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Home > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > Sri Lanka's Broken Pacts & Evasive Proposals >  Chandrika's 'Devolution Proposals'  > Sri Lanka Constitutional Bill, August 2000: Preamble, Chapters I to X  > Chapters XI to XIV > Chapters XV to XXI > Chapters XXII to XXVII > Chapters XXVIII to end

Chandrika's 'Devolution Proposals'

Sri Lanka Constitution Bill
August 2000

  AN ACT TO REPEAL AND REPLACE THE CONSTITUTION
OF THE DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF SRI LANKA


Contents

Preamble to Chapter X

Chapters XI to XIV

Chapters XV to XXI

bullet Chapter XV: Devolution of Power to the Regions
bullet Chapter XVI: State Land, Water and Minerals
bullet Chapter XVII: The Judiciary - Institutions for the Administration of Justice
bullet Chapter XVIII: The Judiciary - Independence of the Judiciary
bullet Chapter XIX: The Judiciary - The Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and the Regional High Courts
bullet Chapter XX: The Public Service

bullet Chapter XXI: Finance

Chapters XXII to XXVII

Chapters XXVIII to end

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CHAPTER XV: THE DEVOLUTION OF POWER TO REGIONS

Establishment of Regional Council

127. (1) (a) There shall be a Regional Council for every Region specified in Part A of the First Schedule.

(b) The Capital Territory shall form part of the Western Region.

(c) Parliament may, from time to time, by resolution, determine the limits of the Capital Territory, so however, that the limits so determined do not result in the alteration of the boundaries of the Western Province.

(2) (a) The President shall, by Order published in the Gazette, require a Referendum to be held in the Administrative Districts of Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Amparai, and fix a date or dates therefor, being a date or dates not earlier than the expiration of a period of nine years from the commencement of the Constitution and not later than three months prior to the expiration of a period of ten years from the commencement of the Constitution to enable the electors of such Districts to decide on the question whether or not such Districts and the Administrative Districts of Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya, Mannar and Mullaitivu should form one Region to be designated the North-Eastern Region.

(b) Where at such Referendum the question-

(i) is answered in the affirmative by a majority of the valid votes cast, a Regional Council shall be established for the North-Eastern Region specified in Part B of the First Schedule with effect from such date as the President shall appoint by Order published in the Gazette;

(ii) is not answered in the affirmative, two separate Regional Councils shall be established for the Northern Region and the Eastern Region as specified respectively in Part C of the First Schedule with effect from such date as the President shall appoint by Order published in the Gazette.

(3) (a) For the purposes of Article 3 and this Article, the Administrative Districts specified therein and in the First Schedule and the areas and boundaries of such districts shall be those specified by or under any written law and in force at the commencement of the Constitution.

(b) It shall be lawful for Parliament, by resolution under the applicable law , to abolish any Administrative District referred to in the First Schedule, establish a new Administrative District, or to alter the limits of any such Administrative District, so however that such abolition, establishment or alteration does not result in the alteration of the area or boundaries of any Region. .    

(4) (a) The holding of the Referendum provided for in this Article shall be deemed to be valid notwithstanding any inconsistency with the provisions of Chapter XII.

(b) Parliament shall, by law, provide for all matters relating to such Referendum and, until Parliament so provides, the provisions of the Referendum Act. No. 7 of 1981 shall, mutatis mutandis, apply.

Election of Members.

128. Every Regional Council established under Article 127 shall be constituted upon the members of such Council being elected in accordance with the law relating to Regional Council elections.

Governor

129. (1) There shall be a Governor for each Region for which a Regional Council has been established under with Article 127.

(2) (a) Subject to sub-paragraph (b) of this paragraph, the Governor shall be appointed by the President in consultation with the Prime Minister and with the concurrence of the Chief Minister of the Region.

(b) Where an agreement cannot be arrived at under sub-paragraph (a) this paragraph as to the person to be appointed as Governor, the President shall refer the matter to the Constitutional Council, which shall, after ascertaining the views of the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister, recommend to the President, a suitable person for appointment as Governor and the President shall appoint the person so recommended as Governor.

(c) The appointment of the Governor under this Article shall be made by warrant under the hand of the President.

(d) The office of Governor shall become vacant uponĖ

(i) the expiry of the term of office of the Governor;

(ii) the death of the Governor;

(iii) the resignation from office by the Governor by writing addressed to the President;

(iv) the making of a decision of a Committee consisting of the Chairman of the Regional Council of the Region, the Chief Minister of the Region, the Leader of the largest political party or independent group in the Regional Council other than the party or group to which the Chief Minister belongs and the Advocate-General of the Region, that the Governor is permanently incapable of discharging the functions of the office of Governor by reason of mental or physical infirmity; or

(v) the removal of the Governor from office by the President on an address made by the Regional Council under paragraph (3) of this Article.

(3)(a) A Regional Council may, subject to sub-paragraph (b) of this paragraph, present an address to the President advising the removal of the Governor on the ground that the Governor-

( i) has intentionally violated the provisions of the Constitution;

(ii) is guilty of misconduct or corruption involving the abuse of power of the office of Governor; or

(iii) is guilty of bribery or an offence involving moral turpitude, if a resolution for the presentation of such address is passed by an absolute majority of the whole number of members of the Council (including those not present) voting in its favour.

(b) A resolution for the presentation of an address to the President advising the removal of the Governor on the grounds referred to in sub-paragraph (a) of this paragraph shall not be entertained by the Speaker of the Regional Council or discussed at the Council, unless notice of such resolution is signed by not less than one- third of the whole number of members of the Council.

(4) Whenever the Governor is prevented by illness or any other cause from performing the duties of the office of Governor, or is temporarily absent from Sri Lanka, the President shall appoint the Governor of an adjoining Region to act in the office of Governor.

(5) Subject to the provisions of this Article, the Governor shall hold office for a period of five years from the date the Governor assumes office.

(6) Every person appointed as Governor shall assume office upon making and subscribing the affirmation or taking and subscribing the oath, set out in the Fifth Schedule, before the President.

(7) Upon the assumption of office, a Governor shall cease to hold any other office created or recognised by the Constitution and if the Governor is a Member of Parliament or a Member of a Regional Council, shall vacate the seat in Parliament or in the Regional Council, as the case may be, and shall not hold any other office or place of profit.

(8) (a) The Governor may from time to time summon a Regional Council to meet for the first sitting of any session at such time and place as the Governor thinks fit, but two months shall not intervene between the last sitting in one session and the date appointed for the first sitting of the next session.    

(b) The Governor may, from time to time, prorogue the Regional Council.

(c) The Governor may dissolve the Regional Council.

(d) Subject to the provisions of the Constitution, the Governor shall exercise the powers under sub-paragraphs (b) and (c) of this paragraph in accordance with the advice of the Chief Minister, as long as the Chief Minister commands the support of the majority of the Regional Council.

(9) (a) The Governor of a Region shall have the power to grant pardon to any person convicted of an offence under a Statute made by the Regional Council of that Region or a law made by Parliament on a matter in respect of which the Regional Council has power to makes Statutes, or to grant a respite or remission of punishment imposed by court on any such person.

(b) The Governor shall exercise the power under this paragraph in consultation with a committee consisting of the seniormost Judge of the Regional High Court or any other Judge of the Regional High Court nominated by such Judge, a nominee of the Chief Minister and the Advocate-General of the Region.

(c) The Governor shall not exercise the powers under this paragraph where power has been exercised by the President under Article 59 in respect of the same person and in respect of the same offence.

(10) The Governor may address the Regional Council and may for that purpose require the attendance of members.

(11) It shall be the duty of the Chief Minister of every Region to communicate to the Governor of the Region all decisions of the Board of Ministers relating to the administration of the affairs of the Region and the proposals for legislation.

(12) Parliament shall, by law or resolution, make provision for the salary and allowances payable to holders of the office of Governor.

Executive powers of the Region

130. (1) (a) The executive power of the Region is vested in the Governor, and, insofar as such power relates to matters with respect to which a Regional Council has power to make Statutes, the Governor shall act on the advice of the Chief Minster and the Board of Ministers.

(b) The exercise of executive power relating to specific subjects and functions shall be through Ministers acting directly or through subordinate officers, in accordance with this Chapter.

(2) (a) All contracts made in the exercise of the executive power of a Region shall be expressly made in the name of the Governor of the Region, and all such contracts and all assurances of property made in the exercise of that power shall be executed on behalf of the Governor by such persons and in such manner as the Governor may direct or authorize.

(b) The Governor shall not be personally liable in respect of any contract or assurance made or executed for the purposes of this Article, nor shall any person making any such contract or assurance on behalf of the Governor, be personally liable in respect thereof.

Interpretation of written law on matters enumerated in the Regional List

131. (1) Where any power or function including the power to make any Order, Proclamation, Notification, regulation or rule, is conferred on, or assigned to a Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers or to a public officer, as the case may be, by any written law made prior to the commencement of the Constitution on any matter enumerated in List II of the Second Schedule (hereinafter referred to as the "Regional List"), such power or function may -

( a) if such power or function is conferred on, or assigned to, any such Minister, be exercised or discharged, in relation to a Region and unless the context otherwise requires, by the Minister of the Board of Ministers of that Region to whom the subject has been assigned; and accordingly, references in every such written law to a Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers shall be deemed to include references to the Minister of the Board of Ministers of such Region to whom the function has been assigned ; and

(b) if such power or function is conferred on, or assigned to, a public officer, be exercised or discharged, in relation to a Region and unless the context otherwise requires, by the officer of the Regional Public Service holding an office corresponding to the office held by such public officer; and accordingly, references in every such written law to a public officer shall be deemed to include a reference to the officer of the Regional Public Service who holds an office corresponding to the office held by such public officer.

(2) Where any such written law referred to in paragraph (1) of this Article makes provision-( a) for any Order, Proclamation, Notification, regulation or rule made under that written law to be laid before Parliament ; or (b) for the annulment or approval of any such Order, Proclamation, Notification, regulation or rule, by Parliament, such provision shall have effect in relation to a Region as if reference in it to Parliament were a reference to the Regional Council established for that Region.

(3) The provisions of paragraphs (1) and (2) of this Article shall apply, mutatis mutandis, to Statutes of the corresponding Provincial Councils established by the 1978 Constitution and in force immediately prior to the commencement of the Constitution.

Membership of a Regional Council

132. A Regional Council shall consist of such number of members as may be determined by or under law, who shall be elected in such manner as may be determined by Parliament by law.

Term of office

133. A Regional Council shall, unless sooner dissolved, continue for a period of five years from the date appointed for its first meeting, and the expiry of the said period of five years shall operate as the dissolution of the Council.

Board of Ministers

134. (1) There shall be a Board of Ministers with the Chief Minister as the Head of the Board and such number of Ministers in respect of each Region as is specified in Column III of the First Schedule, to aid and advise the Governor of the Region in the discharge of the functions of the Governor and the Governor shall, in the discharge of those functions, act in accordance with such advice except in so far as the Governor is by or under the Constitution required to discharge the functions or any of them in the Governorís discretion or in consultation with a person or body of persons.

(2) (a) The Governor shall, subject to sub-paragraph (b) of this paragraph, appoint as Chief Minister, the member of the Regional Council established for that Region who is best able to command the support of a majority of the members of that Council. (b) Where more than one half of the members elected to a Regional Council are members of one political party or independent group, the Governor shall appoint the leader of that party or group in the Council as Chief Minister.

(3) After the conclusion of an election of members of a Regional Council, the Commissioner-General of Elections shall forthwith apportion the number of Ministers among the recognised political parties and independent groups contesting the election and which have informed the Commissioner-General of Elections that they wish to participate in the Board of Ministers, in the same proportion as the proportion which the number of valid votes polled by each such party or group at the election held on the basis of proportional representation bears to the total number of valid votes polled by all such parties and groups at such election and for the purposes of such apportionment, the provisions of paragraphs (4), (5) and (6) and of Article 116 shall, mutatis mutandis, apply.  

(4) (a) The Commissioner-General of Elections shall forthwith inform the Governor, of the number of Ministers each such recognised political party or independent group is entitled to appoint by virtue of the apportionment made under paragraph (3) and the Governor shall, within three days of the receipt of such information, summon the Chief Minister and the secretaries and group leaders of such parties and groups and shall on the recommendations of such secretaries and group leaders and after consultation with the Chief Minister, appoint the Ministers of the Board of Ministers. (b) Any vacancy arising as a result of a Minister ceasing to hold office shall be filled in accordance with the provisions of this paragraph.

(5) Where the secretary of a recognised political party or the group leader of an independent group does not make any recommendation upon being summoned by the Governor under sub-paragraph (a) of paragraph (4) of this Article, it shall be presumed that such recognised political party or independent group does not wish to participate in the Board of Ministers and the Commissioner-General of Elections shall thereupon re-apportion the number of Ministers, and the provisions of paragraph (3) and (4) of this Article shall apply.

(6) Every Regional Council established for a Region shall by Statute, specify the principal subjects and functions in respect of which Ministers of the Board of Ministers of that Region shall be appointed, and until such Statute is passed, the Chief Minister shall determine such principal subjects and functions.

(7) (a) The Chief Minister of a Region shall in consultation with the Ministers appointed under paragraphs (4) and (5) of this Article , assign subjects and functions to such Ministers in accordance with the Statute made by the Regional Council established for that Region or the determination referred to in paragraph (6) of this Article.

(b) The Chief Minister of a Region together with the Ministers appointed under paragraphs (4) and (5) of this Article shall constitute the Board of Ministers of that Region, and the Board of Ministers shall be collectively responsible and answerable to the Regional Council established for that Region.

(c) The quorum for any meeting of the Board of Ministers shall be not less than one half of the total number of Ministers constituting the Board of Ministers.

(8) A person appointed to the office of Chief Minister or member of the Board of Ministers shall not enter upon the duties of the office of Chief Minister or Minister of the Board of Ministers until such person makes and subscribes the affirmation or takes and subscribes the oath set out in the Fifth Schedule.    

(9) (a) Upon the death or resignation of the Chief Minister or where the Chief Minister is deemed to have resigned, the Board of Ministers shall stand dissolved, and the Governor shall, subject to sub- paragraph (b) of this paragraph, appoint a Chief Minister and a Board of Ministers in accordance with the provisions of this Article.

(b) Where it is not possible to make an appointment in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (2) of this Article, the Governor shall, subject to sub paragraph (c) of this paragraph, dissolve the Regional Council .

(c) The Governor shall, prior to such dissolution, endeavour to ascertain whether any member of the Regional Council is able to command the support of a majority of the members of that Council.

(10) If the Regional Council rejects the statement of policy of the Regional Administration or the draft Appropriation Statute or passes a vote of no-confidence in the Regional Administration, the Chief Minister shall be deemed to have resigned.

(11) There shall be for each Ministry in charge of a Minister of the Board of Ministers, a Secretary and the Secretary shall, subject to the direction and control of the Minister , exercise supervision over the departments and institutions in charge of such Minister of the Board of Ministers.

(12) The Secretary shall also function as the Secretary to the Executive Committee appointed for that Ministry.

Executive Committees

135. (1) There shall be an Executive Committee for each Ministry of which the Minister in charge of such Ministry shall be the Chairperson.

(2) The Minister shall exercise power in relation to the subjects and functions assigned to the Minister in consultation with the Executive Committee.

(3) (a) The Executive Committee may make proposals in relation to policy to the Board of Ministers through the Minister and the Board of Ministers shall consider such proposals.

(b) Where the Board of Ministers does not agree to a proposal made by an Executive Committee under sub-paragraph (a) of this paragraph , the Board shall notify its decision to such Executive Committee and any member of such Executive Committee may place such proposal before the Regional Council.

(c) The Executive Committee may delegate any of its powers to the Minister.

(4) (a) Every Regional Council shall proceed to the election of the aforesaid Committees as soon as may be after the election of a Speaker and before proceeding to the despatch of any other business.

(b) Each Committee shall consist of, as nearly as possible, an equal number of members and every member of the Council, except the Speaker, shall be elected to one such Committee.

(c) Any member of the Council shall not be elected to more than one Committee.

(d) Where a member of a Committee is elected to fill any vacancy in the office of the Speaker, that member shall, upon such election, cease to be a member of such Committee.

(5) Subject to the provisions of this Article, the procedure for the election of Executive Committees and for the assignment to an Executive Committee of any member elected to the Council after the first meeting thereof following a general election and for transfer of members from one Committee to another shall be as prescribed by the Standing Orders of the Council and in the absence of such Standing Orders, the procedure shall be as determined by the Speaker.

(6) Whenever a Minister of the Board of Ministers is unable to discharge the functions of the Ministerís office, the Governor, acting on the advice of the Chief Minister tendered in consultation with the Secretary of the recognised political party or the group leader of the independent group, as the case may be, of which such Minister is a member, may appoint any member of the Executive Committee, of which such Minister is Chairperson, to act in place of such Minister.

The Advocate-General of the Region

136. (1) The Governor of each Region shall appoint an attorney-at- law from the Region who has achieved eminence in the profession and has maintained high standards of conduct and professional rectitude to be the Advocate-General of the Region.

(2) It shall be the duty of the Advocate-General to give advice to the Governor, the Chief Minister and the Board of Ministers upon such legal matters and perform such other duties in relation thereto, as may be from time to time referred or assigned to the Advocate-General by the Governor, and to discharge the functions conferred on the Advocate-General by or under this Chapter or other law.

(3) The Advocate-General shall hold office during the pleasure of the Governor and shall receive such remuneration as the Governor may determine.

Legislative power, delegation and procedure

137. (1) Subject to the provisions of the Constitution, the Regional Council of a Region shall have exclusive power to make Statutes, including Statutes having retrospective effect, for such Region or any part thereof with respect to any of the matters enumerated in the "Regional List".

(2) A Statute of a Regional Council shall not contravene or be inconsistent with the Constitution and any Statute, insofar as it is in contravention or inconsistent with the Constitution, shall, to the extent of such contravention or inconsistency be void.

(3) (a) A Regional Council shall not abdicate or in any manner alienate its legislative power.

(b) The provisions of paragraphs (2), (3) and (4) of Article 92 shall, mutatis mutandis, apply to the exercise of legislative power by Regional Councils.

(4) (a) Sittings of a Regional Council and the procedure for the transaction of business by a Regional Council shall be regulated by Standing Orders made by such Council.

(b) Parliament may by resolution provide for model Standing Orders for Regional Councils.

Review of constitutionality of draft Statutes

138. (1) Every draft Statute proposed to be presented in a Regional Council shall be submitted to the Governor at least fourteen days prior to presentation, and every such draft Statute shall be published in the Gazette at least seven days prior to presentation.

(2) It shall be the duty of the Advocate-General of the Region to examine every draft Statute before it is published in the Gazette, for any contravention or inconsistency with the Constitution and the Advocate-General or any officer assisting the Advocate-General in the performance of the duties under this Article shall be afforded all facilities necessary for the performance of such duties.

(3) If the Advocate-General is of the opinion that a draft Statute or any provision thereof, contravenes, or is inconsistent with, the Constitution, the Advocate-General shall, subject to the provisions of paragraph (4) of this Article, communicate such opinion to the Governor, the Chief Minister and the Board of Ministers, and may, after publication of the draft Statute in the Gazette, invoke the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under sub-paragraph (a) of paragraph (10 of Article 169(1)(a) to determine the constitutionality of the draft Statute or any provisions thereof.

(4) Where an amendment is proposed to a draft Statute in the Regional Council, the Advocate-General of the Region shall communicate the opinion on matters specified in paragraph (2) of this Article to the Speaker at the stage when the draft Statute is ready to be put to the Regional Council for its acceptance.

(5) Where a draft Statute is passed, despite the opinion of the Advocate-General that it contravenes or is inconsistent with the Constitution, it shall be the duty of the Advocate-General to invoke the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under sub-paragraph (b) of paragraph (1) of Article 169 to determine the constitutionality of such Statute or any provision thereof.

Statutes inconsistent with laws and Statutes of Provincial Councils

139. (1) Where there is a law with respect to any matter in the Regional List in force in any Region on the date on which a Regional Council is established for that Region and the Regional Council established for that Region subsequently makes a Statute on the same matter and which is described in its long title as being inconsistent with that law, then, the provisions of that law shall, with effect from the date on which that Statute is certified by the Speaker of the Regional Council, remain suspended and be inoperative within that Region, to the extent of such inconsistency.

(2) Where there is a Statute of a Provincial Council established by the 1978 Constitution in force in any area of a Region on the date on which a Regional Council is established for that Region, such Statute shall continue to be in force in relation to the area to which it was applicable unless the Regional Council provides otherwise.

When a draft Statute becomes law

140. (1) Every draft Statute passed by a Regional Council shall come into force upon the certificate of the Speaker of that Council being endorsed thereon.

(2) The Speaker shall endorse on every draft Statute passed by the Regional Council a certificate in the following form : -

" This draft Statute (state the short title of the draft Statute), has been duly passed by the Regional Council".

(3) Where a certificate is endorsed on a draft Statute as provided for in paragraph (2) of this Article a court or tribunal shall not inquire into, pronounce upon or in any manner call in question, the validity of such Statute save as provided in Article 169.

Chief Ministersí Conference

141. (1) (a) There shall be established a Chief Ministersí Conference which shall consist of the Chief Ministers of all the Regions.

(b) Where there is no Chief Minister in office in any Region, the Governor of that Region, or any person authorized by the Governor, may represent the Region at the Conference.

(2) (a) The Chairperson of the Chief Ministersí Conference shall be elected by the Chief Ministers from among themselves in rotation, so however, that each Chief Minister shall hold office as Chairperson for a period of up to three months.

(b) The Chairperson of the Chief Ministersí Conference shall represent the Conference on the Constitutional Council.

(3) The Conference shall have the power-

( a) to take all such steps as may be necessary to ensure full compliance with the provisions of this Constitution relating to Regional Councils and Regional Administrations, in accordance with the spirit and intention of the Constitution;

(b) to inquire into and to settle by mediation or conciliation any dispute which may arise between or among two or more Regional Administrations;

(c) to inquire into and discuss subjects in which all or more than one of the Regions have a common interest, and to make recommendations for the better co-ordination of policy and action in respect of such subjects ; and

(d) to discuss matters, policy and procedure relating to finance, the financial administration and accountability of the Regional Administrations and to make representations thereon to the Finance Commission and the Central Government.

(4) (a) Where efforts at mediation and conciliation as provided for in sub-paragraph (b) of paragraph (3) of this Article fail, such dispute may be referred for adjudication to a tribunal established, in accordance with this Article.

(b) The tribunal referred to in sub-paragraph (a) of this paragraph shall consist of a member appointed by each of the Regional Administrations which is a party to the dispute and a Chairperson nominated by the members so appointed.

(c) Where there is no agreement on the nomination of the Chairperson, the Chairperson shall be nominated by the Constitutional Council.

(d) The practices and procedures of the tribunal shall be regulated by rules framed by the Conference, and until such rules are framed, by rules determined by the Chairperson of the tribunal.

(e) Any award or determination made by such tribunal shall be binding on the parties to the dispute.

(5) Anything in this paragraph shall not be read and construed as empowering the tribunal to determine any question relating to the interpretation of the Constitution.    

(6) The Conference shall regulate its own procedures and shall meet every month, unless otherwise determined by the Conference.

(7) The Prime Minister shall meet with the Conference regularly, so however that a period of three months shall not elapse between two consecutive meetings.

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CHAPTER XVI: STATE LAND, WATERS AND MINERALS

Foreshore, lands underlying the ocean, mines and minerals &c.

142. (1) The foreshore, all lands, mines, minerals and other things of value underlying the ocean within the territorial waters, rights pertaining to the continental shelf and rights pertaining to the exclusive economic zone of Sri Lanka, shall continue to vest in the Republic and shall be held by the Central Government.

(2) The limits of the territorial waters, the continental shelf, the exclusive economic zone and other maritime zones of Sri Lanka shall be such as are specified, from time to time, by law.

(3) The regulation of the development and exploitation of mines and minerals including oil fields, petroleum and petroleum products and the collection of royalties thereon shall be a subject and function of the Central Government.

State land

143. (1) For the purposes of pararaphs (2), (3), (4) and (5) of this Article, State land means all land in Sri Lanka vested in the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka immediately prior to the commencement of the Constitution.

(2) The Centre and the Regions shall succeed to such State land at the commencement of the Constitution in the manner hereinafter provided and shall hold such State land in the name of the Republic.

(3) (a) The Centre shall succeed to State land controlled or used, in relation to subjects and functions enumerated in the Reserved List, by the Central Government, its institutions or any public corporation at the commencement of the Constitution.

(b) A Regional Administration may negotiate with the Central Government for the release of any State land referred to in sub-paragraph (a) of this paragraph to be used for the purposes of any subject or function in the Regional List.

(4) The Centre shall succeed to State land, situated within the Capital Territory, alienated before the commencement of the Constitution and the title to which continues to be with the Republic at the commencement of the Constitution.

(5) Every Region shall succeed to all other State land within the Region and such State land shall, subject to ó

(a) the rights enjoyed , immediately prior to the commencement of the Constitution, by any person in lawful possession or occupation, immediately prior to the commencement of the Constitution, of any such land; and

(b) the provisions of this Chapter, be at the disposal of the Regional Administration of that Region for the purposes set out in the Regional List , and the Regional Administration shall be entitled to exercise rights in or over such land, including land tenure, transfer and alienation of land, land use , land settlement and land improvement, in accordance with applicable written law.

(6) (a) Where the Central Government is satisfied that State land in a Region is required for the purpose of a subject in the Reserve List, the Central Government may, after consultation with the relevant Regional Administration, require the Regional Administration to make available to the Central Government or to such public authority as the Central Government may specify, such land as may reasonably be required for such purpose and the Regional Administration shall comply with such requirement.

(b) Where a Regional Administration does not comply with a requirement made under sub-paragraph (a) of this paragraph , the President shall refer the matter for arbitration to a tribunal consisting of one member appointed by the Prime Minister, one member appointed by the Chief Minister of the relevant Region and a Chairman nominated by the members so appointed and, where there is no agreement on the nomination of a Chairman, the Chairman shall be nominated by the Constitutional Council.

(c) A decision of a tribunal referred to in sub-paragraph (b) of this paragraph shall be binding on the Central Government and the relevant Regional Administration, and a court or tribunal shall not have the power or jurisdiction to inquire into, pronounce upon, or in any manner call in question, such decision.

(7) Alienation of any State land shall be made on behalf of, and in the name of, the Republic and shall be subject to national land use policy as determined by the National Land Use Council.

(8) Priority in land settlement schemes after the commencement of the Constitution shall be accorded first to landless persons of any sub-division, recognized by law, of a District, then to landless persons of the District and then to persons of the Region.

(9) All State land, whether under the control of the Centre or Regions, shall be used with due regard to national land use policy as laid down by the National Land Use Council.

Inter-regional irrigation

144. (1) Inter-regional irrigation projects are schemes where the command area falls within two or more Regions.    

(2) Projects referred to in paragraph (1) of this Article and the relocation of persons displaced as a result of their implementation, shall be a subject and function of the Central Government and such relocation shall be undertaken in consultation with the Chief Ministers of the Regions which benefit from such projects, and the provisions of paragraph (6) of Article 143 shall apply.

(3) The distribution of allotments of land in land development schemes begun prior to the commencement of the Constitution and which have not been completed shall be according to the criteria that applied to such schemes prior to the commencement of the Constitution.

National Land Use Council

145. (1) Parliament shall by law provide for the establishment of a National Land Use Council, the constitution of which shall ensure the equal representation of the Central Government on the one hand and the Regions on the other and the equitable representation of all the major communities.

(2) The Council shall be charged with ó

(a) the formulation of national land use policy, taking into account international standards relating to the appropriate amount of forest cover, exploitation of natural resources, the quality of the environment and other relevant matters ;

(b) the making of recommendations to the Central Government and the Regional Administrations with regard to the protection of watersheds, the appropriate amount of forest cover in each Region, conservation of fauna and flora and the protection of the environment ; and

(c) monitoring and keeping under review, land use and compliance with policy and recommendations formulated or made in accordance with sub-paragraphs (a) and (b) of this paragraph.

(3) Where in the opinion of the Council there is deliberate non-compliance with such policies or recommendations formulated or made by the Council or by a Regional Administration, the Council shall, with prior written notice to the Governor of the relevant Region and after giving the Regional Administration such hearing as the Council may consider fit, recommend to the Central Government that the Central Government shall assume control over the land in question so as to ensure compliance with such policies or recommendations of the Council and the Central Government shall act in accordance with such recommendation.

(4) It shall be the duty of every Regional Administration to comply with such policies and recommendations and to hand over land referred to in paragraph (3) of this Article to the Central Government when required to do so.

(5) Every recommendation made under paragraph (3) of this Article shall be final and conclusive and shall not be questioned in any court or tribunal and a court or tribunal shall not have jurisdiction to inquire into, or pronounce upon, or in any manner call in question, the validity of such recommendation on any ground whatsoever.

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CHAPTER XXI: FINANCE

Taxes not to be imposed save by authority of law or Statute

206. A tax shall not be levied or collected except by or under law or Statute.

Central and Regional Finances

207. (1) (a) Subject to the provisions of this Chapter with respect to the assignment of the whole or part of the net proceeds of certain taxes and duties to the Regions, all funds of the Central Government not allocated for specific purposes shall form one consolidated fund to be called the Consolidated Fund of Sri Lanka into which shall be paid the produce of all taxes, imposts, rates and duties and all other revenues of the Central Government. (b) All revenues received by a Regional Administration and all loans raised by such Administration, and all monies received by such Administration in repayment of loans shall form one consolidated fund to be called the Consolidated Fund of the Region.

(c) All other public monies received by or on behalf of the Central Government or a Regional Administration shall be credited to the Consolidated Fund of Sri Lanka or the Consolidated Fund of the Region, as the case may be.

(d) Money out of the Consolidated Fund of Sri Lanka or the Consolidated Fund of the Region shall not be appropriated except in accordance with law or Statute and for the purposes and in the manner provided in the Constitution.

(2) (a) Notwithstanding any of the provisions of this Chapter, Parliament may by law create a Contingencies Fund for the purpose of providing for urgent and unforeseen expenditure.

(b) The Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers in charge of the subject of Finance, if satisfied -( i) that there is need for any such expenditure ; and (ii) that any provision does not exist for such expenditure, may, pending subsequent approval by Parliament, authorize provision to be made therefor by an advance from the Contingencies Fund.

(c) After each such advance, a supplementary estimate shall, within a period of three months, be presented to Parliament for the purpose of replacing the amounts so advanced.

(d) A Regional Council may by Statute establish a Contingency Fund in the nature of an imprest, to be entitled the Contingency Fund of the Region, into which shall be paid from time to time such sums as may be determined by such Statute, and such Fund shall be placed at the disposal of the Minister of the Board of Ministers of the Region in charge of the subject of Finance to enable advances to be made by such Minister out of such Fund with the consent of the Chief Minister of the Region for the purpose of meeting unforeseen expenditure and after each such advance, a supplementary estimate shall, within a period of one month, be presented to the Regional Council for the purpose of replacing the amounts so advanced.

(3) (a) Excise duties as may be prescribed by Parliament on the recommendation of the Finance Commission shall be levied by the Central Government but shall be collected - (i) in the case where such duties are leviable within the Capital Territory, by the Central Government; and (ii) in other cases, by the Regional Administrations of the Regions within which such duties are respectively leviable.

(b) The proceeds in any financial year of any such duty leviable within any Region shall not form part of the Consolidated Fund of Sri Lanka and shall be assigned to that Region.

(4) (a) Taxes on wholesale and retail sales (other than sales by manufacturers) shall be levied and collected by the Central Government but shall be apportioned to the Regions in the manner provided in sub-paragraph (b) of this paragraph.

(b) The net proceeds in any financial year of any such tax shall not form part of the Consolidated Fund of Sri Lanka but shall be assigned to the Region within which such tax is leviable in that year in accordance with such principles of apportionment as may be prescribed by Parliament on the recommendation of the Finance Commission.

(c) The Finance Commission shall also formulate principles for determining where a sale or purchase or consignment of goods takes place in the course of inter-regional trade or commerce for the purpose of sub-paragraph (b) of this paragraph.

(5) (a) Taxes on sales or income not otherwise provided for shall be levied and collected by the Central Government and shall be distributed in the manner provided in sub-paragraph (b) of this paragraph.

(b) A percentage as may be prescribed by Parliament of the net proceeds in any financial year of any such tax shall be assigned to the Region within which such tax is leviable in that year and shall be disbursed to the respective Regions in such manner, and from such time, as may be prescribed by the Finance Commission.

(6) Such sums as Parliament may by law provide shall be charged to the Consolidated Fund of Sri Lanka in each year as grants in aid of the revenue of such Regions as Parliament may determine to be in need of assistance, and different sums may be fixed for different Regions.

Withdrawals of sums from Consolidated Fund

208. (1) Save as otherwise expressly provided in paragraphs (3) and (4) of this Article, money shall not be withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund of Sri Lanka except under the authority of a warrant under the hand of the Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers in charge of the subject of Finance.

(2) Any warrant under paragraph (l) of this Article shall not be issued unless money has by resolution of Parliament or by any law been granted for specified public services for the financial year during which the withdrawal is to take place or is otherwise lawfully charged on the Consolidated Fund of Sri Lanka.

(3) Where the President dissolves Parliament before the Appropria-tion Bill for the financial year has passed into law, the President may, unless Parliament shall have already made provision, authorize the issue from the Consolidated Fund of Sri Lanka and the expenditure of such monies as the President may consider necessary for public services until the expiration of a period of three months from the date on which the new Parliament is summoned to meet.

(4) Where the President dissolves Parliament and fixes a date or dates for a General Election, the President may, unless Parliament has already made provision in that behalf, authorize the issue from the Consolidated Fund of Sri Lanka and the expenditure, of such monies as the President may, after consultation with the Election Commission, consider necessary for such elections.

(5) Money shall not be withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund of a Region except under a warrant under the hand of the Chief Minister of the Region.

(6) A warrant under paragraph (5) of this Article shall not be issued unless the money has by Statute of the Regional Council established for the Region, been granted for services for the financial year during which the withdrawal is to take place or is otherwise lawfully charged on the Consolidated Fund of the Region.

Special Provisions as to Bills affecting Public Revenue of Sri Lanka

209. A Bill or motion, authorizing the disposal of any monies of, or the imposition of charges upon, the Consolidated Fund of Sri Lanka or other funds of the Central Government, or the imposition of any tax or the repeal, augmentation or reduction of any tax for the time being in force shall not be introduced in Parliament except by a Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers, and unless such Bill or motion has been approved either by the Cabinet of Ministers or in such manner as the Cabinet of Ministers may authorize.

Regional borrowing and investment in the Region

210. (1) (a) The executive power of the Region extends to domestic and international borrowing upon the security of the Consolidated Fund of the Region.

(b) International borrowings by a Regional Administration shall be subject to such criteria and limitations as may be specified by Parliament and shall require the concurrence of the Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers in charge of the subject of Finance.

(2) (a) The limits as regards domestic borrowing and the limitations and criteria as regards international borrowing by each Regional Administration for each financial year shall, subject to the provisions of sub-paragraph (b) of this paragraph, be laid down by the Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers in charge of the subject of Finance before the thirtieth day of September of the preceding financial year.

(b) In laying down these limits and criteria, the Minister shall take into consideration the requirements of fiscal policy and the demands of monetary stability as well as the re-payment capacity of each Regional Administration.

(3) Any agreements negotiated and entered into by Regional Administrations regarding international grants and foreign  development assistance shall be in accordance with the national policies on international aid as laid down, from time to time, by the Cabinet of Ministers and approved by Parliament.

Finance Commission

211. (1) (a) There shall be a Finance Commission consisting of five members who have distinguished themselves or held high office, in the fields of finance, law, administration, business or learning, and who shall be appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Constitutional Council.

(b) In making a recommendation under sub-paragraph (a) of this paragraph, the Constitutional Council shall ensure that the three major communities are represented on the Commission.

(c) The President shall appoint one of the members as the Chairperson of the Finance Commission .

(2) Every member of the Commission, unless the member earlier resigns or is removed, from office, shall hold office for a period of five years.

(3) The Central Government shall, on the recommendation of and in consultation with the Commission, allocate from the annual budget such funds as are adequate for the purpose of meeting the needs of the Regions.

(4) Subject to paragraph (5) of this Article, it shall be the duty of the Commission to make recommendations to the President as to ó

(a) the principles on which such funds as are granted annually by the Central Government for the use of Regions, shall be apportioned between the various Regions;

(b) the principles on which the sharing and assignment or the assignment of revenue between the Central Government and the Regions should take place with a view to ensuring the assured measure of finances necessary for effective devolution ; and

(c) any other matter referred to the Commission by the President relating to regional finance.

(5) In making the recommendations under sub-paragraphs (a) and (b) of paragraph (4) of this Article, the Commission shall formulate such principles with the objective of achieving balanced regional development in the country, and shall accordingly take into accountó

(a) the population of each Region ;

(b) the per capita income of each Region;

(c) the need, progressively, to reduce social and economic disparities;

(d) the need, progressively, to reduce the difference between the per capita income of each Region and the highest per capita income among the Regions ;

(e) the need to have effective utilization of the monies made available to the respective Regions;

(f) any exceptional expenditure incurred by a Regional Administration to meet exigencies such as natural disasters;

(g) the returns submitted to the Commission by every Regional Administration including information relating to expenditure ; and

(h) the reports of the Auditor-General consequent to the audits of Regional Administrations and authorities thereof.

(6) The Commission shall determine its own procedure and shall have such powers in the performance of its duties as Parliament may, by law, confer on it.

(7) The President shall cause every recommendation made by the Finance Commission under this Article to be laid before Parliament, and shall notify Parliament as to the action taken thereon.

(8) Any court, tribunal or other institution shall not inquire into, or pronounce on, or in any manner entertain, determine or rule upon, any question relating to the adequacy of such funds, or any recommendation made, or principle formulated by the Commission.

Exemption of  income and property of the Central Government and of Regional Administrations from taxation

212. (1) The property and income of the Central Government shall, save in so far as Parliament may by law otherwise provide, be exempt from all taxes imposed by a Regional Adminis-tration.

(2) The property and income of a Regional Administration shall be exempt from taxation by the Central Government, save and except customs duties.

Auditor-General

213. (1) There shall be an Auditor-General who shall be appointed by the President and who shall hold office during good behaviour.

(2) The salary of the Auditor-General shall be determined by Parliament, shall be charged on the Consolidated Fund of Sri Lanka and shall not be reduced during the term of office of the Auditor-General.

(3) The office of the Auditor-General shall become vacant-

(a) upon death;

(b) on resignation in writing addressed to the President;

(c) on attaining the age of sixty years ;

(d) on removal by the President on account of ill health or physical or mental infirmity; or

(e) on removal by the President upon an address of Parliament.

(4) Whenever the Auditor-General is unable to discharge the functions of the office, the President may appoint a person to act in the place of the Auditor-General.

Duties and functions of the Auditor-General

214. (1) The Auditor-General shall audit the accounts of all depart-ments of the Central Government and of the Regional Ad-ministrations, the offices of the Cabinet of Ministers, the Judicial Service Commission, the National Public Service Commission, the Finance Commission, the National Po-lice Commission, Regional Public Service Commissions, Regional Police Commissions, the Parliamentary Commis-sioner for Administration, the Secretary-General of Parlia-ment, the Election Commission, the Commission for the Investigation of Bribery or Corruption, local authorities, public corporations and business or other undertakings vested in the Central Government under any written law.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (1) of this Article, the Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers in charge of any such public corporation or business or other undertaking may, with the concurrence of the Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers in charge of the subject of Finance, and in consultation with the Auditor-General, appoint a qualified auditor or auditors to audit the accounts of such public corporation or business or other undertaking, and where such appointment has been made by the Minister, the Auditor-General may, in writing, inform such auditor or auditors that the Auditor-General proposes to utilize the services of such auditor or auditors for the performance and discharge of the Auditor-Generalís duties and functions in relation to such public corporation, business or undertaking and thereupon such auditor or auditors shall act under the direction and control of the Auditor-General.

(3) The Auditor-General shall also perform and discharge such duties and functions as may be prescribed by Parliament by law.

(4) (a) The Auditor-General may for the purpose of the performance and discharge of the Auditor- Generalís duties and functions engage the services of a qualified auditor or auditors who shall act under the direction and control of the Auditor-General.

(b) If the Auditor General is of opinion that it is necessary to obtain assistance in the examination of any technical, professional or scientific problem relevant to the audit, the Auditor-General may engage the services of-

(i) a person not being an employee of the department, body or authority the accounts of which are being audited ; or

(ii) any technical or professional or scientific institution not being an institution which has any interest in the management of the affairs of such department, body or authority, and such person or institution shall act under the direction and control of the Auditor-General.

(5) (a) The Auditor-General or any person authorized or engaged by the Auditor-General shall, in the performance and discharge of the duties and functions of the Auditor-General, be entitled-

(i) to have access to all books, records, returns and other documents;

(ii) to have access to stores and other property ; and

(iii) to be furnished with such information and explanations as may be necessary for the performance of such duties and functions.

(b) Every qualified auditor appointed to audit the accounts of any public corporation, or business or other undertaking, or any other person authorized by such auditor shall be entitled to like access, information and explanations in relation to such public corporation, or business or other undertaking.

(6) (a) The Auditor-General shall within ten months after the close of each financial year and as and when the Auditor-General deems it necessary, submit reports on the performance and discharge of the duties and functions of the Auditor-General under the Constitution, to Parliament, in so far as those duties and functions relate to departments of the Central Government, public corporations, local authorities and business and other undertakings vested in the Government under any written law, and to the Regional Council established for a Region in so far those duties and functions relate to the Regional Administration of that Region.

(b) The reports of the Auditor-General relating to the Regional Administration which are required to be submitted to a Regional Council under sub-paragraph (a) of this paragraph shall be laid before the relevant Regional Council.

(7) Every qualified auditor appointed under the provisions of paragraph (2) of this Article shall submit the auditorís report to the Minister and also submit a copy thereof to the Auditor-General.

(8) In this Article, "qualified auditor" meansó

(a) an individual who, being a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka, or of any other Institute established by law, possesses a certificate to practise as an Accountant issued by the Council of such Institute ; or

(b) a firm of Accountants each of the resident partners of which, being a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka or of any other Institute established by law, possesses a certificate to practise as an Accountant issued by the Council of such Institute.

 
 

 

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