Constitution of Sri Lanka/Nineteenth Amendment

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Section 1 Short title and date of operation[edit]

1. (1) This Act may be cited as the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

(2) The provisions of this Act other than the provisions of section 9 (in so far it relates to paragraph (1) of Article 46 of the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka) and the provisions of section 15 shall come into force on the date on which this Act comes into operation.
(3) The provisions of section 9 (in so far it relates to paragraph (1) of Article 46 of the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka) and the provisions of sections 15, 28, 29 30 and 31 shall come into force upon the conclusion of the General Election held immediately after the date on which this Act comes into operation.

Section 2 Insertion of new Article 14A in the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka[edit]

2. The Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (hereinafter in this Act referred to as the “Constitution”) is hereby amended by the insertion immediately after Article 14 thereof of the following new Article :-

14A (Right of access to information)
(1) Every citizen shall have the right of access to any information as provided for by law, being information that is required for the execise or protection of a citizen’s right held by:-
(a) the State, a Ministry or any Government Department or any statutory body established or created by or under any law;
(b) any Ministry of a Minster of the Board of Ministers of a Province or any Department or any statutory body established or created by a statute of a Provincial Council;
(c) any local authority; and
(d) any other person, who is in possession of such information relating to any institution referred to in sub-paragraphs (a) (b) or (c) of this paragraph.
(2) No restrictions shall be placed on the right declared and recognized by this Article, other than such restrictions prescribed by law as are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals and of the reputation or the rights of others, privacy, prevention of contempt of court, protection of parliamentary privilege, for preventing the disclosure of information communicated in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.
(3) In this Article, “citizen” includes a body whether incorporated or unincorporated, if not less than three-fourths of the members of such body are citizens.”.

Section 3 Replacement of Article 30 of the Constitution[edit]

3. Article 30 of the Constitution is hereby repealed and the following Article substituted therefor:-

30. (The President of the Republic)
(1) There shall be a President of the Republic of Sri Lanka, who is the Head of the State, the Head of the Executive and of the Government and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
(2) The President of the Republic shall be elected by the People and shall hold office for a term of five years.

Section 4 Amendment of Article 31 of the Constitution[edit]

4. Article 31 of the Constitution is hereby amended as follows:-

(1) by the insertion immediately after paragraph (1) of that Article, of the following new paragraph:-
“(2) No person who has been twice elected to the office of President by the People, shall be qualified thereafter to be elected to such office by the People.”;
(2) in paragraph (3A) of that Article:-
(a) (i) by the substitution in sub-paragraph(a)(i) of that paragraph, for the words “commencement of his current term of office, by Proclamation, declare his intention”, of the words “commencement of his first term of office, by Proclamation, declare his intention”; and
(ii) by the repeal of the proviso to sub-paragraph (a)(i);
(b) in sub-paragraph (d) of that paragraph, by the substitution for the words “for a term of six years” wherever those words appear in that sub-paragraph, of the words “ for a term of five years”.

Section 5 Replacement of Article 33 of the Constitution[edit]

5. Article 33 of the Constitution is hereby repealed and the following Article is substituted therefor:-

33. (Duties, powers and functions of the President)
(1) It shall be the duty of the President to—
(a) ensure that the Constitution is respected and upheld;
(b) promote national reconciliation and integration;
(c) ensure and facilitate the proper functioning of the Constitutional Council and the institutions referred to in Chapter VIIA; and
(d) on the advice of the Election Commission, ensure the creation of proper conditions for the conduct of free and fair elections and referenda.
(2) In addition to the powers, duties and functions expressly conferred or imposed on, or assigned to the President by the Constitution or other written law, the President shall have the power–
(a) to make the Statement of Government Policy in Parliament at the commencement of each session of Parliament;
(b) to preside at ceremonial sittings of Parliament;
(c) to summon, prorogue and dissolve Parliament;
(d) to receive and recognize, and to appoint and accredit, Ambassadors, High Commissioners, Plenipotentiaries and other diplomatic agents;
(e) to appoint as President’s Counsel, attorneys- at- law who have reached eminence in the profession and have maintained high standards of conduct and professional rectitude. Every President’s Counsel appointed under this paragraph shall be entitled to all such privileges as were hitherto enjoyed by Queen’s Counsel;
(f) to keep the Public Seal of the Republic, and to make and execute under the Public Seal, the acts of appointment of the Prime Minister and other Ministers of the Cabinet of Ministers, the Chief Justice and other judges of the Supreme Court, the President of the Court of Appeal and other judges of the Court of Appeal, and such grants and dispositions of lands and other immovable property vested in the Republic as the President is by law required or empowered to do, and to use the Public Seal for sealing all things whatsoever that shall pass that Seal;
(g) to declare war and peace; and
(h) to do all such acts and things, not inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution or written law, as by international law, custom or usage the President is authorized or required to do.

Section 6 Insertion of new Article 33A in the Constitution[edit]

6. The following Article is hereby inserted immediately after Article 33, and shall have effect as Article 33A of the Constitution:-

33A. (President to be responsible to Parliament)
The President shall be responsible to Parliament for the due exercise, performance and discharge of his powers, duties and functions under the Constitution and any written law, including the law for the time being relating to public security.

Section 7 Replacement of Article 35 of the Constitution[edit]

7. Article 35 of the Constitution is hereby repealed and the following Article is substituted therefor:-

35. (Immunity of President from suit)
(1) While any person holds office as President of the Republic of Sri Lanka, no civil or criminal proceedings shall be instituted or continued against the President in respect of anything done or omitted to be done by the President, either in his official or private capacity:
Provided that nothing in this paragraph shall be read and construed as restricting the right of any person to make an application under Article 126 against the Attorney-General, in respect of anything done or omitted to be done by the President, in his official capacity:
Provided further that the Supreme Court shall have no jurisdiction to pronounce upon the exercise of the powers of the President under Article 33(2)(g).
(2) Where provision is made by law limiting the time within which proceedings of any description may be instituted against any person, a period of time during which such person holds the office of President of the Republic of Sri Lanka shall not be taken into account in calculating any period of time prescribed by that law.
(3) The immunity conferred by the provisions of paragraph (1) shall not apply to proceedings in the Supreme Court under paragraph (2) of Article 129 and to proceedings under Article 130 (a) relating to the election of the President or the validity of a referendum.

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