BASL expresses grave concern over proposed constitutional changes
*… poses dozen queries to govt. seeking answers
*… questions fate of unitary character of state
*… frowns on apparent bid to introduce federalism
October 23, 2017
The Bar Council of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, at a special meeting, yesterday (23) resolved to express its grave concern about the proposed amendments to Articles 1 and 2 of the present Constitution.
The Bar Council also noted that proposed amendments in the Interim of the Constitutional Assembly of Sri Lanka had the effect of converting the Unitary character of the State to a Federal structure.
The Bar Council resolved to write to the government, urging it to respond precisely and with clarity to inter-alia the following questions:
1. What is the need/requirement for a new Constitution?
2. a) Will Sri Lanka continue to be Unitary?
b) If so, what [in brief] is the concept of a Unitary State?
3. What powers will be devolved on the Provinces?
4. a) Can the Central Government/ Parliament get back such powers if necessary?
b) if so, in what manner?
5. In appropriate circumstances, would the President have the power to exercise direct rule in the Provinces?
6. Will the Executive Presidency be abolished?
7. a) What would be the Court structure?
i. Will there be a Constitutional Court?
ii. If so, how are the Judges to that Court to be appointed?
a) How are Judges of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal appointed?
8) i. Will there be criteria for such appointment?
ii. If so, what are they?
9. How will the judges of the Superior Courts be removed?
10. Will all Judges of the District Courts and Magistrates Courts throughout the country be appointed by the Judicial Services Commission and will their transfers and discipline subject only to the judicial Services?
a. What are the Fundamental Rights that would be justiciable?
b. In what Courts would the Rights be justiciable?
12. Would the Courts have the power [up to a limited period of time] to review legislation if inconsistent with the Constitution?
The BASL communique issued regarding the Bar Council Special meeting was signed by its President U.R. De Silva, PC.