LAWYERS ARE READY TO DO THEIR DUTY & PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS – ARE YOU?
This is to inform you that a motion signed by more than 100 members of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) was handed over today highlighting therein the grave consequences that would follow, if the proposed 18th Amendment to the Constitution is rushed through as an urgent bill without referring it to the people for discussion and approval.
1) The Motion
2) Explanatory Statement of law
are attached herewith for your information.
This group of “Concerned Lawyers” has reminded the BASL that it is a bounden duty of a lawyer to ensure that the Constitutional rights guaranteed to citizens of this Republic are protected. They also refer to the specific advice given by the BASL to the Government, following the findings of a special committee of highly eminent practitioners, advising that Constitutional amendments of this nature should not be rushed through in this manner as “urgent bills”; which advice has been completely disregarded by the Government.
They are therefore calling upon all the Members of Parliament who are also Attorneys- at- Law not to vote in favour of this “urgent” bill.
The specific concerns raised are in view of the fact that the proposed amendments directly/ indirectly impinge upon the people’s right of sovereignty enshrined in Article 3 of the Constitution, which amendments therefore necessarily require the approval of the people at a Referendum.
These “Concerned Lawyers” have emphasized that their grievance is not against the incumbent Executive or the administration or indeed what is sought to be done by the amendment itself but the manner in which the citizens of this country are being denied their constitutional right and entitlement to decide for themselves. This right of the citizen that lawyers wish to protect, is a constitutional oath they have taken and are bound by.
These “Concerned Lawyers” will be holding a protest demonstration in this connection tomorrow, 07.09.2010 at 12.30 pm on Hulftsdorp Hill and invite all equally concerned citizens to join them.
If for some reason you are unable to make it to Hulftsdorp, they call upon you to hold a similar protest demonstration at the same time outside your respective places of professional practice, employment, occupation or other, and pass this message on to every concerned citizen.
Together let us see what we can change – if not, at least we tried!!!
May I suggest, could you should inform citizens, when inviting them to create or join protests (since we’re not legally savvy) about what our rights are, about such protests. For example, does any kind of permission need to be got (if yes, then from whom?) for such a protest? If, for example, I join such a protest, then do I need to check whether the organizers have got permission? Or is permission required only in some situations and not others (for example, might it be the case that permission is NOT needed for peaceful protests on public property if it is not blocking vehicular traffic?)
I am fairly sure that a large number of concerned citizens, might stay away from protests simply because of fear of and uncertainty about whether such a protest is (technically) illegal. Therefore, is good if it is clearly explained to all of us citizens what are rights in this kind of thing, and what are the restrictions/limitations (such as for example if some situations require permission to be sought from some authority). Or another example: if I am peacefully protesting, without violent or slanderous signs or words or actions, but if some other protestors around me are engaging in such acts, then can authorities demand that I too leave the place?
Such information will help the common person who doesn’t have a clear EXACT knowledge of what one’s rights are (or are not) in this kind of protest situation.