BASL urges govt. not to move 18th Amdmt.
The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), one of the biggest professional bodies representing all lawyers of the country yesterday strongly urged the government not to move the proposed 18th Amendment to the Constitution without a public discussion.
The statement was issued following a motion signed by a large number of lawyers handed over to the BASL highlighting grave consequences that would follow the passage of the 18th Amendment.
The lawyers who called themselves ‘Concerned Lawyers’ said grave consequences would be followed, if the proposed 18th Amendment to the Constitution was rushed through as an urgent bill without referring it to the people for discussion and approval.
Subsequently the Bar Council passed a resolution against the proposed amendment and asked the government not to introduce it as an ‘urgent bill’.
“The BASL is perturbed by the move of the government to introduce the 18th amendment to the Constitution as an “Urgent Bill”’, a statement issued by the President of the BASL,” Shibly Aziz PC said.
‘As early as June this year, the Bar Council resolved that Constitutional Amendments should not be presented as “Urgent Bills” and urged the government to desist from proposing Constitutional Amendments in the form of “Urgent Bills”. ‘This position of the Bar Association was communicated to the Government and given wide publicity as well. We regret to note that despite this, the government is planning to proceed with the proposed 18th Amendment to the Constitution as an ‘Urgent Bill’ to be debated and voted upon on today, September 8.’
‘As the professional body representing all lawyers of this country, we strongly urge the government not to move it without a full public discussion and debate on such an important mater’, BASL president stated.
Meanwhile a group of lawyers also staged a protest in front of the Hulftsdrop courts and held a protest march carrying a coffin on which was written ‘18th Amendment- Demise of Democracy’.
At the protest, the lawyers also urged all the Members of Parliament who are also Attorneys- at- Law not to vote in favour of the “urgent” bill.
“The specific concerns raised are in view of the fact that the proposed amendments directly or indirectly impinge upon the people’s right of sovereignty enshrined in the Constitution, which amendments therefore necessarily require the approval of the people at a Referendum,” said Chrishmal Warnasuriya speaking on behalf of the ‘Concerned Lawyers’.
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