BASL wants Constitutional Council appointed urgently



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The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) yesterday said that care should be taken that the 19th Amendment to the Constitution would not have the same fate that befell the 17th Amendment and called upon all concerned to ensure the early establishment of the Constitutional Council.


The BASL, in a statement signed by its President Geoffrey Alagaratnam PC and Secretary Ajith Pathirana said: "The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) welcomes the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, and congratulates the President, the Prime Minister and the Members of Parliament who were able to forge a consensus on what is perhaps the most important amendment to the Constitution since its’ very enactment.


"Although the 19th Amendment in its final form does not wholly meet the aspirations of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka and all those committed to strengthening democracy, the independence of the judiciary and the Rule of Law, nevertheless the 191, Amendment is a significant step in the effort to establish an executive which is accountable to the people, to parliament and which does not exercise unfettered powers.


"The BASL remains of the view that the Constitutional Council should comprise of a majority of persons who are not politicians and are distinguished in public life. Regrettably, the 19th Amendment fell short of this goal, in that the Constitutional Council will now comprise a majority of politicians. The Bar Association of Sri Lanka is also disappointed that the final version left out the provision requiring the views of the BASL and other stakeholders to be sought in the appointment of-Judges to the Superior Courts. The Bar Association of Sri Lanka is hopeful that these shortcomings will be addressed in time to come. In the meantime the Bar Association of Sri Lanka will continue to engage the relevant authorities and persons on its position on judicial appointments and the need for judicial independence and integrity in the interests of democracy and the sovereignty of the people.


"It is now the duty of all concerned to ensure that the 19th Amendment is implemented in the same spirit that it was passed. Care must be taken that the 19th Amendment does not have the same fate which befell the 17th Amendment.


"We call upon all concerned, especially the President, the Prime Minister, the Speaker of Parliament and Leader of the Opposition, to ensure the early establishment of the Constitutional Council and Independent Commissions and to ensure the appointment of qualified and suitable persons to these offices, so that the process of accountable government will be entrenched in our society.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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