Fundamental Human Rights

10. Every person is entitled to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, including the freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.

11. No Person shall be subjected to torture cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

12.
(1) All persons are equal before the law and are entitled to the equal protection of the law.

(2) No citizen shall be discriminated against on the grounds of race, religion, language, caste, sex, political opinion, place of birth or any one of such grounds.

(3) No person shall, on the grounds of race, religion, language, caste, sex or any one of such grounds, be subject to any disability, liability, restriction or condition with regard to access to shops, public restaurants, hotels, places of public entertainment and places of public worship of his own religion.

(4) Nothing in this article shall prevent special provision being made, by law, subordinate legislation or executive action, for the advancement of women, children or disabled persons.

13.
(1) No person shall be arrested except according to procedure established by law. Any person arrested shall be informed of the reason for his arrest.

(2) Every person held in custody, detained or otherwise deprived of personal liberty shall be brought before the judge of the nearest competent court according to procedure established by law, and shall not be further held in custody, detained or deprived of personal liberty except upon and in terms of the order of such judge made in accordance with procedure established by law.

(3) Any person charged with an offence shall be entitled to be heard, in person or by an attorney-at-law, at a fair trial by a competent court.

(4) No person shall be punished with death or imprisonment except by order of a competent court, made in accordance with procedure established by law. The arrest, holding in custody, detention or other deprivation of personal liberty of a person, pending investigation or trial, shall not constitute punishment.

(5) Every person shall be presumed innocent until he is proved guilty.

(6) No person shall be held guilty of an offence on account of any act or omission which did not, at the time of such act or omission, constitute such an offence, and no penalty shall be imposed for any offence more severe than the penalty in force at the time such offence was committed.

(7) The arrest, holding in custody, detention or other deprivation of personal liberty of a person, by reason of a removal order or a deportation order made under the provisions of the Immigrants and Emigrants Act or the Indo-Ceylon Agreement (Implementation) Act, No. 14 of 1967, or such other law as may be enacted in substitution therefor, shall not be a contravention of this Article.

14
(1) Every citizen is entitled to -
(a) the freedom of speech and expression including publication;
(b) the freedom of peaceful assembly;
(c) the freedom of association;
(d) the freedom to form and join a trade union;
(e) the freedom, either by himself or in association with others, and either in public or in private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching;
(f) the freedom by himself or in association with others to enjoy and promote his own culture and to use his own language;
(g) the freedom to engage by himself or in association with others in any lawful occupation, profession, trade, business or enterprise;
(h) the freedom of movement and of choosing his residence within Sri Lanka; and
(i) the freedom to return to Sri Lanka.

(2) A person who, not being a citizen of any other country, has been permanently and legally resident in Sri Lanka immediately prior to the commencement of the Constitution and continues to be so resident shall be entitled, for a period of ten years from the commencement of the Constitution, to the rights declared and recognized by paragraph (1) of this Article.

15.
(1) The exercise and operation of the fundamental rights declared and recognized by Articles 13(5) and 13(6) shall be subject only to such restrictions as may be prescribed by law in the interests of national security. For the purposes of this paragraph, "law" includes regulations made under the law for the time being relating to public security.

(2) The exercise and operation of the fundamental right declared and recognized by Article 14(1)(a) shall be subject to such restrictions as may be prescribed by law in the interests of racial and religious harmony or in relation to parliamentary privilege, contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence.

(3) The exercise and operation of the fundamental right declared and recognized by Article 14(1)(b) shall be subject to such restrictions as may be prescribed by law in the interests of racial and religious harmony.

(4) The exercise and operation of the fundamental right declared and recognized by Article 14(1)(c) shall be subject to such restrictions as may be prescribed by law in the interests of racial and religious harmony or national economy.

(5) The exercise and operation of the fundamental right declared and recognized by Article 14(1)(g) shall be subject to such restrictions as may be prescribed by law in the interests of national economy or in relation to -
(a) the professional, technical, academic, financial and other qualifications necessary for practicing any profession or carrying on any occupation, trade, business or enterprise, and the licensing and disciplinary control of the person entitled to such fundamental right, and
(b) the carrying on by the State, a State agency or a public corporation of any trade, business, industry, service or enterprise whether to the exclusion, complete or partial, of citizens or otherwise.

(6) The exercise and operation of the fundamental right declared and recognized by Article 14(1)(h) shall be subject to such restrictions as may be prescribed by law in the interests of national economy.

(7) The exercise and operation of all the fundamental rights declared and recognized by Articles 12, 13(1), 13(2) and 14 shall be subject to such restrictions as may be prescribed by law in the interests of national security, public order and the protection of public health or morality, or for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others, or of meeting the just requirements of the general welfare of a democratic society. For the purposes of this paragraph, "law" includes regulations made under the law for the time being relating to public security.

(8) The exercise and operation of the fundamental rights declared and recognized by Articles 12(1), 13 and 14 shall, in their application to the members of the Armed Forces, Police Force and other Forces charged with the maintenance of public order, be subject to such restrictions as may be prescribed by law in the interests of the proper discharge of their duties and the maintenance of discipline among them.

16.
(1) All existing written law and unwritten law shall be valid and operative notwithstanding any inconsistency with the preceding provisions of this Chapter.

(2) The subjection of any person on the order of a competent court to any form of punishment recognized by any existing written law shall not be a contravention of the provisions of this Chapter.

17. Every person shall be entitled to apply to the Supreme Court, as provided by Article 126, in respect of the infringement or imminent infringement, by executive or administrative action, of a fundamental right to which such person is entitled under the provisions of this Chapter.

3. In the Republic of Sri Lanka, Sovereignty is in the People and is inalienable. Sovereignty includes the powers of government, Fundamental Rights, and the Franchise.

18.
(1) The Official Language of Sri Lanka shall be Sinhala.

(2) Tamil shall also be an official language.

(3) English shall be the link language.

(4) Parliament shall by law provide for the implementation of the provisions of this chapter.

19. The National Languages of Sri Lanka shall be Sinhala and Tamil.

20. A Member of Parliament or a member of a Provincial Council or local authority shall be entitled to perform his duties and discharge his functions in Parliament or in such Provincial Council or local authority in either of the National Languages.

21.
(1) A person shall be entitled to be educated through the medium of either of the National Languages.

(2) Where one National Language is a medium of instruction for or in any course, department or faculty of any University directly or indirectly financed by the State, the other National Language shall also be made a medium of instruction for or in such course, department or faculty for students who prior to their admission to such University, were educated through the medium of such other National Language.

(3) In this Article "University" includes any institution of higher education.

22.
(1) Sinhala and Tamil shall be the languages of administration throughout Sri Lanka and Sinhala shall be the language of administration and be used for the maintenance of public records and the transaction of all business by public institutions of all the provinces of Sri Lanka other than the Northern and Eastern provinces where Tamil shall be so used.

(2) in any area where Sinhala is used as the language of administration a person other than an official acting in his official capacity, shall be entitled -
(a) to receive communications from and to communicate and transact business with, any official in his official capacity, in either Tamil or English;
(b) if the law recognizes his right to inspect or obtain copies of or extracts from any official register, record, publication or other document, to obtain a copy of, or an extract from such register, record, publication or other document, or a translation thereof, as the case may be, in either Tamil or English;
(c) where a document is executed by any official for the purpose of being issued to him, to obtain such document or a translation thereof, in either Tamil or English.

(3) In any area where Tamil is used as the language of administration, a person other than an official acting in his official capacity, shall be entitled to exercise the rights and to obtain the services, referred to in sub-paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of paragraph (2) of this Article, in Sinhala or English.

(4) A Provincial Council or a local authority which conducts its business in Sinhala shall be entitled to receive communications from and to communicate and transact business with any official in his official capacity in Sinhala, and a Provincial Council or a local authority which conducts its business in Tamil shall be entitled to receive communications from and to communicate and transact business with any official in his official capacity in Tamil.

(5) A person shall be entitled to be examined through the medium of either Sinhala or Tamil or a language of his choice at any examination for the admission of persons to the Public Service, Judicial Service, Provincial Public Service, Local Government Service or any public institution, subject to the condition that he may be required to acquire a sufficient knowledge of Tamil or Sinhala, as the case may be, within a reasonable time after admission to such service or public institution where such knowledge is reasonably necessary for the discharge of his duties.

(6) In this Article –
“official” means the President, any Minister, Deputy Minister, or any officer of a public institution or local authority; and

“public institution” means a department or institution of the Government, a public corporation or a statutory institution.

23.
(1) All laws and subordinate legislation shall be enacted or made and published in Sinhala and Tamil, together with a translation thereof in English.

(2) All Orders, Proclamations, rules, by-laws, regulations, and notifications made or issued under any written law other than by a Provincial Council or a local authority, and the Gazette shall be published in Sinhala and Tamil together with a translation thereof in English.

(3) All Orders, Proclamations, rules, by-laws, regulations and notifications made or issued under any written law by any Provincial Council or local authority, and all documents including circulars and forms issued or used by such body or any public institution shall be published in the language used in the administration in the respective areas in which they function together with a translation thereof in English.

(4) All laws and subordinate legislation in force immediately prior to the commencement of the Constitution shall be published in the Gazette in the Sinhala and Tamil languages as expeditiously as possible.

24.
(1) Sinhala and Tamil shall be the languages of the courts throughout Sri Lanka and Sinhala shall be used as the language of the court situated in all the areas of Sri Lanka except those in any area where Tamil is the language of administration. The record and proceedings shall be in the language of the court. In the event of an appeal from any court records shall also be prepared in the language of the court hearing the appeal, if the language of such court is other than the language used by the court from which the appeal is preferred.

(2) Any party or applicant or any person legally entitled to represent such party or applicant may initiate proceedings, submit to court pleadings and other documents, and participate in the proceedings in court, in either Sinhala or Tamil.

(3) Any judge, juror, party or applicant or any person legally entitled to represent such party or applicant, who is not conversant with the language used in a court, shall be entitled to interpretation and to translation into Sinhala or Tamil, provided by the State, to enable him to understand and participate in the proceedings before such court, and shall also be entitled to obtain in such language, any such part of the record or a translation thereof, as the case may be, as he may be entitled to obtain according to law.

(4) The Minister in charge of the subject of Justice may, with the concurrence of the Cabinet of Ministers, issue directions permitting the use of English in or in relation to the records and proceedings in any court for all purposes or for such purposes as may be specified therein. Every judge shall be bound to implement such directions.

(5) In this Article –
“court” means any court or tribunal created and established for the administration of justice including the adjudication and settlement of industrial and other disputes, or any other tribunal or institution exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions or any tribunal or institution created and established for the conciliation and settlement of disputes;

“judge” includes the President, Chairman, presiding officer and member of any court; and

“record” includes pleadings, judgments, orders and other judicial and ministerial acts.

25. The State shall provide adequate facilities for the use of the languages provided for in this Chapter.

25A. In the event of any inconsistency between the provisions of any law and the provisions of this Chapter, the provisions of this Chapter shall prevail.

27.
(1) The Directive Principles of State policy herein contained shall guide Parliament, the President, and the Cabinet of Ministers, in the enactment of laws and the governance of Sri Lanka for the establishment of a just and free society.

(2) The State is pledged to establish in Sri Lanka a democratic socialist society, the objectives of which include -
(a) the full realization of the fundamental rights and freedoms of all persons;
(b) the promotion of the welfare of the People by securing and protecting as effectively as it may, a social order in which justice (social, economic and political) shall guide all the institutions of the national life;
(c) the realization by all citizens of an adequate standard of living for themselves and their families, including adequate food, clothing and housing, the continuous improvement of living conditions and the full enjoyment of leisure and social and cultural opportunities;
(d) the rapid development of the whole country by means of public and private economic activity and by laws prescribing such planning and controls as may be expedient for directing and co-ordinating such public and private economic activity towards social objectives and the public weal;
(e) the equitable distribution among all citizens of the material resources of the community and the social product, so as best to subserve the common good;
(f) the establishment of a just social order in which the means of production, distribution and exchange are not concentrated and centralised in the State, State agencies or in the hands of a privileged few, but are dispersed among, and owned by, all the People of Sri Lanka;
(g) raising the moral and cultural standards of the People, and ensuring the full development of human personality; and
(h) the complete eradication of illiteracy and the assurance to all persons of the right to universal and equal access to education at all levels.

(3) The State shall safeguard the independence, sovereignty, unity and the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka.

(4) The State shall strengthen and broaden the democratic structure of government and the democratic rights of the People by decentralising the administration and by affording all possible opportunities to the People to participate at every level in national life and in government.

(5) The State shall strengthen national unity by promoting co-operation and mutual confidence among all sections of the People of Sri Lanka, including the racial, religious, linguistic and other groups, and shall take effective steps in the fields of teaching, education and information in order to eliminate discrimination and prejudice.

(6) The State shall ensure equality of opportunity to citizens, so that no citizen shall suffer any disability on the ground of race, religion, language, caste, sex, political opinion, or occupation.

(7) The State shall eliminate economic and social privilege and disparity, and the exploitation of man by man or by the State.

(8) The State shall ensure that the operation of the economic system does not result in the concentration of wealth and the means of production to the common detriment.

(9) The State shall ensure social security and welfare.

(10) The State shall assist the development of the cultures and the languages of the People.

(11) The State shall create the necessary economic and social environment to enable people of all religious faiths to make a reality of their religious principles.

(12) The State shall recognize and protect the family as the basic unit of society.

(13) The State shall promote with special care the interests of children and youth, so as to ensure their full development, physical, mental, moral, religious and social, and to protect them from exploitation and discrimination.

(14) The State shall protect, preserve, and improve the environment for the benefit of the community.

(15) The State shall promote international peace, security and co-operation, and the establishment of a just and equitable international economic and social order, and shall endeavour to foster respect for international law and treaty obligations in dealings among nations.

28. The exercise and enjoyment of rights and freedoms is inseparable from the performance of duties and obligations, and accordingly it is the duty of every person in Sri Lanka-
(a) to uphold and defend the Constitution and the law;
(b) to further the national interest and to foster national unity;
(c) to work conscientiously in his chosen occupation;
(d) to preserve and protect public property, and to combat misuse and waste of public property;
(e) to respect the rights and freedoms of others; and its
(f) to protect nature and conserve riches.

29. The provisions of this Chapter do not confer or impose legal rights or obligations, and are not enforceable in any court or tribunal. No question of inconsistency with such provisions shall be raised in any court or tribunal.

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