Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sri Lanka: BASL opposes hasty moves on constitution

By Susitha R. Fernando

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) by way of a Bar Council resolution yesterday urged the government to desist from passing any constitutional amendments as urgent bills.

“While we have appointed a special committee to study constitutional amendments, the Bar Council passed this resolution because of reports that the government was planning to bring Constitutional amendments by way of urgent bills,” BASL President Shibly Aziz PC said.

On June 9, the Bar Council appointed a special committee comprising eminent senior attorneys to consider amendments to the Constitution.

Mr. Aziz, with Bar Council approval appointed this committee comprising constitutional lawyers who are President’s Counsel and senior attorneys. It is headed by senior constitutional attorney Faisz Musthapha PC.

The committee is tasked to study matters relating to the independence of the judiciary and the bar as well as issues relating to human rights. “Introducing constitutional amendments as an urgent bill will deprive the people of opposing the amendments because once the bill is passed it cannot be challenged even in a court,” Mr. Aziz said.

The special committee which has had informed the Bar Association Executive Committee to urge the government not to introduce Constitutional Amendments in such a manner.

Meanwhile the committee met yesterday to discuss proposed constitutional amendments. The committee led by Mr. Musthapha comprises P.L.D. Premaratne PC, Nihal Jayamanne PC, Jayampathi Wickremaratne PC, Manohara de Silva PC, Geoffrey Alagaratnam PC, Dr. Jayatissa de Costa, S.L. Gunasekara, A.P. Niles, Dr. Sunil Coorey, Ruana Rajepakse, Prof. H. M. Zafrullah, Rohan Sahabandu with Anita Perera as convener.

“The deliberations are bound to a month or two,” Mr. Aziz said and added that based on the committee findings the BASL will make necessary representations, comments and recommendations to the government on Constitutional amendments.

© Daily Mirror

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