Separation and Devolution of the Political Power of Sri Lanka

The State of Sri Lanka, the Parliament, the Provincial Councils, the independant hierarchy of courts…

The Nine Provinces within Sri Lanka

This page enumerates the relevant Articles of the 1978 Republican Constitution where the separation and devolution of power is specifically dealt with.

(i)

1. Sri Lanka (Ceylon) is a Free, Sovereign, Independent, and Democratic Socialist Republic, and shall be known as the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

(ii)

2. The Republic of Sri Lanka is a Unitary State.

(iii)

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.

(iv)

4 The Sovereignty of the People shall be exercised and enjoyed in the following manner:

(a) the legislative power of the People shall be exercised by Parliament, consisting of elected representatives of the People and by the People at a Referendum;

(b) the executive power of the People, including the defense of Sri Lanka shall be exercised by the President of the Republic elected by the People;

(c) the judicial power of the People shall be exercised by Parliament through courts, tribunals and institutions created and established, or recognized, by the Constitution, or created and established by law, except in regard to matters relating to the privileges, immunities and powers of Parliament and of its Members wherein the judicial power of the People may be exercised directly by Parliament according to law;

(d) the fundamental rights which are by the Constitution declared and recognized shall be respected, secured and advanced by all the organs of government, and shall not be abridged, restricted or denied, save in the manner and to the extent hereinafter provided; and

(e) the franchise shall be exercisable at the election of the President of the Republic and of the Members of Parliament, and at every Referendum by every citizen who has attained the age of eighteen years, and who, being qualified to be an elector as hereinafter provided, has his name entered in the register of electors.

(v)

26.

(1) There shall be one status of citizenship known as "the status of a citizen of Sri Lanka".

(2) A citizen of Sri Lanka shall for all purposes be described only as a "citizen of Sri Lanka", whether such person became entitled to citizenship by descent or by virtue of registration in accordance with the law relating to citizenship.

(3) No distinction shall be drawn between citizens of Sri Lanka for any purpose by reference to the mode of acquisition of such status, as to whether acquired by descent or by virtue of registration.

(4) No citizen of Sri Lanka shall be deprived of his status of a citizen of Sri Lanka, except under and by virtue of the provisions of sections 19, 20, 21 and 22 of the Citizenship Act.

(5) Every person who immediately prior to the commencement of the Constitution was a citizen of Sri Lanka, whether by descent or by virtue of registration in accordance with any law relating to citizenship, shall be entitled to the status and to the rights of a citizen of Sri Lanka as provided in the preceding provisions of this Article.

(6) The provisions of all existing written laws relating to citizenship and all other existing written laws wherein reference is made to citizenship shall be read subject to the preceding provisions of this Article.

(vi)

30.

(1) There shall be a President of the Republic of Sri Lanka, who is the Head of the State, the Head of the Executive and of the Government, and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

(2) The President of the Republic shall be elected by the People, and shall hold office for a term of six years.

(vii)

43.

(1) There shall be a Cabinet of Ministers charged with the direction and control of the Government of the Republic, which shall be collectively responsible and answerable to Parliament.

(2) The President shall be a member of the Cabinet of Ministers, and shall be the Head of the Cabinet of Ministers.

(3) The President shall appoint as Prime Minister the Member of Parliament who in his opinion is most likely to command the confidence of Parliament.

(viii)

62.

(1) There shall be a Parliament which shall consist of two hundred and twenty-five Members elected in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

(2) Unless Parliament is sooner dissolved, every Parliament shall continue for six years from the date appointed for its first meeting and no longer, and the expiry of the said period of six years shall operate as a dissolution of Parliament.

(ix)

75. Parliament shall have power to make laws, including laws having retrospective effect and repealing or amending any provision of the Constitution, or adding any provision to the Constitution, provided that Parliament shall not make any law -

(a) suspending the operation of the Constitution or any part thereof, or
(b) repealing the Constitution as a whole unless such law also enacts a new Constitution to replace it.

(x)

88. Every person shall, unless disqualified an as hereinafter provided, be qualified to be an elector at the election of the President and of the Members of Parliament or to vote at any Referendum, provided that no such person shall be entitled to vote unless his name is entered in the appropriate register of electors.

(xi)

89. No person shall be qualified to be an elector at an election of the President, or of the Members of Parliament or to vote at any Referendum, if he is subject to any of the following disqualifications, namely -

(a) if he is not a citizen of Sri Lanka;

(b) if he has not attained the age of eighteen years on the qualifying date specified by law under the provisions of Article 101;

(c) if he is under any law in force in Sri Lanka found or declared to be of unsound mind;

(d) if he is serving or has during the period of seven years immediately preceding completed serving of a sentence of imprisonment (by whatever name called) for a term not less than six months imposed after conviction by any court for an offence punishable with imprisonment for a term not less than two years or is under sentence of death or is serving or has during the period of seven years immediately preceding completed the serving of a sentence of imprisonment for a term not less than six months awarded in lieu of execution of such sentence;

(e) if a period of seven years has not elapsed since -

(i) the last of the dates, if any, of his being convicted of any offence under section 52 (1) or 53 of the Ceylon (Parliamentary Elections) Order in Council, 1946, or of such offence under the law for the time being relating to Referenda or to the election of the President or of Members of Parliament as would correspond to an offence under either of the said two sections;
(ii) the last of the dates, if any, of his being convicted of a corrupt practice under the Ceylon (Parliamentary Elections) Order in Council, 1946, or of such offence under the law for the time being relating to Referenda or to the election of the President or of Members of Parliament as would correspond to the said corrupt practice;
(iii) the last of the dates, if any, being a date after the commencement of the Constitution, of a report made by a Judge finding him guilty of any corrupt practice under the Ceylon (Parliamentary Elections) Order in Council, 1946,* or under any law for the time being relating to Referenda or to the election of the President or of Members of Parliament;
(iv) the last of the dates, if any, of his being convicted or found guilty of bribery under the provisions of the Bribery Act or of any future law as would correspond to the Bribery Act;

(f) if a period of five years has not elapsed since -

(i) the last of the dates, if any, of his being convicted of any offence under the provisions of sections 77 to 82 (both inclusive) of the Local Authorities Elections Ordinance or for such offence under any future law as would correspond to any offence under the said sections; or
(ii) the last of the dates, if any, of his being convicted of an offence under the provisions of sections 2 and 3 of the Public Bodies (Prevention of Corruption) Ordinance or of such offence under any future law as would correspond to the said offence;

(g) if a period of three years has not elapsed since -

(i) the last of the dates, if any, of his being convicted of an illegal practice under the Ceylon (Parliamentary Elections) Order in Council, 1946, or of such offence under the law for the time being relating to Referenda or to the election of the President or of Members of Parliament as would correspond to the said illegal practice;
(ii) the last of the dates, if any, being a date after the commencement of the Constitution, of a report made by a Judge finding him guilty of any illegal practice under the Ceylon (Parliamentary Elections) Order in Council. 1946,* or under any law for the time being relating to Referenda or to the election of the President or of Members of Parliament;

(h) if a resolution for the imposition of civic disability upon him has been passed in terms of Article 81, and the period of such civic disability specified in such resolution has not expired;

(i) if a period of seven years has not elapsed since -

(i) the date of his being convicted of any offence under the provisions of sections 188 to 201 (both inclusive) of the Penal Code or for such other offence under any future law as would correspond to any offence under the said sections, or
(ii) the date of his being convicted of an offence of contempt against, or in disrespect of, the authority of any Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry consisting of such member or members specified in Article 81 by reason of -

(1) the failure of such person, without cause which in the opinion of such Commission is reasonable, to appear before such Commission at the time and place mentioned in any summons which such Commission is empowered by law to issue, or
(2) the refusal of such person to be sworn or affirmed, or the refusal or failure of such person, without cause which in the opinion of such Commission is reasonable, to answer any question put to such person touching the matters directed to be inquired into by such Commission, or
(3) the refusal or failure of such person, without cause which in the opinion of such Commission is reasonable, to produce and show to such Commission any document or thing which is in the possession or power of such person and * See section 6 of the Revision of the Legislative Enactments Act and the Schedule to that Act. which in the opinion of such Commission is necessary for arriving at the truth of the matters to be inquired into by such Commission;

(j) if the period of his disqualification imposed under Article 116 or Article 111C,as the case may be, has not elapsed.

(xii)

105.

(1) Subject to the provisions of the Constitution, the institutions for the administration of justice which protect, vindicate and enforce the rights of the People shall be -

(a) the Supreme Court of the Republic of Sri Lanka,
(b) the Court of Appeal of the Republic of Sri Lanka,
(c) the High Court of the Republic of Sri Lanka and such other Courts of First Instance, tribunals or such institutions as Parliament may from time to time ordain and establish.

(2) All courts, tribunals and institutions created and established by existing written law for the administration of justice and for the adjudication and settlement of industrial and other disputes, other than the Supreme Court, shall be deemed to be courts, tribunals and institutions created and established by Parliament. Parliament may replace or abolish, or, amend the powers, duties, jurisdiction and procedure of, such courts, tribunals and institutions.

(3) The Supreme Court of the Republic of Sri Lanka and the Court of Appeal of the Republic of Sri Lanka shall each be a superior court of record and shall have all the powers of such court including the power to punish for contempt of itself, whether committed in the court itself or elsewhere, with imprisonment or fine or both as the court may deem fit. The power of the Court of Appeal shall include the power to punish for contempt of any other court, tribunal or institution referred to in paragraph I (c) of this Article, whether committed in the presence of such court or elsewhere.

(4) Parliament may by law provide for the creation and establishment of courts, tribunals or institutions for the adjudication and settlement of matters relating to the discipline of bhikkus or any dispute between bhikkus or any other dispute relating to the performance of services in, or in relation to, temples. Such law may, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Chapter or Chapter XVI, make provision -

(a) for the appointment, transfer, dismissal and disciplinary control of the member or members of such courts, tribunals or institutions by the President or by such other person or body of persons as may be provided for in such law ;
(b) for the exclusion of the jurisdiction of any other institution referred to in paragraph (1) of this Article in relation to such matters and disputes.

(xiii)

154A.

(1) Subject to the provisions of the Constitution, a Provincial Council shall be established for every Province specified in the Eight Schedule with effect from such date or dates as the President may appoint by Order published in the Gazette. Different dates may be appointed in respect of different Provinces.

(2) Every Provincial Council established under paragraph (1) shall be constituted upon the election of the members of such Council in accordance with the law relating to Provincial Council elections.

(3) Notwithstanding anything in the preceding provisions of this Article, Parliament may by, order under, any law provide for two or three adjoining Provinces to form one administrative unit with one elected Provincial Council, one Governor, one Chief Minister and one Board of Ministers and for the manner of determining whether such Provinces should continue to be administered as one administrative unit or whether each such Province should constitute a separate administrative unit with its own Provincial Council, and a separate Governor, Chief Minister and Board of Ministers.

(xiv)

154C. Executive power extending to the matters with respect to which a Provincial Council has power to make statutes shall be exercised by the Governor of the Province of which that Provincial Council is established, either directly or through Ministers of the Board of Ministers, or through officers subordinate to him, in accordance with Article 154F.

The present Constitution of Sri Lanka has been amended seventeen times since its adoption up to date. Therefore, you may note that formatting is not consistent. Anyway, it is very detailed and comprehensive. Above is just a few excertps from it. You can see the consolidated Constitution (the present Constitution with amendments) by clicking this link directing to a Government's official website. In that website, you can also get the acts and statutes of each Provincial Council of Sri Lanka.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License