Constitutional Reforms


1978 Constitution without amendments  [PDF Format]


2000 August Draft Constitution




Seventeenth Amendment












Chapter I - The People, The State and Sovereignty
(Article 1 to Article 8)

1. The State

2. Unitary State

3. Sovereignty of the People

4. Exercise of Sovereignty

5. Territory of the Republic

6. The National Flag

7. The National Anthem

8. The National Day

Chapter II - Buddhism
(Article 9)

9. Buddhism


Chapter III - Fundamental Rights
(Article 10 to Article 17)

10. Freedom of thought, conscience and religion

11. Freedom from torture

12. Right to equality

13. Freedom from arbitrary arrest, detention and punishment, and prohibition of retro active penal legislation

14. Freedom of Speech, assembly, association, movement, &c.

15. Restrictions on fundamental Rights

16. Existing written law and unwritten law to continue in force

17. Remedy for the infringement of fundamental rights by executive action

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Chapter IV - Language
(Article 18 to Article 25A)

18. Official Language

19. National Languages

20. Use of National Languages in Parliament and local authorities

21. Medium of instruction

22. Language of administration

23. Language of Legislation

24. Language of the Courts

25. Provisions for adequate facilities for use of languages provided for in this chapter

25A. Provision of any law inconsistent with this Chapter deemed to be released

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Chapter V - Citizenship
(Article 26)

26. Citizenship of Sri Lanka


Chapter VI - Directive Principles of State Policy and Fundamental Duties
(Article 27 to Article 29)

27. Directive Principles of State Policy

28. Fundamental duties

29. Principles of State Policy and fundamental duties not justiciable


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Chapter VII - The Executive - The President of the Republic
(Article 30 to Article 41)

30. The President of the Republic

31. The election and the term of office of the President

32. Assumption of Office

33. Powers and functions of the President

34. Grant of pardon

35. Immunity of President from suit

36. Salary and Pension

37. Exercise, performance and discharge of powers, duties and functions of the President by the Prime Minister

38. Vacation of office by President

39. Determination by the Supreme Court that the President was not duly elected or the election of the President was void

40. Vacation of office by President and election of succeeding President

41. President's Staff

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Chapter VIII - The Executive - The Cabinet of Ministers
(Article 42 to Article 53)

42. Responsibility of the President

43. Cabinet of Ministers

44. Ministers of Cabinet and their subjects and functions

45. Ministers who are not members of the Cabinet and their Ministries, subjects and functions

46. Deputy Ministers

47. Tenure of office of the Prime Minister, Ministers and Deputy Ministers

48. Cabinet of Ministers after dissolution of Parliament

49. Dissolution of Cabinet of Ministers

50. Acting Minister and Acting Deputy Minister

51. Secretary to Cabinet of Ministers

52. Secretaries to Ministries

53. Official oath or affirmation

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Chapter IX - The Executive - The Public Service
(Article 54 to Article 61)

54. Appointment by the President

55. The Public Service

56. Public Services Commission

57. Committees of Public Service Commission

58. Delegation by Public service Commission or any Committee thereof

59. Power of Cabinet of Ministers to alter, vary, or rescind appointments &c.

60. Interference with Public Service Commission &c. an offence

61. Official oath or affirmation


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Chapter X - The Legislature – Parliament
(Article 62 to Article 69)

62. Parliament

63. Official oath or affirmation

64. Speaker, Deputy Speaker and Deputy Chairman of Committees

65. Secretary General of Parliament

66. Vacation of seats

67. Privileges, immunities and powers of Parliament and Members

68. Allowances of Members

69. Power of Parliament to act notwithstanding vacancies


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Chapter XI - The Legislature - Procedure and Powers
(Article 70 to Article 81)

70. Sessions of Parliament

71. Adjournment

72. Voting

73. Quorum

74. Standing Orders

75. Legislative power

76. Delegation of legislative power

77. Duties of Attorney-General in regard to published Bills

78. Publication of Bills and passing of Bills and resolutions

79. Certificate of Speaker

80. When Bill becomes law

81. Expulsion of Members and imposition of civic disability


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Chapter XII - The Legislature - Amendment of the Constitution
(Article 82 to Article 84)

82. Amendment or repeal of the Constitution must be express

83. Approval of certain Bills at a Referendum

84. Bills inconsistent with the Constitution


Chapter XIII - The Referendum
(Article 85 to Article 87)

85. Submission of Bills to People by Referendum

86. Submission of matters of national importance to People by Referendum

87. Parliament to provide for procedure


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Chapter XIV – The Franchise and Elections
(Article 88 to Article 104)

88. Right to be an elector

89. Disqualification to be an elector

90. Qualification for election as Member of Parliament

91. Disqualification for election as Member of Parliament

92. Disqualification for election as President

93. Election to be free, equal and secret

94. Election of the President

95. Delimitation Commission

96. Electoral districts

97. Proclamation of names &c. of electoral districts

98. Number of Members to be returned by the several electoral districts and their appointment among such electoral districts

99. Proportional Representation

99A. Election of Members of Parliament on the basis of the total number of votes polled at a General Election

100. Penalty for sitting and voting in Parliament when disqualified

101. Parliament may make provision in respect of elections

102. Public officer or an officer of a public corporation not to function during period of election

103. Commissioner of Elections

104. Powers, duties and functions of Commissioner of Elections


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Chapter XV - The Judiciary
(Article 105 to Article 117)

105. Establishment of Courts, &c.

106. Public sittings

107. Appointment and removal of Judges of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal

108. The salaries of the Judges of the Supreme Court and of the Court of Appeal

109. Acting Appointments

110. Performance or discharge of other duties or functions by judges

111. Appointment, removal and disciplinary control of Judges of the High Court

111A. Commissioners of the High Court

112. The Judicial Service Commission

113. Secretary to the Commission

113A. Fiscal for the whole island

114. Appointment of other judicial officers

115. Interference with Judicial Service Commission an offence

116. Interference with judiciary an offence

117. Immunity of members of the Commission


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Chapter XVI - The Superior Courts
(Article 118 to Article 147)

118. General jurisdiction of Supreme Courts

119. Constitution of Supreme Court

120. Constitutional jurisdiction of the Supreme Court

121. Ordinary exercise of constitutional jurisdiction in respect of Bills

122. Special exercise of constitutional jurisdiction in respect of urgent Bills

123. Determination of Supreme Court in respect of Bills

124. Validity of Bills and legislative process not to be questioned

125. Constitutional jurisdiction in the interpretation of the Constitution

126. Fundamental rights jurisdiction and its exercise

127. Appellate Jurisdiction

128. Right of appeal

129. Consultative jurisdiction

130. Jurisdiction in election and referendum petitions

131. Jurisdiction in respect of the breaches of Parliamentary privileges

132. Sitting of the Supreme Court

133. Appointment of ad hoc Judges

134. Right to be heard by the Supreme Court

135. Registry of the Supreme Court and office of Registrar

136. Rules of the Supreme Court

137. The Court of Appeal

138. Jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal

139. Powers in appeal

140. Power to issue writs, other than writs of habeas corpus

141. Power to issue writs of habeas corpus

142. Power to bring up and remove prisoners

143. Power to grant injunctions

144. Parliamentary election petitions

145. Inspection of records

146. Sittings of the Court of Appeal

147. Registry of the Court of Appeal and office of Registrar


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Chapter XVII – Finance
(Article 148 to Article 154)

148. Control of Parliament over public finance

149. Consolidated Fund

150. Withdrawals of sums from Consolidated Fund

151. Contingencies Fund

152. Special Provisions as to Bills affecting public revenue

153. Auditor General

154. Duties and functions of Auditor-General


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Chapter XVIIA
(Article 154A to Article 154T)

154A. Establishment of Provincial Councils

154B. Governor

154C. Exercise of executive powers by the Governor

154D. Membership of Provincial council

154E. Term of Office

154F. Board of Ministers

154G. Statutes of Provincial Councils

154H. Assent

154J. Public Security

154K. Failure to comply with directions

154L. Failure of administrative machinery

154M. Parliament to confer powers of Provincial Council to President

154N. Financial instability

154P. High Court

154Q. Functions, powers, election &c. of Provincial Councils

154R. Finance Commission

154S. Special provision enabling Provincial Councils not to exercise powers under this Chapter

154T. Transitional measures


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Chapter XVIII - Public Security
(Article 155)

155. Public Security


Chapter XIX - The Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration
(Article 156)

156. Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration


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Chapter XX – General
(Article 157 to Article 159)

157. International Treaties and Agreements

157A. Prohibition against violation of territorial integrity of Sri Lanka

158. Delegation

159. Deputy Speaker to act for Speaker


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Chapter XXI - Transitional Provisions
(Article 160 to Article 169A)

160. First President

161. First Parliament

162. Application of certain provisions

163. Judges of Supreme Court and High Court to cease to hold office

164. Continuation in office of Judges, public officers and others

165. Oath or affirmation to be taken or made by public officers and others

166. Powers, privileges, immunities and rights of the Republic

167. Rights, duties and obligations of the Republic

168. Past operation of laws, previous acts, offences, and pending actions, &c.

169. Provisions relating to judiciary

169A. Provision relating to Queen’s Counsel and Senior Attorneys-at-Law


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Chapter XXII – Interpretation
(Article 170)

170. Interpretation


Chapter XXIII – Repeal
(Article 171)

171. Repeal


Chapter XXIV - Promulgation of the Constitution
(Article 172)

172. Promulgation of the Constitution


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First Schedule

Second Schedule

Third Schedule

Fourth Schedule

Fifth Schedule

Sixth Schedule

Seventh Schedule

Eighth Schedule

Ninth Schedule


Seventeenth Amendment

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