Constitution of Sri Lanka/Chapter XI
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The Legislature - Procedures and Powers
Procedures and Powers
Sessions of Parliament.
70. (1) The President may, from time to time, by Proclamation summon, prorogue and dissolve Parliament :
Provided that -
(a) subject to the provisions of sub-paragraph (d), when a General Election has been held consequent upon a dissolution of Parliament by the President, the President shall not thereafter dissolve Parliament until the expiration of a period of one year from the date of such General Election, unless Parliament by resolution requests the President to dissolve Parliament;
(b) the President shall not dissolve Parliament on the rejection of the Statement of Government Policy at the commencement of the first session of Parliament after a General Election;
(c) subject to the provisions of sub-paragraph (d), the President shall not dissolve Parliament after the Speaker has entertained a resolution complying with the requirements of sub-paragraphs (a) and (b) of paragraph (2) of Article 38, unless -
(i) such resolution is not passed as required by sub-paragraph (c) of paragraph (2) of Article 38;
(ii) the Supreme Court determines and reports that the President has not become permanently incapable of discharging the functions of his office or that the President has not been guilty of any of the other allegations contained in such resolution;
(iii) the consequent resolution for the removal of the President is not passed as required by sub-paragraph (e) of paragraph (2) of Article 38; or
(iv) Parliament by resolution requests the President to dissolve Parliament;
(d) where the President has not dissolved Parliament consequent upon the rejection by Parliament of the Appropriation Bill, the President shall dissolve Parliament if Parliament rejects the next Appropriation Bill.
(2) Parliament shall be summoned to meet once at least in every year.
(3) A Proclamation proroguing Parliament shall fix a date for the next session, not being more than two months after the date of the Proclamation:
Provided that, at any time while Parliament stands prorogued, the President may by Proclamation -
(i) summon Parliament for an earlier date, not being less than three days from the date of such Proclamation, or
(ii) subject to the provisions of this Article, dissolve Parliament.
(4) All matters which, having been duly brought before Parliament, have not been disposed of at the time of the prorogation of Parliament, may be proceeded with during the next session.
(5) (a) A Proclamation dissolving Parliament shall fix a date or dates for the election of Members of Parliament, and shall summon the new Parliament to meet on a date not later than three months after the date of such Proclamation.
(b) Upon the dissolution of Parliament by virtue of the provisions of paragraph (2) of Article 62, the President shall forthwith by Proclamation fix a date or dates for the election of Members of Parliament, and shall summon the new Parliament to meet on a date not later than three months after the date of such Proclamation.
(c) The date fixed for the first meeting of Parliament by a Proclamation under sub-paragraph (a) or subparagraph (b) may be varied by a subsequent Proclamation, provided that the date so fixed by the subsequent Proclamation shall be a date not later than three months after the date of the original Proclamation.
(6) Where the poll for the election of the President is to be taken on a date which falls between the date of dissolution of Parliament and the date before which Parliament is required by paragraph (5) of this Article to be summoned to meet, Parliament shall, notwithstanding anything in that paragraph, be summoned to meet on a date not later than four months after the date of dissolution of Parliament.
(7) If at any time after the dissolution of Parliament the President is satisfied that an emergency has arisen of such a nature that an earlier meeting of Parliament is necessary, he may by Proclamation summon the Parliament which has been dissolved to meet on a date not less than three days from the date of such Proclamation and such Parliament shall stand dissolved upon the termination of the emergency or the conclusion of the General Election, whichever is earlier.
71. Parliament may adjourn from time to time as it may determine by resolution or Standing Order, until it is prorogued or dissolved.
72. (1) Save as otherwise provided in the Constitution any question proposed for decision by Parliament shall be decided by the majority of votes of the Members present and voting.
(2) The person presiding shall not vote in the first instance but shall have and exercise a casting vote in the event of an equality of votes.
73. If at any time during a meeting of Parliament the attention of the person presiding is drawn to the fact that there are fewer than twenty Members present, the person presiding shall, subject to any Standing Order, adjourn the sitting without question put.
74. (1) Subject to the provisions of the Constitution, Parliament may by resolution or Standing Order provide for—
(i) the election and retirement of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker and the Deputy Chairman of Committees, and
(ii) the regulation of its business, the preservation of order at its sittings and any other matter for which provision is required or authorized to be so made by the Constitution.
(2) Until Parliament otherwise provides by law or by resolution, the Standing Orders of the National State Assembly, operative immediately prior to the commencement of the Constitution, shall, mutatis mutandis, be the Standing Orders of Parliament.
75. Parliament shall have power to make laws, including laws having retrospective effect and repealing or amending any provision of the Constitution, or adding any provision to the Constitution:
Provided that Parliament shall not make any law—
(a) suspending the operation of the Constitution or any part thereof, or
(b) repealing the Constitution as a whole unless such law also enacts a new Constitution to replace it.
Delegation of legislative power.
76. (1) Parliament shall not abdicate or in any manner alienate its legislative power, and shall not set up any authority with any legislative power.
(2) It shall not be contravention of the provisions of paragraph (1) of this Article for Parliament to make, in any law relating to public security, provision empowering the President to make emergency regulations in accordance with such law.
(3) It shall not be a contravention of the provisions of paragraph (1) of this Article for Parliament to make any law containing any provision empowering any person or body to make subordinate legislation for prescribed purposes, including the power—
(a) to appoint a date on which any law or any part thereof shall come into effect or cease to have effect;
(b) to make by order any law or any part thereof applicable to any locality or to any class of persons; and
(c) to create a legal person, by an order or an act.
In sub-paragraphs (a) and (b) of this paragraph, “law” includes existing law.
(4) Any existing law containing any such provision as aforesaid shall be valid and operative.
Duties of Attorney-General in regard to published Bills.
77. (1) It shall be the duty of the Attorney-General to examine every Bill for any contravention of the requirements of paragraphs (1) and (2) of Article 82 and for any provision which cannot be validly passed except by the special majority prescribed by the Constitution; and the Attorney-General or any officer assisting the AttorneyGeneral in the performance of his duties under this Article shall be afforded all facilities necessary for the performance of such duties.
(2) If the Attorney-General is of the opinion that a Bill contravenes any of the requirements of paragraphs (1) and (2) of Article 82 or that any provision in a Bill cannot be validly passed except by the special majority prescribed by the Constitution, he shall communicate such opinion to the President:
Provided that in the case of an amendment proposed to a Bill in Parliament, the Attorney-General shall communicate his opinion to the Speaker at the stage when the Bill is ready to be put to Parliament for its acceptance.
Publication of Bills and passing of Bills and resolutions.
78. (1) Every Bill shall be published in the Gazette at least seven days before it is placed on the Order Paper of Parliament.
(2) The passing of a Bill or a resolution by Parliament shall be in accordance with the Constitution and the Standing Orders of Parliament. Any one or more of the Standing Orders may be suspended by Parliament in the circumstances and in the manner prescribed by the Standing Orders.
Certificate of Speaker.
79. The Speaker shall endorse on every Bill passed by Parliament a certificate in the following form :-
“This Bill (here state the short title of the Bill) has been duly passed by Parliament.”
Such certificate may also state the majority by which such Bill was passed :
Provided that where by virtue of the provisions of Article or Article 83 or Article 84 or Article 123 (2) a special majority is required for the passing of a Bill, the Speaker shall certify such Bill only if such Bill has been passed with such special majority:
Provided further that where by virtue of Article 83, the Bill or any provision thereof requires the approval of the People at a Referendum, such certificate shall further state that the Bill or such provision shall not become law until approved by the People at a Referendum.
When Bill becomes law.
80. (1) Subject to the provisions of paragraph (2) of this Article, a Bill passed by Parliament shall become law when the certificate of the Speaker is endorsed thereon.
(2) Where the Cabinet of Ministers has certified that any Bill or any provision thereof is intended to be submitted for approval by the People at a Referendum or where the Supreme Court has determined that a Bill or any provision thereof requires the approval of the People at a Referendum or where any Bill is submitted to the People by Referendum under paragraph (2) of Article 85, such Bill or such provision shall become law upon being approved by the People at a Referendum in accordance with paragraph (3) of Article 85 only when the President certifies that the Bill or provision thereof has been so approved. The President shall endorse on every Bill so approved a certificate in the following form : -
“This Bill/provision has been 21[duly approved by the People at a Referendum.”
No such certificate shall be endorsed by the President on a Bill –
(a) in any case where no petition is filed challenging the validity of the referendum at which such bill was approved by the People, until after the expiration of the period within which a petition may be filed, under the law applicable in that behalf, challenging the validity of such referendum :
(b) in any case where a petition is filed challenging the validity of the Referendum at which such Bill was approved by the People, until after the Supreme Court determines that such Referendum was valid.]
Every such certificate shall be final and conclusive, and shall not be called in question in any court.
(3) Where a Bill becomes law upon the certificate of the President or the Speaker, as the case may be, being endorsed thereon, no court or tribunal shall inquire into, pronounce upon or in any manner call in question the validity of such Act on any ground whatsoever.
Expulsion of Members and imposition of civic disability.
81. (1) Where a Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry established under the Special Presidential Commissions of Inquiry Law, No. 7 of 1978, and consisting of a member or members each of whom is a Judge of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, High Court or the District Court recommends that any person should be made subject to civic disability by reason of any act done or omitted to be done by such person before or after the commencement of the Constitution, Parliament may by resolution passed by not less than two-thirds of the whole number of Members (including those not present) voting in its favour -
(a) impose civic disability on such person for a period not exceeding seven years, and
(b) expel such person from Parliament, if he is a Member of Parliament.
Where a Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry consists of more than one member, a recommendation made by the majority of such members, in case of any difference of opinion, shall be, and shall be deemed for all purposes to be, the recommendation of such Commission of Inquiry.
(2) No such resolution shall be entertained by the Speaker or placed on the Order Paper of Parliament unless introduced by the Prime Minister with the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers.
(3) The Speaker shall endorse on every resolution passed in accordance with the preceding provisions of this Article a certificate in the following form: -
"This resolution has been duly passed by Parliament in accordance with the provisions of Article 81 of the Constitution."
Every such certificate shall be conclusive for all purposes and shall not be questioned in any court, and no court or tribunal shall inquire into, or pronounce upon or in any manner call in question, the validity of such resolution on any ground whatsoever.
(4) In this Article, “District Court” means a District Court created and established by existing law and includes a court that may be created by Parliament to exercise and perform powers and functions corresponding or substantially similar to the powers and functions exercised and performed by the District Court.
21. Substituted by the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution Sec. (4) for “duly approved by the People at a Referendum”.