Activating The Dormant 13th Amendment Of 1987

By Thambu Kanagasabai –  

Thambu Kanagasabai

The 1987 13th Amendment, a conceived and delivered baby of India under the Indo-Lanka Accord of 1987 for adoption by Sri Lanka has been lying in the constitution of Sri Lanka partly implemented and mostly ignored by the Sri Lankan Governments since then. This 13th Amendment is now activated and given new life and blood by the Tamil leaders due to the deteriorating and worsening political situation of Tamils in the hands of the current Government of Rajapaksa’s family. It has to be noted that the election manifestos of Tamil parties contain the following important election pledges since independence from the British in 1948:

* Federal form of Government from 1948 to 1976

* A separate state for Tamils or TAMIL EELAM from 1976 to 2009

* North-East merger.

* The right of self-determination

* Recognition of North and East as Tamils’ historically inhabited homeland.

Now the Tamil leaders for the time being are unanimously pledging and vowing to implement the earlier discredited 13th Amendment including their determination to work for and achieve a federal form of Government using the 13th Amendment as a starting point. In this respect some of the salient provisions of the 13th Amendment can be detailed as below:

* The 13th Amendment contains three lists of powers allocated to the Provincial Council and Central Government

* They are the reserve List of Central Government

* Concurrent list of both Provincial Council and Central Government

* Exclusive list of Provincial Council

The Provincial Council list contains the following powers meant for its exercise, execution and functions.

* Law and order

* Land and land settlement

* Education

The above powers though appear to grant full authority and control for the Provincial Council, yet they are almost deceptive and toothless. The Governor being appointed by the Central Government acting as its agent, the Central Government in fact and really holds the whip hand and switches to  on and off the powers of the Provincial Councils.

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