Urgent Matter

Image courtesy of Sanjeewa Dayarathne (www.Feedback.lk)

The government is forcing potentially harmful new laws on the public by misusing the urgent Bill provision in the Sri Lankan Constitution, say civil activists. The government is forcing potentially harmful new laws on the public by misusing the urgent Bill provision in the Sri Lankan Constitution, say civil activists. “From April 2004, up to now, there were 12 Bills approved as urgent Bills,” says lawyer Kalyananda Tiranagama, Executive Director of Lawyers for Human Rights and Development, a local civil rights group.

Under normal procedures of enacting legislation in Sri Lanka a Bill is first published in the government gazette.

Once the proposed law is gazetted, a citizen of Sri Lanka has seven days to read it and present any concerns, on the Bills Constitutionality, to the Supreme Court.

This process keeps the public informed of laws that are on the way and allows public input into new laws.

It has even saved people from unfriendly laws.

Between 2002 and 2003 for instance, civil rights groups challenged five proposed new laws before the Supreme Court and proved that they violated Sri Lanka’s Constitution and were damaging to the publ