbeincludedinrespectofaDepartmentthatismeanttoserveandbeaccountabletothepeople.CPAholdsthatanyGovernmentinstitutionincludingdepartmentsmustbeaccountabletothelegislatureandbetransparentintheirfunctionsespeciallyintheareaoffinance.Thus,itisessentialthatallentitiesreceivinganddealingwithStatefundsadheretothestandardssetintermsofChapterXVIIoftheConstitution.Inadditiontotherangeofsubstantiveissuesthatareproblematic,thereareconcernsaboutprocess.ThelackofdiscussionandtransparencypriortothetablingoftheBillandofanyknownconsultationamongcommunitiesandotherswhowillbeaffectedisextremelytroubling.Thisisageneralproblemrelatedtothelawmakingprocessandparticularlysointhiscase,giventheimplicationsofsuchaBill.CPAhopesthatthechallengingoftheBillwillraisepublicawarenessandgeneratediscussionanddebateonit–processesthatareparamountinafunctioningdemocracy.The“DivinegumaBill”canbeaccessedhere.

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