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THE CONSTITUTION OF THE DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF SRI LANKA

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CHAPTER XXI - TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS

 

First President.

160. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any other provision of the Constitution, the person holding the office of President immediately before the commencement of the Constitution shall be the first President under the Constitution and shall be deemed for all purposes to have been elected as the President of the Republic, and 52[shall, subject, to the provisions of Article 31, hold office] for a period of six  years from February 4, 1978.

The President shall, notwithstanding the provisions of Article 32, be deemed to have assumed office immediately upon the commencement of the Constitution and shall be entitled thereupon to exercise, perform and discharge all the powers, duties and functions conferred or imposed on, or assigned to, the President by the Constitution or otherwise. The President shall, as soon as possible thereafter at a sitting of Parliament, take and subscribe the oath or make and subscribe the affirmation set out in the Fourth Schedule.

 

First Parliament.

161. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in any other provision of the Constitution -

(a)  the first Parliament shall consist of one hundred and sixty-eight members, and subject to the succeeding provisions of this Article, all persons who immediately before the commencement of the Constitution were members of the National State Assembly shall be deemed to have been elected as Members of Parliament;

(b)  (i) if the election, as a Member of the National State Assembly, of a person deemed to have been elected to the first Parliament is declared void under the law for the time being in force and no other person is determined to have been duly returned or elected, the seat of such Member shall be vacant, and an election to the electoral district as existing immediately prior to the commencement of the Constitution, shall be held in accordance with the law relating to elections to the National State Assembly in force immediately before the commencement of the Constitution and on the basis of the register of electors applicable to such electoral district which was operative on the day immediately preceding the commencement of the Constitution;

(ii) the law applicable to election petitions in relation to an election held as provided in sub-paragraph (i) shall be the law in force upon the commencement of the Constitution and in the event of such an election being declared void the provisions of sub-paragraph (i) shall, mutatis mutandis, apply;

(c)  if the election as a Member of the National State Assembly of a person who is deemed to have been elected to the first Parliament is declared void or undue and any other person is determined to have been duly returned or elected such other person shall be deemed to have been duly elected as a Member of the first Parliament;

(d)  (i) where immediately before the commencement of the Constitution there was a vacancy in the membership of the National State Assembly or where a vacancy in the membership of the first Parliament occurs otherwise than under the provisions of paragraph (b) of this Article, such vacancy shall be filled in the manner provided in sub-paragraph (iii) hereof;

      53[(ii) Where during the duration of the first Parliament, a Member ceases, by resignation, expulsion or otherwise, to be a member of the recognized political party to which he belonged upon or after the commencement of the Constitution, the Secretary of such party shall, within two weeks of the date on which such Member so ceased to be a member of such party, communicate, in writing to the Secretary-General of Parliament, the fact and date thereof. The Secretary-General shall, upon receipt of such communication, submit it to the Speaker.

Where a Member ceases to be a member of the recognized political party to which he belonged by reason of being expelled from such party, he shall be entitled to apply, within one month of the date of such expulsion by petition in writing, to the Supreme Court for a determination that such expulsion was invalid. In the event of any such application being made, the Registrar of the Supreme Court shall forthwith inform the Secretary-General of Parliament in writing, of such application. Every such application shall be heard and determined by not less than three Judges of the Supreme Court who shall, within two months of the making of such application, determine whether such expulsion was valid or not.

The Speaker shall, on receiving in the aforesaid manner, a communication alleging that a Member has ceased to be a member of the recognized political party to which such Member belonged, appoint a Select Committee consisting of not less than five Members of Parliament (one of whom shall be nominated as Chairman thereof) to inquire into, and report to Parliament on, the circumstances in which such Member is alleged to have resigned from, or to have been expelled from, or to have otherwise ceased to be a member of, such party, and the reasons therefor :

Provided, however, that where such communication alleges that a Member has ceased to be a member of the recognized political party to which he belonged by reason of his being expelled therefrom, no Select Committee shall be appointed as aforesaid until after the expiration of a period of' one month from the date of such alleged expulsion, and in any case where such Member has applied to the Supreme Court for a determination that such expulsion was invalid, unless and until the Supreme Court has determined that such expulsion was valid.

The provisions of the Parliament (Powers and Privileges) Act shall, mutatis mutandis, apply in  relation to proceedings before, and to the privileges, Immunities and powers of, a Select Committee appointed as aforesaid, and every such Select Committee shall be deemed, for the purposes of that Act, to be duly authorized by an order of Parliament to send for persons, papers and words.

After consideration of the report made by a Select Committee appointed as aforesaid, Parliament may, by resolution passed by not less than eighty-five members voting in its favour, resolve that the Member to whom such report relates, shall cease to be a Member of Parliament. The Speaker shall endorse on every resolution so passed, a certificate in the following form :-

"This resolution has been passed by the majority required by Article 161 (d) (ii) of the Constitution".

The seat of such Member shall, with effect from the date of such certificate, become vacant.

Every such certificate shall be conclusive for all purposes and shall not be questioned in any court, and no court or tribunal shall inquire into, pronounce upon or in any manner call in question, the validity of the resolution on which such certificate is endorsed on any ground whatsoever.]

(iii) where a vacancy as is referred to in sub- paragraph (i) or (ii) has occurred, the Secretary-General of Parliament shall forthwith inform the Commissioner of Elections of such vacancy. The Commissioner of Elections shall thereupon require the Secretary of the political party to which such Member belonged to nominate a member of such party 54[to fill such vacancy. A nomination made by the Secretary of such political party under this sub-paragraph shall be accompanied by an oath or affirmation, as the case may be, in the form set out in the Seventh Schedule, taken and subscribed or made and subscribed, as the case may be, by the person nominated to fill such vacancy. Upon the receipt of such nomination, accompanied by such oath or affirmation the Commissioner] shall declare such person to be the Member for the electoral district in respect of which the vacancy occurred :

55[Provided that where the Secretary of such political party fails to nominate a member of such political party to fill such vacancy under the preceding provisions of this sub-paragraph 56[within thirty days of his being required to do so and in the aforesaid manner or where the Secretary of a political party had been required, before the coming into force of this proviso, to nominate a member of such political party to fill any such vacancy under such provisions and such Secretary fails, within thirty days of the coming into force of this proviso, to nominate a member of such political party to fill such 57[vacancy, or where such political party is deemed to be proscribed under Article 157 (a), then, the Commissioner of Election shall forthwith so inform the President, who shall, within thirty days of the receipt by him of such information, by Notice published in the Gazette order the Commissioner of Elections] to hold an election for the electoral district in respect of which such vacancy has occurred. The Commissioner of Elections shall thereupon hold an election, in accordance with Part I and Parts IV to VI (both inclusive) of the Ceylon (Parliamentary Elections) Order in Council, 1946, for such electoral district as existed immediately preceding the Constitution and on the basis of such part of the register, prepared under the Registration of Electors Act, No. 44 of 1980, and in operation, as corresponds to such electoral district. The aforesaid parts of the Ceylon (Parliamentary Elections) Order in Council, 1946, shall, for the purposes of such election and notwithstanding the repeal of such Order in Council, be deemed to be in force and shall, mutatis mutandis, and except as otherwise expressly provided in the Constitution, apply to such election.

The law applicable to election petitions in relation to such electoral district shall be the aforesaid parts of such Order in Council as applied aforesaid and in the event of such election being declared void and no other person is determined to have been duly returned or elected, the election to fill such vacancy shall be held in accordance with the provisions of this proviso.]

58[(iv) Where a Member nominated or elected to fill any such vacancy as is referred to in sub-paragraph (i) or sub-paragraph (ii), being a Member who has taken and subscribed or made and subscribed an oath or affirmation in the form set out in the Seventh Schedule, directly or indirectly, in or outside Sri Lanka, supports, espouses, promotes, finances, encourage or advocates the establishment of a separate State within the territory of Sri Lanka, any person may make an application to the Court of Appeal for a declaration that such member has directly or indirectly, in or outside Sri Lanka, supported, espoused, promoted, financed, encouraged or advocated the establishment of a separate State within the territory of Sri Lanka.

If the Court of Appeal makes, on such application, a declaration that such Member has directly or indirectly, in or outside Sri Lanka, supported, espoused, promoted, financed, encouraged or advocated the establishment of a separate State within the territory of Sri Lanka, the seat of such Member shall be deemed to be vacant with effect from the date of such declaration and such Member shall be disqualified from sitting and voting in Parliament and from being elected or nominated to Parliament for a period of seven years from the date of such declaration. The vacancy occurring in the membership of Parliament by reason of such declaration shall be filled in the manner provided in paragraph (iii).

The jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal' in respect of its powers under this sub-paragraph shall be exercised in the manner provided in sub-paragraph (iv) of the proviso to paragraph (2) of Article 146.

59[(e)  unless sooner dissolved, the First Parliament shall continue until August 4, 1989 and no longer, and shall thereupon stand dissolved, and the provisions of Article 70 (5) (b) shall, mutatis mutandis, apply.]

 

Application of certain provisions.

162. (1) The provisions of Article 98, other than paragraphs (8) and (9) thereof, and Article 99 shall not come into operation until the General Election held upon the dissolution of the first Parliament.

(2) If at the time of such dissolution the notification of electoral districts has not been proclaimed as required by Article 97, the electoral districts for the first General Election to be held upon the dissolution of the first Parliament, and the number of Members which each such district shall be entitled to return by virtue of the provisions of paragraph (4) of Article 96, shall be as set out in the Sixth Schedule and accordingly, registers of electors shall be prepared and certified for each such electoral district, and unless Parliament otherwise provides, such registers shall be prepared on the basis of the register of electors in force immediately before the commencement of the Constitution.

 

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

163. All Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts established by the Administration of Justice Law, No. 44 of 1973, holding office on the day immediately before the commencement of the Constitution shall, on the commencement of the Constitution, cease to hold office.

 

Continuation in office of Judges, public officers and others.

164. Subject to the provisions of Article 163 every person who immediately before the commencement of the Constitution -

(a)  held office in any court or tribunal deemed, by virtue of the provisions of paragraph (2) of Article 105, to be a court or tribunal created and established by Parliament,

(b)  was in the service of the Republic, any local authority or any public corporation,

(c)   held office in any local authority or public corporation, or

(d)   held any appointment under any existing written law,

shall continue in such service or hold such office or appointment under the same terms and conditions.

 

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

165. (1) Every public officer, judicial officer and every other person as is required by the Constitution to take an oath or make an affirmation on entering upon the duties of his office, every holder of an office required under the existing law to take an official oath and every person in the service of every local authority and of every public corporation shall take and subscribe the oath or make and subscribe the affirmation set out in the Fourth Schedule. Any such public officer, judicial officer, person or holder of an office failing to take and subscribe such oath or make and subscribe such affirmation after the commencement of the Constitution on or before such date as may be prescribed by the Prime Minister by Order published in the Gazette shall cease to be in service or hold office.

(2) The Minister in charge of the subject of Public Administration may, in his sole discretion, permit any public officer, judicial officer, person or holder of an office referred to in paragraph (1) of this Article, to take the oath or make the affirmation referred to in that paragraph after the prescribed date if he is satisfied that the failure to take the oath or make the affirmation within the time prescribed was occasioned by illness or some other unavoidable cause. On his taking such oath or making such affirmation, he shall continue in service or hold office as if he had taken such oath or made such affirmation within the time prescribed under paragraph (1) of this Article.

(3) The President may by Proclamation-

(a)  exclude the application of the provisions of paragraph (1) of this Article to any category of public officers,

(b)  prescribe the persons or categories of persons who may administer such oath or affirmation in addition to the persons who are empowered under the existing law to administer oaths or affirmations.

 

Powers, privileges, immunities and rights of the Republic.

166. Unless Parliament otherwise provides, the Republic of Sri Lanka shall continue to possess and exercise all powers, privileges, immunities and rights whatsoever possessed, exercised or exercisable immediately prior to the commencement of the Constitution.

 

Rights, duties and obligations of the Republic.

167. All rights and all duties or obligations, however arising, of the Government of Sri Lanka and subsisting immediately prior to the commencement of the Constitution shall be rights, duties and obligations of the Government of the Republic of Sri Lanka under the Constitution.

 

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

168. (1) Unless Parliament otherwise provides, all laws, written laws and unwritten laws, in force immediately before the commencement of the Constitution, shall, mutatis mutandis, and except as otherwise expressly provided in the Constitution, continue in force.

(2) Save as otherwise provided in the Constitution, existing laws, written laws and unwritten laws are not and shall not in any manner be deemed to be provisions of the Constitution.

(3) Wherever the Constitution provides that any law, written law or unwritten law or any provision of the Constitution shall continue in force until or unless Parliament otherwise provides, any law enacted by Parliament so providing may be passed by a majority of the Members present and voting.

(4) Whenever the Constitution provides that any provision of any existing written law shall continue in force until or unless Parliament otherwise provides and the existing written law referred to consists of subordinate legislation, the provision that such existing written law shall continue in force until or unless Parliament otherwise provides shall not in any manner be deemed to derogate from the power of the person or body on whom the power to make and when made, to amend, vary, rescind or revoke such subordinate legislation is conferred, to exercise the power so conferred until or unless Parliament otherwise provides.

(5) Unless the Constitution otherwise provides, the past operation of any law in force prior to the commencement of the Constitution or anything duly done or suffered or any offence committed or any right, liberty, obligation or penalty acquired or incurred under any law in force prior to the commencement of the Constitution shall not in any manner be affected or be deemed to be affected by the Constitution coming into force.

(6) All actions, prosecutions, proceedings, matters or things, including proceedings of Commissions appointed or established by or under any existing written law, pending or uncompleted on the commencement of the Constitution shall, subject to  the provisions of the Constitution and, mutatis mutandis, be deemed to continue and may be carried on and completed after the commencement of the Constitution.

 

Provisions relating to judiciary.

169. Unless Parliament otherwise provides –

(1)  any provisions of the Administration of Justice Law, No. 44 of 1973, which are inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution, shall, to the extent of such inconsistency, be deemed to be repealed ;

(2)  the Supreme Court established by the Administration of Justice Law, No. 44 of 1973, shall, on the commencement of the Constitution, cease to exist, and accordingly the provisions of that Law relating to the establishment of the said Supreme Court, shall be deemed to have been repealed. Unless otherwise provided in the Constitution, every reference in any existing written law to the Supreme Court shall be deemed to be a reference to the Court of Appeal;

(3)  all appellate proceedings including proceedings by way of revision, case stated and restitutio in integrum pending in the Supreme Court established under the Administration of Justice Law, No. 44 of 1973, on the day preceding the commencement of the Constitution, shall stand removed to the Court of Appeal and the Court of Appeal shall have jurisdiction to take cognizance of and to hear and determine the same ; and the judgments and orders of the Supreme Court aforesaid delivered or made before the commencement of the Constitution in appellate proceedings shall have the same force and effect as if they had been delivered or made by the Court of Appeal ;

(4)  all original proceedings by way of applications for the issue of high prerogative Writs and applications for any other relief pending in the Supreme Court as well as all applications for injunctions pending in the High Court established under the Administration of Justice Law, No. 44 of 1973, on the date immediately preceding the commencement of the Constitution shall stand removed to the Court of Appeal and such Court shall have jurisdiction to take cognizance of, hear and determine or to continue and complete the same, and the judgments and orders of the Supreme Court established under the Administration of Justice Law, No. 44 of 1973, delivered or made before the commencement of the Constitution in original proceedings shall have the same force and effect as if they had been delivered or made by the Court of Appeal:

Provided that any proceedings in relation to any alleged breach of privileges of Parliament pending in the Supreme Court shall stand removed to the Supreme Court created and established by the Constitution ;

(5)  no appeal shall lie from any judgment, order or decree of the Supreme Court established under the Administration of Justice Law, No, 44 of 1973, to the Supreme Court created and established under the Constitution but such judgment, order or decree, as the case may be, shall be final as between the parties to the action, application or other proceeding in which such judgment, order or decree was made:

Provided that it shall be competent for the Court of Appeal and all officers of such Court to take all such steps as may be necessary, including the entering of decrees if not already entered and taxation and recovery of costs so as to ensure that such judgments, orders and decrees are completely and effectively complied with, as if they had been delivered or made by the Court of Appeal created and established by the Constitution ;

(6)  the several High Courts established under Chapter I of the Administration of Justice Law, No. 44 of 1973, shall be deemed for all purposes to constitute a single court created and established by Parliament called the High Court of the Republic of Sri Lanka having jurisdiction throughout the Republic of Sri Lanka to be exercised in the several Zones in accordance with the law for the time being in force. Accordingly, subject to the provisions of the Constitution, and of any existing written law, all provisions relating to High Courts contained in such Law shall, mutatis mutandis, apply to the High Court of the Republic of Sri Lanka ;

(7)  all criminal and admiralty cases, proceedings or matters, other than applications for injunctions, pending in the High Courts established under the Administration of Justice Law, No. 44 of 1973, on the day preceding the commencement of the Constitution shall stand removed to the said High Court of the Republic of Sri Lanka and such Court shall have jurisdiction to take cognizance of, hear and determine or to continue and complete the same, and the judgments and orders of the aforesaid High Courts delivered or made before the commencement of the Constitution shall have the same force and effect as if they had been delivered or made by the High Court of the Republic of Sri Lanka ;

(8)  the President  of the Court of Appeal shall from time to time as he may deem expedient nominate the Judges of the High Court of the Republic of Sri Lanka to exercise the jurisdiction of the High Court in such zones as he may determine and the Provisions of Chapter II of the Administration of Justice Law, No. 44 of 1973, shall, mutatis mutandis, apply to the hearing and disposal of all proceedings pending in or hereafter instituted in the High Court ;

(9)  all indictments filed hereafter in the High Court of the Republic of Sri Lanka shall be in the name of the Republic of Sri Lanka and shall be signed by the Attorney-General or any person authorized under section 189 of the Administration of Justice Law, No. 44 of 1973 ;

(10) all election petition proceedings relating to the election of any person to the membership of the National State Assembly pending in the High Courts established under the Administration of Justice Law, No. 44 of 1973, on the day preceding the commencement of the Constitution shall stand removed to the Court of Appeal and the Court of Appeal shall have the same jurisdiction to take cognizance of, hear and determine or to continue and complete the same, and the judgments and orders of the Supreme Court established by the Administration of Justice Law, No. 44 of 1973, and of the High Courts aforesaid delivered or made before the commencement of the Constitution in such election petition proceedings shall have the same force and effect as if they had been delivered or made by the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal established by the Constitution, as the case may be. The President of the Court of Appeal is hereby vested with the power to nominate a Judge of the Court of Appeal to hear and determine any election petition in respect of which the Court of Appeal is vested with jurisdiction by the Constitution ;

(11) all attorneys-at-law admitted and enrolled or deemed to have been admitted and enrolled as attorneys-at-law under the provisions of the Administration of Justice Law, No. 44 of 1973, shall subject to the provisions of the Constitution be deemed to have been admitted and enrolled as attorneys-at-law of the Supreme Court created and established by the Constitution ;

(12) after the date fixed by the Minister in charge of the subject of Justice, by Order published in the Gazette, no attorney-at-law shall be entitled to represent any party to a proceeding or be given the right of audience in any court, tribunal or other institution until or unless he has taken and subscribed the oath or made and subscribed the affirmation set out in the Fourth Schedule before a Judge of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, High Court or any other judicial officer as defined in Article 114 ; and it shall be the duty of any such Judge or judicial officer, as the case may be, to forward such oath or affirmation so taken and subscribed or made and subscribed to the Registrar of the Supreme Court who shall cause the same to be entered in the rolls of such Court. Such entry shall be the only proof that such attorney-at-law has taken and subscribed or made and subscribed such oath or affirmation ;

(13) the provisions of the Administration of Justice Law, No. 44 of 1973, relating to the Attorney-General, the legal profession, State Attorneys and State Counsel, shall be deemed for all purposes to be in operation, and every reference to the Supreme Court in sections 33 to 36 of the Administration of Justice Law, No. 44 of 1973, and in the rules and regulations relating thereto shall be deemed to be a reference to the Supreme Court established by the Constitution ;

(14) if any matter or question shall arise with regard to any procedure or practice to be followed in any court in consequence of the coming into operation of the Constitution, not provided for in the Constitution or any written law, the Chief Justice shall have the power to give such directions as he may consider necessary to prevent injustice or as the justice of the case may require and to ensure that the provisions of Chapters XV and XVI of the Constitution are given full and complete effect ;

(15) (i) any reference in section 2 of the Special Presidential Commissions of Inquiry Law, No. 7 of 1978, to the Supreme Court shall be deemed to be a reference to the Supreme Court established by the Constitution ;

      (ii) where any person has been appointed as a member of a Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry established under the Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry Law, No. 7 of 1978, then, such person shall notwithstanding the provisions of the Constitution, continue to be such member and shall be deemed for the purposes of Article 81 (1) to be a Judge of a Court referred to therein unless he resigns, or refuses or becomes unable to act, or is discharged by the President from the performance of his duties as such member in accordance with the provisions of the Special Presidential Commissions of Inquiry Law, No. 7 of 1978 ;

      (iii) any such member specified in the Warrant establishing such Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry as Chairman, shall, subject to the provisions of sub-paragraph (ii) of this paragraph, continue to be the Chairman of such Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry ;

(16) (i)  any breach the privileges of the National State Assembly functioning immediately prior to the commencement of the Constitution, shall be deemed to be a breach of the privileges of Parliament and accordingly, Parliament and the Supreme Court, shall have the Power to take cognizance of and punish any person for such breach of privileges of Parliament ;

      (ii) where prior to the commencement of the Constitution, any step required or authorized by the Parliament (Powers and Privileges) Act has been taken in respect of, or in relation to, any act or omission alleged to constitute such a breach of the privileges of Parliament as is referred to in sub-paragraph (i) of this paragraph, such step shall be deemed to have been validly taken and any further steps as are required or authorized under such Act, may be taken, in respect of or, in relation to, such alleged breach of the privileges of Parliament as if the act or omission alleged to constitute ; such breach of privileges of Parliament had been committed or had occurred after the commencement of the Constitution.

 

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

60[169A. (1) Every-

(a)  Queen's Counsel appointed prior to the coming into force of the Constitution ; and

(b)  Senior attorney-at-law appointed by the President after the coming into force of the Constitution,

shall, from the date on which this Article comes into force, be called and known also as President's Counsel and shall continue to enjoy all such privileges as were hitherto enjoyed by a Queen's Counsel.

(2) Every rule made under Article 136 relating to the appointment of Senior attorneys-at-law shall, from the date on which this Article comes into force, be deemed to be rescinded.

(3) Every reference in any written law to "Senior attorney- at-law" shall, from the date on which this Article comes into force, be deemed to include a reference to “President's Counsel."]

 

52. Substituted by the Third Amendment to the Constitution Sec. 4, for “shall hold office.”

53. Original para (ii) repealed and substituted by the Second Amendment to the Constitution Sec. 2.

54. Substituted by the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution Sec. 4 (1), for “to fill such vacancy. Upon receipt of such nomination, the Commissioner.”

55. Added by the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution Sec. 2 (d).

56. Substituted by the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution Sec. 4 (2)(a) for "within thirty days of his  being required to do so."

57. Substituted by the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution Sec. 4 (2) (d), for “vacancy, then the Commissioner of Elections.”  

58. Added by the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution sec. 4(3).

59. Original para (e) repealed and substituted by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution Sec. 2.

60. Inserted by the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution Sec. 4.

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