For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
Thursday, 28 October 2010
By S.S. Selvanayagam
Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP Mavai Senathirajah yesterday complained to the Supreme Court that the two Bills relating to the local authorities placed on the parliament order paper cannot become law since they had not been referred to the Northern Provincial Council.
Attorney Mohan Balendra in separate applications filed on behalf of Mr. Senathirajah challenged the “Local Authorities (Special Provisions)” Bill and “Local Authorities Elections (Amendment)” Bill.
The “Local Authorities (Special Provisions)” Bill seeks to amend the Municipal Councils Ordinance, the Urban Councils Ordinance and the Pradeshiya Sabha Act No. 15 of 1987 while the “Local Authorities Elections (Amendment)” Bill seeks to amend the “Local Authorities Elections Ordinance”.
Mr. Senathirajah — the General Secretary of Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi known as the Federal Party –in his petition said the two Bills cannot become law due to non-compliance with Article 154G(3) of the Constitution which reads that “No Bill in respect of any matter set out in the Provincial Council List shall become law unless such Bill has been referred by the President, after its publication in the Gazette and before it is placed on the Order Paper of Parliament, to every Provincial Council for the expression of its view.
He said the present Bills seek to legislate on subjects that were set out in the Provincial Council List and alleged that the very conduct of the president in referring the said Bills to all Provincial Councils except the Northern Provincial Council, was clear evidence of the fact that the Bills were considered by their own proponents to seek to legislate on matters set out in the Provincial Council List.
Mr. Senathirajah said there was no evidence before parliament that these Bills had in fact been referred to other Provincial Councils for the expression of their views before it was placed on the Parliament Order Paper.
He said as an MP he was unaware of the views expressed by the PCs if such views had been tabled in parliament if at all and maintained that the requirement that Bills relating to the Provincial Council List be referred to every PC for its views, safeguards the consultative nature of the legislative process.
Mr. Senathirajah enunciated that by expressing its views on a Bill, a PC was not merely expected to agree or disagree with the passing of the Bill, but in fact was empowered to actively participate in the legislative process by enabling it to influence parliament on matters that concern the PC.