NJC says implementing 13A will open “Pandora’s Box”View(s):
The National Joint Committee (NJC) has written to President Ranil Wickremesinghe voicing concern over his intention to fully implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.
In its letter to Mr. Wickremesinghe, the NJC cautioned him against implementing such a decision, which would amount to opening a “Pandora’s Box.” It also pointed out that the mahanayake theras too had issued a joint statement requesting the President not to implement the 13th Amendment.
The NJC said political and administrative power should be decentralised from the centre to the periphery but should never be devolved.
Decentralisation amounts to the transfer of power from the central government to a local authority, be it a region, a province or a district, while devolution, on the other hand, is the removal of central government power and handing that power over to a region, a province or a district. Therefore, decentralised power if misused by a region, a province or a district could be recalled by the central government while devolved power cannot be recalled by the central government if misused by a region, a province or a district, the organisation claimed.
The statement warned that if subjects were fully devolved to the provinces where the Sinhalese population was a minority, provincial administration of these areas may target the Sinhalese people in these areas.
“Therefore, while devolution will only hasten the division of the country by creating administrative avenues to encourage the migration of the Sinhalese population from the country’s Northern and Eastern provinces to other provinces, decentralisation of power will not encourage such actions as these powers can be withdrawn by the central government if found to be misused by any provincial council,” the NJC said.
Accordingly, in the interests of the Sinhalese people living in the northern and eastern provinces, who are the minority groups in such areas, the NJC has requested the President to promulgate a new Constitution, for which the majority of people in the country, gave a mandate at the last Presidential and general elections so people living in any part of the country were not discriminated against based on their ethnic, caste or religious identity.
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