A Bill titled ‘Divineguma’ was placed on the Order Paper of the Parliament (for the second time) on 9th October 2012.On presenting the Bill to Parliament the Hon. Speaker informed Parliament that the Governors of all 9 Provincial Councils had informed H.E the President that the respective Provincial Councils had no objection to the enactment of the said Bill.
The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) and its Executive Director Dr P. Saravanamuttu filed a Petition on 11th October 2012 in the Supreme Court (SC SD 06/2012) challenging the constitutionality of the Bill.
CPA reiterated its contention that the Bill violated Article 148, Article 150 and Article 4(A) read together with Article 3 of the Constitution. In its earlier determination the Supreme Court held that it did not need to examine the said inconsistencies as Bill had not been properly placed on the order paper of Parliament.
CPA contended that in light of the Northern Provincial Council not being constituted the procedure set out in Article 154(G) 3 could not have been followed and hence the Bill could not have been placed on the order paper for the second time. CPA further contended that the Governor was not empowered under the constitution to “express his views” on behalf of the Provincial Council and that such an usurpation by an executive actor of legislative power would be in violation of the doctrine of separation of powers.
The matter was taken up in the Supreme Court on 18th, 22nd and 23rd October 2012. Written Submissions were filed on the 24th.Media reports indicate the Supreme Court having sent its determination on this matter to the Speaker. The determination was presented to Parliament on 6th November 2012.
Divi Neguma bill was debated in Parliament on 8th January 2013.It was passed in Parliament with 2/3 majority and 160 voted for the bill while 53 voted against it.