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Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court Deems “Gender Equality” Bill Inconsistent with Constitution

The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka has ruled that the enactment of the Bill titled “Gender Equality” is inconsistent with Article 12 of the Constitution.

The Court has determined that the Bill in its entirety cannot become law unless it adheres to the appropriate procedures outlined in Articles 83 and/or Article 84, in conjunction with Article 80 of the Constitution. These procedures require that the number of votes in favor must amount to not less than two-thirds of the total number of Members of Parliament, including those absent, and be approved by the People through a Referendum.

Speaker of Parliament, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, conveyed the determination to the house on Friday (7), stating, “I wish to inform Parliament that I have received the Determination of the Supreme Court in respect of the Bill titled ‘Gender Equality,’ which was challenged in the Supreme Court in terms of Article 121(1) of the Constitution.”

The Supreme Court’s determination highlighted several inconsistencies:

  • The promulgation of the Bill is inconsistent with Article 12 of the Constitution.
  • Objects of the Bill, particularly in Clauses 2, 3, and 4, are inconsistent with various articles of the Constitution, including Article 9, 10, 12, 14(1)(e), and 27(1)(g).
  • Certain clauses, such as 4, 7, 17, 18, 25, 26, and 27, are found to be inconsistent with several articles of the Constitution.
  • Power vested in the Council established under Clauses 5 and 6, read with clause 7, are also deemed inconsistent with multiple articles of the Constitution.
  • Clauses 17 and 18, along with provisions in Clauses 8 to 16 and 19 to 24, are inconsistent with various articles of the Constitution.
  • The objects of the Bill are inconsistent with Articles 3, 4(d), 9, and 10 of the Constitution, making the Bill as a whole inconsistent with said articles.

In conclusion, the Supreme Court emphasized that the Bill cannot be enacted into law unless it follows the prescribed procedure and is approved by the necessary majority and through a Referendum, as per the Constitution.

The Speaker ordered that the Determination of the Supreme Court be included in the Official Report of the day’s proceedings of the House.

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