The Chief Incumbent of the Amarapura Sanga Sabha Most Ven. Napane Pemasiri Thera has submitted a proposal to the Public Representation Committee on Constitutional Reforms (PRCCR) requesting that all three Sects of the country Siyam, Amarapura and Ramanna, must be afforded and guaranteed equal rights in the new Constitution.
The PRCCR officials who are seeking public views for accommodation in drafting a new Constitution met with monks attached to the Amarapura Sect last Friday. Ven. Pemasiri Thera impressed on the Committee's Chairman Lal Wijenayake the need for such inclusion and guarantee in the Constitution.
He told Wijenayake that whenever Diyawadane Nilames are appointed by vote to the Sri Dalada Maligawa, Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi and Kirivehera Temple in Kataragama, the monks of the Ramanna and Amarapura Sects are barred from voting.
The Thera had told the Committee that the three Sects have their roots in the long ingrained caste system in the country and that in the Siyam Sect only Govigama (the highest ranked caste in the country) youths are eligible for ordination as monks. Wijenayake responded that the Amarapura Sanga Sabha had explained to them that Lord Buddha had rejected the caste system and that certain Buddhist monks believed to be from inferior castes being barred from certain temples needed to be legislatively prohibited.
"The Amarapura Sanga Sabha further pointed out that no one can have exclusive monopolies over sects or Buddhist places of worship but monks of the Siyam Sect monopolise certain Temples in the country," said Wijenayake.
"What the Amarapura Sect is saying is that all three Sects must have equal rights enshrined in the new constitution. Ven. Napane Pemasiri Thera pointed out that barring monks from the Amarapura and Ramanna Sects from exercising their vote to elect a Diyawadane Nilame to the Sri Dalada Maligawa, Sri Maha Bodhi and Kirivehera was a clear violation of their fundamental rights" he added.