Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka

After the defeat of the LTTE, Sri Lanka has announced the execution of the 13th Plus Amendment Act. Where the idea is to devolve more powers to its provinces. The members of Provincial Councils have consistently complained about their dependence on the central government of Sri Lanka for finances, with no powers to the highly restricted Provincial Councils to raise finances.

LTTE logo
LTTE flag

13th Amendment Act 1987

  1. Declares Tamil as official language in councils
  2. Devolution of land, finance and police powers
  3. Established nine provincial councils with defined legislative powers
  4. Provides for a financial commission
  5. Provides for establishing a high court.

After the defeat of the LTTE, Rajapaksa began talks on the 13th Plus Amendment Act.The idea propounded was to devolve powers, which till then, had not been undertaken due to LTTE opposition. In 2013, a Parliament select committee met to discuss devolution but this time, land rights and police powers were not devolved. Even today, the 13th Amendment has not been implemented with full force In fact, the 18th Amendment of the Sri Lankan Constitution had given more powers to the Sri Lankan President without an adequate system of checks and balances. 

However, the 19th Amendment in 2015 has rectified the issue and checks and balances have now been ensured. India has stayed away from reacting to both the 18 and 19 amendments as they fell within the ambit of internal matters of Sri Lanka.

13th Minus

  • No devolution of land and police

13th Amendment

  • Devalution of land, police and finance

13th Plus

  • Establishes a Senate to the parliament

Based on 4D

  • Democracy
  • Development
  • Devolution
  • Demilitarization

The basic issue is the reluctance of Sri Lanka to devolve policing powers fearing that active insurgent sleeper cells need centralised control.

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