Buddhism bill unconstitutional- Supreme Court
[TamilNet, Thursday, 06 January 2005, 01:16 GMT]
The Supreme Court said in its determination that the Bill tabled by Jathika
(JHU) seeking to amend the Constitution prohibiting conversion of Buddhists
and binding practising Buddhists to bring up their off spring in the same
religion should be passed in parliament with two-third majority and also
endorsed by the people in the country in a referendum, as some clauses in
the Bill are inconsistent with the Constitution, legal sources said.
Speaker Mr.W.M.J.Lokkubandara tabled the determination sent by the Supreme
Court when parliament commenced its sitting Tuesday, parliamentary sources
A three-member bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justices
T.B.Weerasuriya, Shiranee Tilakawardene and Raja Fernando, legal sources
said, heard the objections against the proposed 19th Amendment to the
Constitution brought by the JHU.
The Bill was tabled by Venerable Ellawalla Medhananda Thera of the JHU in
the parliament. The Speaker thereafter referred the Bill for the Supreme
Court to determine its constitutionality, legal sources said.
In the Supreme Court the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), the
Methodist Church and the All Ceylon Hindu Congress challenged the
constitutionality of the Bill.
The clauses of the Bill were such that if enacted into law, it would
effectively result in religious persecution not only of minorities, but
also in certain respects, adherents of Buddhism with Constitutional
sanction, which was an objective inconsistent with the very spirit of the
Constitution, a secular state, norms of pluralist democracy and
international obligations of Sri Lanka, stated the CPA in its objection,
legal sources said.