The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) yesterday expressed its grave concern about the proposed amendments to Articles 1 and 2 of the present Constitution stating that the proposed amendments in the Interim Report of the Constitutional Assembly had the effect of converting the Unitary character of the State to a Federal structure.
In a statement the BASL said, the Bar Council of the BASL took the decision at a special meeting on Monday where they directed 12 questions to the government, expecting precise and clear responses.
The questions posed by the BASL to the government were as follows:
1. Was there a need/requirement for a new Constitution?
2. a) Will Sri Lanka continue to be Unitary?
b) If so, what [in brief] is the concept of a Unitary State?
3. What powers will be devolved to the Provinces?
4. a) Can the Central Government/ Parliament get back such powers if necessary?
b) if so, in what manner?
5. When appropriate, would the President have the power to exercise direct rule in the Provinces?
6. Will the Executive Presidency be abolished?
7. a) What would be the Court structure?
i. Will there be a Constitutional Court?
ii. If so, how are the Judges to that Court to be appointed?
8) How are Judges of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal appointed?
i. Will there be criteria for such appointments?
ii. If so, what are they?
9) How will the Judges of the Superior Courts be removed?
10) Will all Judges of the District Courts and Magistrates Courts throughout the country be appointed by the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) and will their transfers and discipline only be handled by the JSC?
11) a. What are the Fundamental Rights that would be justiciable?
b. In what Courts would the Rights be justiciable?
12) Would the Courts have the power [up to a limited period of time] to review legislation if inconsistent with the Constitution?