TNA Constitutional Proposal

Tamil National Alliance Logo 2.jpgby Tamil National Alliance, December 20, 2020

TNA constitutional proposal Dec 20 2020

…It is in this background that we assert that the following principles be adhered to, and realised, in
a new Sri Lankan constitution.

1. Nature of the State:
(1) Sri Lanka (Ceylon) shall be recognised as a free, sovereign, independent and united
Republic comprising the institutions of the Centre and of the Regions, which shall
exercise powers of governance as laid down in the Constitution.
(2) One of the Regions shall be for the territory predominantly occupied by the Tamil
speaking peoples in the North-East.

2. Fundamental Rights:
The Constitution shall include a comprehensive list of fundamental rights and freedoms,
founded on human dignity and personal autonomy, and reflecting the full gamut of Sri
Lanka’s international human rights obligations.

3. Language:
(1) The Constitution shall recognise Sinhala, Tamil, and English as the official languages
throughout Sri Lanka, and the languages of administration in the entire island.
(2) Citizens should have a right to interact with the State, whether in person or in
correspondence, in the language of their choice.
(3) The Constitution should specify that official documents, notices or directives which
communicate, imply or impose a penalty or fine or punishment have no force or effect
in law in the event they are issued in violation of language rights.

4. The Executive:
(1) The Constitution shall provide for a government with a ceremonial President who is
accountable to Parliament, and who acts on the advice of the Prime Minister. The
Prime Minister shall be the head of the cabinet of ministers.
(2) The cabinet of ministers, the state ministers, and the deputy ministers, shall be
appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister from amongst members
of Parliament. Assignment of subjects and functions shall be within the powers of the
Prime Minister, and these powers may be exercised by the Prime Minister at any time.

5. The Legislature:
(1) The Constitution shall provide for a bicameral legislature with a chamber comprising
members directly elected by the people, and a second chamber comprising
representatives of the Regions.
(2) Legislation shall be passed upon passage of a Bill by simple majority through both
chambers, except in the case of amendments to the Constitution, in which case, the
Bill shall be passed with a two-thirds majority in both chambers. And in the case of
amendments affecting devolution to the Regions, it shall have an additional
requirement of assent by every one of the delegations from the Regions to the second
chamber.
6. Sharing of Powers of Governance:
(1) There shall be Regional Councils for every Region, as defined in a schedule to the
Constitution.
(2) There shall be a Governor for each Region, who shall be appointed by the President
on the advice of the Chief Minister of the relevant Regional Council, and such advice
shall only be given with the approval of the Regional Council.
(3) The Governor shall, except as provided in the Constitution, act on the advice of the
Chief Minister and the cabinet of ministers of the Regional Council.
(4) Regional Councils shall have legislative power over subjects specified in a schedule
to the Constitution. The statutes duly enacted by a Regional Council shall prevail over
all previous legislation on the same subject with respect to the relevant region.
(5) Suitable time-bound arrangements shall be made with regard to Governor’s assent to
statutes to avoid delay.
(6) National policy on a devolved subject defeats the object of devolution. Therefore, all
Regions must be consulted and where all Regions agree, national policy must be
confined to framework legislation within which Regions can exercise fully legislative
and executive power pertaining to the devolved subject. Framework legislation shall
not curtail devolved power.
(7) The Central Legislature may make laws with respect to subjects devolved to the
Regional Councils, provided all Regional Councils vote to approve the said Bill.
Where a Regional Council does not so approve, the Act, if passed, shall not have force
or effect within the said Region.
(8) Devolved power cannot be overridden or taken back without the consent of the Region
concerned. In the case of Constitutional amendments affecting devolution, it should
have the approval of every regional delegation from the Regions in addition to two
third majority votes in both Houses.
(9) Assignment of subjects and functions shall be based on the principle of maximum
possible devolution. All subjects other than such subjects as must necessarily be with
the Central Government, such as national security, national defence, armed forces,
foreign affairs, and national economic affairs, must be devolved.
(10) Some of the important subjects and functions to be devolved shall include (but not
be limited to):
a. land;
b. law and order;
c. education including tertiary education;
d. health;
e. housing and construction;
f. agriculture and agrarian services;
g. irrigation;
h. fisheries;
i. animal husbandry and livestock development;
j. resettlement and rehabilitation;
k. local government;
l. regional public service;
m. regional police service;
n. religious and cultural affairs;
o. all other socioeconomic and cultural matters;
p. cooperatives and cooperative banks;
q. industries; and
r. taxation, central grants, international and domestic loans and grants, and
foreign direct investment.
(11) All appointments to the regional public service and regional police service, other
than the Chief Secretary and other secretaries to regional ministries, shall be made
by the Regional Public Service Commission and the Regional Police Commission,
as the case may be, which shall be answerable and responsible to the Chief Minister
and to the cabinet of ministers of the relevant Region.
(12) The Chief Secretary shall be appointed by the President with the concurrence of the
Chief Minister of the Region, and shall be removable by the President on the advice
of the Chief Minister. Secretaries to regional ministries shall be appointed by the
Governor on the recommendation of the Chief Minister and the cabinet of ministers
of the relevant Region, and shall be removable on their advice.
(13) There shall be adequate provision made in the Constitution for the protection of the
minority communities in every Region.

7. The Judiciary:
(1) The Constitution shall provide for a Constitutional Court, comprising members
appointed by the Constitutional Council, to hear and determine the constitutionality
of legislation made by the Central Legislature and statutes made by Regional
Councils. Such power may be exercised prior to the enactment of such law or statute,
or after enactment, whether it arises in the course of legal proceedings or by the direct
institution of proceedings.
(2) In respect of matters relating to the interpretation of the Constitution, the decisions of
the Constitutional Court shall be final.
(3) Jurisdiction with respect to fundamental rights applications shall be exercised by the
Provincial High Courts.

8. Public Security:
(1) The Constitution shall provide that the declaration of a state of emergency shall be
made by the President, on the advice of the Prime Minister, or on the advice of the
Governor of the Region with the concurrence of the Chief Minister of Region. Such a
state of emergency shall only be declared when there are reasonable grounds to
apprehend the existence of a clear and present danger to public security, preservation
of public order (including preservation of public order consequent to natural disasters
and epidemics) or the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the life of the
community in the country or Region. A state of emergency can be declared only with
respect to the territory where such a clear and present danger prevails.
(2) The declaration of emergency shall state the basis on which such a state of emergency
was declared, and shall be limited in time.
(3) The Declaration of Emergency shall be subject to parliamentary approval or the
relevant Regional Council’s approval, as the case may be, and be subject to judicial
review by the Constitutional Court. If such approval is not granted, or where the
Constitutional Court so holds, such Declaration of Emergency shall stand rescinded.

9. Land:
(1) Land shall be a devolved subject. All state land used by the Central Government
for a subject in the Central List shall be continued to be used by the Central
Government. Rights acquired by citizens in state land shall be preserved. All other
state land shall vest in the Region concerned, and can be used by the Region in
terms of its devolved powers over land.
(2) Alienation of state land shall be done on the basis of the principles enunciated in
the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact and Senanayake-Chelvanayakam Pact.
(3) Regions shall have powers of land acquisition and requisition.

10. Police:
(1) Law and order shall be a devolved subject.
(2) There shall be a National Police Force, and Regional Police Forces for each
Region.
(3) Offences that are reserved to be dealt with by the National Police shall be listed in
a schedule to the Constitution. All other offences shall be within the purview of
the Regional Police.
(4) The head of the Regional Police will be the Regional Police Commissioner, who
shall be appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister of the
Region.  There shall be a Regional Police Commission appointed by the
Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister and the leader of the opposition of
the relevant Regional Council.  Appointment and disciplinary control of Regional
Police personnel shall be under the Regional Police Commission.  The Regional
Police Commissioner shall be answerable and responsible to the Regional Minister
entrusted with the subject of law and order.

signed:

R. Sampanthan – Leader, Tamil National Alliance and Parliamentary Group Leader of ITAK

Mavai S Senathirajah – Leader, ITAK, co-Leader, TNA

Selvam Adaikanathan – Leader, TELO and co-Leader, TNA

D. Sidthadthan – Leader, PLOTE and co-Leader, TNA

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