The Public Representations Committee on Constitutional Reforms (PRCCR) informed that the social problems of the country, social differences among the people and the political culture would be taken into consideration when adapting the Constitution to suit the country.
Chairman of the PRCCR, Lal Wijenayake said that views put forward by the people were all important but since they were all concerning an ideal Constitution, the Committee was tasked with looking at their practicality when making recommendations in their report.
“Therefore, there is a need to fit these suggestions and use them to suit the circumstances and take these views into account,” he added.
The Committee has presently divided into different groups and is in the process of studying all the submissions, both written and verbal representations, exceeding 5,000, and taking notes, he mentioned.
There are suggestions calling for a non-religious State or a secular State and this translates to the removal of Article 9 of the Constitution, he remarked, adding that there was a question whether this could be practically pulled off if the people’s sentiments were taken into account.
Sri Lanka is more or less a secular State and Article 9 has not affected any other religion in any way, he noted, adding that there could be provisions to safeguard the rights of other religions.
“We have met with the Chief Minister of the Western Province and are to meet the Chief Ministers of the North Central Province and the Central Province along with the Chief Ministers of the remaining Provinces. We are meeting Muslim religious leaders, independent commissions and professional bodies,” he said.
Further, the committee has also requested for meetings with former Presidents Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and Mahinda Rajapaksa. He added that while Bandaranaike is scheduled to give a time to meet, there has been no response yet from Rajapaksa. “By the 31 of this month we will stop recording views,” Attorney-at-Law Wijenayake observed.