Sri Lanka public service, rule of law undermined by constitution: rights body

Jan 13, 2010 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s post independence constitutions of 1972 and 1978 and the scrapping of the institution of permanent secretaries has usurped the rule of law and destroyed the impartiality of the public service, a rights body has said. Above the Law

Fernando says the 1978 constitution where the president was placed above the law in section 35, is an attempt to displace the framework of the rule of law and to give power to the president to act without following the basic norms of the rule of law.

“In fact, what has happened since 1978 is interference not only in the civil service but also in relation to the judiciary,” he said.

“If this approach was adopted by the judiciary, section 35 of the constitution could have been interpreted within the framework of the rule of law,” he says.

Fernando says the judiciary could interpret section 35 on the basis of the rule of law and the insistence on the supremacy of the law. This could help implement the 17th amendment.

“There is no way to ignore the fact that there is a fundamental disturbance of the very foundations of constitutionalism that was made by the 1978 Constitution.

“It is a blow against the supremacy of the law and the rule of law.