On 23 September 2020, The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) and its Executive Director, Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu filed a Petition in the Supreme Court challenging the proposed Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution. A Brief overview of the Petition filed on behalf of CPA and its Executive Director is available here.
The CPA’s basic position was that several clauses of the Bill had a prejudicial impact on the Sovereignty of the people (Article 3) and therefore required to be passed by a 2/3rds majority in Parliament and by the people at a referendum. The full Petition filed by CPA can be viewed here.
The only determination the Supreme Court can make in relation to a Bill which is a constitutional amendment, is whether the Bill as a whole or a part of it has to be passed at a referendum. Relevant extract from Chapter XVI, Article 120 of the Constitution is below:
Considering the number of persons who challenged the 20th amendment Bill and the limited time frame during which the Supreme Court had to decide on the issue, the court limited the time allocated for each Petition and allowed all Petitioners to file comprehensive written submissions on 2 October.
The written submissions filed by CPA and its Executive Director can be viewed here.
The Court also allowed the Petitioners to file further written submissions in response to Arguments made by the Attorney General on 5 October. The further written submissions filed by CPA and its Executive Director can be viewed here.