PARLIAMENT

OF SRI LANKA

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Government Bills


The Government Bills may be classified as follows:-

  • Ordinary Bills
  • Constitutional Amendment Bills - (Bills to amend, repeal and replace the Constitution in terms of Articles 82, 83 and 84 of the Constitution)
  • Appropriation Bill

 

Procedure in Parliament

First Reading

After 14 days from the publication in the gazette in terms of Article 78 of the Constitution and on the request of any Minister, a Bill is placed in the Order Paper for First Reading in terms of Standing Order No. 50(1).

However, if the subject matter of the Bill comes under the Provincial Council list, the President shall refer such Bill to all Provincial Councils for the expression of their views, before being placed on the Order Paper for First Reading.

After the Bill is introduced, the Bill is ordered to be printed by Parliament and shall be referred to a relevant Sectoral Oversight Committee for its consideration, as per Standing Order 50(2).

 

Second Reading

The Bill shall be set down for Second Reading, after seven days from the date of First Reading, in terms of Standing Orders 50(1) and 55(1). The date for Second Reading of a Bill shall be decided by the Committee on Parliamentary Business.

Sectoral Oversight Committee has to submit its report on the Bill to Parliament before the Bill is scheduled for Second Reading.

However, in the following instances, the Second Reading may not take place after seven days from the date of First Reading:-

a) Where a Petition has been filed in the Supreme Court against a Bill under Article 121 of the Constitution, such a Bill is fixed for Second Reading after the determination of the Supreme Court is announced in Parliament, in terms of Standing Order 55(2).
b) When Bills in respect of matters in List III of the Ninth Schedule to the Constitution (Concurrent List) under Article 154G (5)(a) are presented to Parliament, such Bills are referred to all Provincial Councils for their views in terms of Standing Order 51 (2)(a). After the views of Provincial Councils are announced in Parliament, the Bill may fixed for Second Reading in terms of Standing Order 51 (2)(b).


On a Second Reading of a Bill, a debate on the Bill shall take place as per Standing Order 56. At the end of the Second Reading, the Bill shall be passed by a Vote as prescribed by Standing Order 47. Voting may be taken by voice vote; by division - by row/ by name; by name –using electronic vote recorder.

When a Bill is read a Second time, upon a motion made by a Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers a Minister who is not a member of the Cabinet of Ministers or a Deputy Minister, the Bill (other than an Appropriation Bill) shall be referred to the Committee of the Whole Parliament or may be referred to a Select Committee or to the Legislative Standing Committee or to an appropriate Sectoral Oversight Committee in terms of Standing Order 57.

 

Consideration of Bills in the Committee of the Whole Parliament

When a Bill has been referred to the Committee of the Whole Parliament in terms of Standing Order 57, the proceedings of the Committee is conducted in terms of Standing Orders 93 to 99.

At the Committee stage, all the Clauses of the Bill are considered and new amendments may be moved to the Clauses of the Bill in terms of Standing Orders 60 to 65. When New Clauses and New Schedules are proposed to the Bill they shall be considered as read at first time and a question that such Clauses and Schedules “be read a second time” and to” be added to the Bill” be put before the Committee (SOO 66(1) and 66(2). Thereafter, Preamble and Title of the Bill shall be considered in terms of Standing Order 66 (3) and 66(4) respectively.

The rules in respect of amendments are laid down in Standing Orders 43,44,45 and 46. All amendments must be in writing and handed over to the Secretary-General of Parliament in terms of Standing Order 43(2).

When the Committee of the Whole Parliament has completed the consideration of the Bill, the Chair shall report the Bill with or without amendments to the Parliament in terms of Standing Order 67.

 

Consideration of Bills in Committees

When the Bill has been referred to a Select Committee or to a Legislative Standing Committee or to a Sectoral Oversight Committee after Second Reading, no further proceeding is taken until the Committee has reported to Parliament in terms of Standing Order 58.

The Report of the Committee shall be presented to Parliament in terms of Standing Orders 68, 69 and 70.

The rules and procedure of the Legislative Standing Committee are laid down in Standing Order 113.

The rules and procedure of the Select Committee are laid down in Standing Orders 100 to 110.

The rules and procedure of a Sectoral Oversight Committee are laid down in Standing Order 111

 

Third Reading

The Bill, on a motion made, be read a Third time and passed by Parliament as per Standing Orders 71 and 72, by a Vote as prescribed by Standing Order 47.

A vote may be taken

  • by voice;
  • by division - by row or by name;
  • by name - using the electronic voting system.

Approval of the House is sought for the entire Bill with the amendments proposed in the Committee at the Third Reading.

Certificate of the Speaker

A Bill shall become an Act upon the endorsement of the Speaker on the Bill (Assent), under Article 79 and 80 of the Constitution and in terms of Standing Order 74.

 

Constitutional Amendment Bills

In a Constitutional Amendment Bill, it has to be expressly specified in the long title that the Bill is for the amendment to the Constitution. The other procedures are same as the procedure of ordinary Bills, except the Bill has to be passed with a majority of two-thirds or both a majority of two-thirds and the approval at a referendum.

 

Last Updated on 25-04-2018

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