‘Scholarly Discourse on Indian Literature’ – Monthly Lecture – 7 – The Island
Ex-President KJ says the laws of the land must be enforced at all levels
By Shamindra Ferdinando
Prof Channa Jayasumana, MP, said President Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena should take concrete steps to remove all dual citizens from parliament. deputy. Then-President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in April this year sacked Basil Rajapaksa from the Cabinet of Ministers. Now that Parliament has overwhelmingly approved the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, it will fall to the President to ensure the removal of dual citizens, unless they have resigned, voluntarily, or renounced their respective foreign nationalities, says Professor Jayasumana.
Parliament ratified the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution by a two-thirds majority on October 21. Of the 225 MPs, 174 members voted for the new law, while SLPP MP Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera voted against the 22nd Amendment. The 22nd Amendment, which reactivated key provisions of the 19th Amendment, needed to be implemented across the board, lawmaker Jayasumana said.
Responding to The Island questions, MP Jayasumana said he would raise this issue with President Abeywardena. The former Minister of State and Cabinet said he would write to the President in this regard in the coming days. The president could not absolve himself of the responsibility of ensuring that all members of parliament complied with the dual nationality provision, MP Jayasumana said.
Commenting on Dr. Prathibha Mahanamahewa’s assertion that the Supreme Court should be consulted on the fate of other Members of Parliament, MP Jayasumana said that at the time of the last parliamentary poll, in August 2020, the 19th Amendment was in place. Therefore, there could be no problem regarding their removal, Professor Jayasumana said. “In fact, they shouldn’t have contested the last parliamentary ballot, because the 19th Amendment, enacted in 2015, expressly prohibited dual citizenship from running in parliamentary or presidential elections. In fact, they should be dealt with for not declaring their dual citizenship status,” lawmaker Jayasumana said.
MP Jayasumana recalled how Galle District MP Geetha Kumarasinghe was stripped of her parliamentary seat in early 2017 on the basis of the 19th Amendment. The former actress has renounced her Swiss nationality to open the way to a new candidacy for the legislative elections, on the SLPP ticket.
There could be dual nationality among those who voted for the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, as well as among those absent, Professor Jayasumana said. The MP refused to name people with dual nationality in parliament. The MP pointed out that Basil Rajapaksa returned to Parliament in June 2021 after the 20th Amendment was enacted in October 2020. Prof. Jayasumana said political parties should have paid attention to the dual citizenship provision, after the 19th Amendment was enacted.
Former President Karu Jayasuriya said yesterday The Island that the laws of the land should apply to everyone. Therefore, there was no harm in verifying the status of all MPs, following the passage of the 22nd Amendment. Jayasuriya said that during his tenure as president, there were no dual citizenships in parliament except for Geetha Kumarasinghe, who lost his seat following a court ruling.