New Constitution will be ready in one year - Justice Minister

The draft of a new Constitution will be presented to the House within one year under the patronage of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Justice Minister Ali Sabry PC told Parliament yesterday.

Delivering the reply speech in the debate on the second reading of the 20th amendment to the Constitution he said President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has appointed an expert Committee of nine President Counsels under the leadership of Romesh De Silva PC to draft the new Constitution. “We will also allow a representative from the estate-workers community in hill country to this Committee of experts. We have appointed experts from all walks of life into this committee,” he said.

Every citizen shall be proud of a new Constitution that secures the Sri Lankan identity and such a Constitution will turn a new leaf in our country’s progress, he observed.

The 20th Amendment to the Constitution is the first step in directing the country towards its socio-economic triumph under a strong executive Presidency, he said. Ali Sabry PC observed, “One cannot develop a country by merely establishing some fake Commissions.We are dedicated to bring in a new Constitution within a year’s time.We attempt is to bring in a constitution which will embrace diversity among our people, give due place to Buddhism, respect each other’s religious beliefs and cultural values and create a long lasting Constitution which is inclusive, forward looking and will serve as a catalyst for national unity, amity, progress and accelerate the economic growth of our country.”

Minister Ali Sabry said “I think we need to show empathy and compassion.We respect our national anthem. It says that we should live as children of one mother.

However, for all these decades we have not been able to live with such harmony. There is a saying ‘United we stand - divided we fall’. When we fall, we fall together, irrespective of our race and religion, we will be dragging each other down.There are two strong bonds that bind all of us together, one is humanity, second is our nationality.”

He said the delay in law is a major problem in the country at present. There are 4,000 cases before the Supreme Court. There are 4,000 cases in the Court of Appeal. There is only a very limited number of judges to take up all these cases. From 1978, the number of judges has not increased in our country. In India, since 1978, they have increased the number of judges from three times. So we have brought in an amendment to solve this issue.

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