To submit report to President and PM
The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) will be submitting a comprehensive report to the President and the Prime Minister regarding constitutional reforms following island-wide seminars organized for members of the private and unofficial bar with the view of collecting suggestions and amendments in this regard.
President of the BASL, President’s Counsel (PC) Udaya Rohan De Silva said that they had proposed the extension of the one month time bar imposed on filing fundamental rights applications in the Supreme Court to depending on the circumstances a period of one and a half months to two months or more in the event there is difficulty in finding any relevant documents.
Noting that the Constitution had provided for wider powers to High Courts, he added that another proposal was to grant the Provincial High Courts, the jurisdiction to hear fundamental rights cases pertaining to individuals in certain matters. This would result in litigants not having to undergo any harassment, specifically in having to travel to Colombo. An aggrieved party from Anuradhapura can lodge the petition with the Anuradhapura High Court instead. The cadre of High Court Judges too is to be increased soon. The powers must be decentralized, he explained, adding that litigants could appeal the High Court verdict through the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.
The expansion of the Fundamental Rights Chapter of the Constitution and the expansion of the membership of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) have also been proposed by the BASL.
“The JSC currently comprises three Supreme Court Judges including the Chief Justice. They are all from the Attorney General’s Department. Therefore, we call for a member of the minor judiciary to be appointed to the JSC so that the grievances of those in the lower courts can be brought to the forum. The President of the Court of Appeal and the President of the BASL too must be appointed along with a person of eminence from outside. This would bring the membership to seven with which we are satisfied or the number of persons from outside can also be increased to three to bring the total membership to nine if required,” De Silva PC pointed out.