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THE CONSTITUTION OF THE DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF SRI LANKA

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CHAPTER VIII - THE EXECUTIVE

The Cabinet of Ministers

Responsibility of the President.

42. The President shall be responsible to Parliament for the due exercise, performance and discharge of his powers, duties and functions under the Constitution and any written law, including the law for the time being relating to public security.

 

Cabinet of Ministers.

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 :

Provided that notwithstanding the dissolution of the Cabinet of Ministers under the provisions of the Constitution, the President shall continue in office.

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

 

Ministers of Cabinet and their subjects and functions.

44. (1) The President shall, from time to time, in consultation with the Prime Minister, where he considers such consultation to be necessary -

(a) determine the number of Ministers of the Cabinet of Ministers and the Ministries and the assignment of subjects and functions to such Ministers; and

(b) appoint from among the Members of Parliament, Ministers to be in charge of the Ministries so determined.

(2) The President may assign to himself any subject or function and shall remain in charge of any subject or function not assigned to any Minister under the provisions of paragraph (1) of this Article or the provisions of paragraph (1) of Article 45 and may for that purpose determine the number of Ministries to be in his charge, and accordingly, any reference in the Constitution or any written law to the Minister to whom such subject or function is assigned, shall be read and construed as a reference to the President.

(3) The President may, at any time, change the assign­ment of subjects and functions and the composition of the Cabinet of Ministers. Such changes shall not affect the continuity of the Cabinet of Ministers, and the continuity of its responsibility to Parliament.

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

45. (1) The President may, from time to time, in consultation with the Prime Minister where he considers such consultation to be necessary - 

(a) appoint from among Members of Parliament, Ministers who shall not be Members of the Cabinet of Ministers and

(b) determine the assignment of subjects and functions to, and the Ministries, if any, which are to be in charge of, such Ministers.

(2) The President may at any time change any appointment or assignment made under paragraph (1) of this Article.

(3) Every Minister appointed under this Article shall be responsible and answerable to the Cabinet of Ministers and to Parliament.

(4) Any Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers may, by Notification published in the Gazette, delegate to any Minister who is not a member of the Cabinet of Ministers any power or duty pertaining to any subject or function assigned to him, or any power or duty conferred or imposed on him by any written law and it shall be lawful for such other Minister to exercise and perform any power or duty delegated to him under this paragraph, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the written law by which that power or duty is conferred or imposed.

 

Deputy Ministers.

46. (1) The President may, from time to time, in consultation with the Prime Minister, where he considers such consultation to be necessary, appoint from among the Members of Parliament Deputy Ministers to assist the Ministers of the Cabinet of Ministers in the performance of their duties.

(2) Any Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers may, by Notification published in the Gazette, delegate to his Deputy Minister any power or duty pertaining to any subject or function assigned to him, or any power or duty conferred or imposed on him by any written law and it shall be lawful for the Deputy Minister to exercise and perform any power or duty delegated to him under this paragraph notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the written law by which that power or duty is conferred or imposed on such Minister.

 

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

47. The Prime Minister, a Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers, any other Minister or Deputy Minister shall con­tinue to hold office throughout the period during which the Cabinet of Ministers continues to function under the provisions of the Constitution unless he -

(a) is removed by a writing under the hand of the President ;

(b) resigns his office by a writing under his hand addressed to the President ; or

(c) ceases to be a Member of Parliament.

 

Cabinet of Ministers after dissolution of Parliament.

48. (1) The Cabinet of Ministers functioning immediately prior to the dissolution of Parliament shall notwithstanding such dissolution continue to function and shall cease to function upon the conclusion of the General Election and accordingly, the Prime Minister, Ministers of the Cabinet of Ministers, other Ministers and Deputy Ministers shall continue to function unless they cease to hold office as provided in paragraph (a) or (b) of Article 47.

(2) Notwithstanding the death, removal from office or resignation of the Prime Minister, during the period intervening between the dissolution of Parliament and the conclusion of the General Election, the Cabinet of Ministers shall continue to function with the other Ministers of the Cabinet as its members until the conclusion of the General Election. The President may appoint one such Minister to exercise, perform and discharge, or may himself exercise, perform and discharge the powers, duties and functions of the Prime Minister. If there is no such other Minister the President shall himself exercise perform and discharge the powers, duties and functions of the Cabinet of Ministers until the conclusion of the General Election.

(3) On the death, removal from office or resignation, during the period intervening between the dissolution of Parliament and the conclusion of the General Election, of a Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers or any other Minister, the President may appoint any other Minister to be the Minister in charge of such Ministry or to exercise, perform and discharge the powers, duties and functions of such Minister or may himself take charge of such Ministry or exercise, perform and discharge such powers, duties and functions.

 

Dissolution of Cabinet of Ministers.

49. (1) On the Prime Minister ceasing to hold office by removal, resignation or otherwise, except during the period intervening between the dissolution of Parliament and the conclusion of the General Election, the Cabinet of Ministers shall, unless the President has in the exercise of his powers under Article 70, dissolved Parliament, stand dissolved and the President shall appoint a Prime Minister, Ministers of the Cabinet of Ministers, other Ministers and Deputy Ministers in terms of Articles 43, 44, 45 and 46 :

Provided that if after the Prime Minister so ceases to hold office Parliament is dissolved, the Cabinet of Ministers shall continue to function with the other Ministers of the Cabinet as its members, until the conclusion of the General Election. The President may appoint one such Minister to exercise, perform and discharge or may himself exercise, perform and discharge the powers, duties and functions of the Prime Minister, and the provisions of Article 48 shall, mutatis mutandis, apply.

(2) If Parliament rejects the Statement of Government Policy or the Appropriation Bill or passes a vote of no-confidence in the Government, the Cabinet of Ministers shall stand dissolved, and the President shall, unless he has in the exercise of his powers under Article 70, dissolved Parliament, appoint a Prime Minister, Ministers of the Cabinet of Ministers, other Ministers and Deputy Ministers in terms of Articles 43, 44, 45 and 46.

 

Acting Minister and Acting Deputy Minister.

50. Whenever a Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers, other Minister or Deputy Minister is unable to discharge the functions of his office, the President may appoint any Member of Parliament to act in place of the said Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers, other Minister or Deputy Minister.

 

Secretary to Cabinet of Ministers.

51. There shall be a Secretary to the Cabinet of Ministers who shall be appointed by the President. The Secretary shall, subject to the direction of the President, have charge of the office of the Cabinet of Ministers, and shall discharge and perform such other functions and duties as may be assigned to him by the President or the Cabinet of Ministers.

 

Secretaries to Ministries.

52. (1) There shall be for each Ministry a Secretary who shall be appointed by the President.

(2) The Secretary to the Ministry shall, subject to the direction and control of his Minister, exercise supervision over the departments of Government or other institutions in the charge of his Minister.

(3) The Secretary to a Ministry shall cease to hold office upon the dissolution of the Cabinet of Ministers under the provisions of the Constitution or upon a determination by the President under Article 44 or Article 45 which results in such Ministry ceasing to exist.

(4) Where the Secretary to a Ministry so ceases to hold office, the Cabinet of Ministers may appoint such Secretary to any other post in the Public Service:

Provided that a person who immediately prier to his appointment as Secretary was in the Public or Local Government Service or in the service of any public corpora­tion shall be deemed to have been temporarily released from such service and shall be entitled to revert to such service without loss of seniority upon his so ceasing to hold office as Secretary.

(5) The proviso to paragraph (4) of this Article shall, mutatis mutandis, apply to a Secretary to a Ministry upon -

(a) the President terminating his services, otherwise than by dismissal on disciplinary grounds, or

(b) his resignation, unless disciplinary proceedings are pending or contemplated against him on the date of his resignation.

(6) For the purposes of paragraphs (4) and (5) of this Article any person who has continuously held the office of Secretary to the President, Secretary to a Ministry or any other office in the President’s staff or any one or more of such offices shall be deemed to have continuously held the office which such person last held.

(7) For the purposes of this Article, the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration, the Office of the Secretary-General of Parliament, the Department of the Commissioner of Elections, the Department of the Auditor-General and the Office of the Secretary to the Cabinet of Ministers shall be deemed not to be departments of Government.

 

Official oath or affirmation.

53. A person appointed to any office referred to in this Chapter shall not enter upon the duties of his office until he takes and subscribes the oath or makes and subscribes the affirmation set out in the Fourth Schedule.

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