13th Amendment full of flaws: TNA
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) yesterday said that the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was riddled with flaws and therefore it could not be accepted as a basis for power devolution under the present circumstances.
The TNA’s latest remarks came in the backdrop of some quarters including India asking the government of Sri Lanka to evolve a political solution based on the 13th Amendment plus.
TNA spokesman MP Suresh Premachandran told the Daily Mirror yesterday that the 13th Amendment was already a part of the Constitution, there is no need for the government to consult the TNA to implement it meaningfully.
“If the government is genuinely committed to it, there is no need for them to have a dialogue with us. Today, the 13th Amendment is full of flaws. The government can devolve powers to the governors of the provincial councils instead of empowering the boards of ministers. It is a constitutional lacuna,” he said.
Also, he said that the national policy planning is done today by the central government despite the 13th Amendment.
“The provincial councils need land, police and fiscal powers. If the Centre is involved in all these matters, the hands of the provincial councils will be constitutionally tightened,” he said.
Referring to the one year long political dialogue with the government, he said that none of the key areas of power devolution or sharing had been discussed.
“We have not discussed the devolution of land and police powers. Also, we have not touched the topic of the re-merger of the north and the east,” he said.
The 13th Amendment was introduced in 1987 after the Indo-Lanka accord was signed. It provided for the establishment of provincial councils in the country. Mr. Premachandran’s EPRLF was the first parry to government the merged north-east provincial council.
Central province Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayake said none of the powers detrimental to the national security and territorial integrity of the country should be devolved to the provinces.
“In my view, we enjoy land powers subject to certain limitations. Police power is needed to maintain law and order. But, in our country, police power was used during the war time for the national security of the country. The central government should not devolve any power detrimental to the national security,” he said.
Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), a party of the ruling coalition, said there should be a separate administrative unit for Muslims when a political solution is worked out.
SLMC General Secretary Hasan Ali said this unit should be formed covering the three Muslim dominated electorates in the east, namely Kalmunai, Samanthurai and Potuvil.