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Government Gazette

Dissolution of PCs a correct move - Prof. G.L. Peiris

‘Decision in the hands of the people’:

COLOMBO: Export Development and International Trade Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris yesterday outlined the decision taken by the Governors to dissolve North Central and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Councils as a completely correct move from a political, legal and practical standpoint.

Prof. G.L. Peiris

“We cannot understand at all why there is opposition to the dissolution of these Provincial Councils in this situation.

Because what is sought to be done is to hand this problem over to the people of these areas,” the Minister told the weekly Cabinet press briefing yesterday.

The Government is not going to make a decision or act arbitrarily on this issue. The Government has decided to invite the people in these two provinces to decide for themselves by exercising their franchise which is a fundamental democratic right.

“The people are being asked to determine the future of these two provinces,” he said. “This is the essence of democracy. The people have been provided the opportunity of deciding according to their own wishes on what kind of administration they would like to have in these two provinces,” the Minister said.

“Therefore we cannot understand what the rationale is for objecting to this decision. Whoever is objecting to the dissolution of these two Provincial Councils under these circumstances is objecting to the implementation of the democratic process,” he said. “If someone is objecting to the elections being held, that means they are frightened of public opinion. Therefore this is an anti-democratic attitude,” the Minister said

“ As far as the law is concerned, the law is set out in article 154 ( 8 B) of the 13th Amendment which is part and parcel of the Constitution. At the provincial council level, we have a Westminster style Cabinet system of Government.

As long as the Chief Minister commands the confidence of the majority of the members of the Provincial Council, the Chief Minister cannot dissolve the Provincial Council.

“However, the Chief Minister after ruling the Provincial Council over a certain period comes to the conclusion that he can no longer run the affairs of the Provincial Council and if he advices the Governor of the province, the Governor is bound to act according to the recommendations of the Chief Minister to dissolve the Provincial Council.

That is the principle embodied in the Westminster system of Government. Prof. Peiris said: “The judicial decisions of this matter in the past do not in anyway conflict with what I have just said. In the Mahindasoma case which was decided sometimes ago, the situation was entirely different. In that case, the Provincial Council was dissolved by the Governor without the recommendation of the Chief Minister.

That is what was held to be unlawful. But what has happened in this situation is very different. Because all process was based on a recommendation coming from the Chief Ministers of the two provinces.”

The Chief Ministers have said that they have run the Provincial Councils for the past three years without any problem. But the situation has now undergone to a change.

The political composition of the alliances of the parties have undergone a change. Therefore, the Chief Ministers have said they cannot carry on the administration of the Provincial Councils under this new situation. That is the fundamental difference between this situation and Mahindasoma case.

“In this case the Governors have adopted the only course of action that is open to them under the law set out in the 13th amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka.”

Some people are argued that the Governors should have done something else without dissolving the Provincial Councils. They should have tried to find out whether an alternative administration is possible in the North Central and Sabaragamuwa provinces.

It is not for the Governors to go shopping around among different political parties to see whether some kind of alliance can be cobbled together to set up some kind of alternative administration.

The Leadership of the JVP has clearly stated that they do not have any intention of forming alliances and come to a common programme of action with the UNP. Therefore the common programme of action between the JVP and the UNP has been completely ruled out.

“Then how can the Governors of these two provinces invite the UNP and the JVP to come together to form an alternative administration in those areas ? In these circumstances, there was no practical alternative to the Governors of the two provinces rather than dissolve the two Provincial Councils.


Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
Ceylinco Banyan Villas
Mount View Residencies

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