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SC ‘Gender Equality’ determination: BASL opposes PSC on same as ‘dangerous’ precedent

SC ‘Gender Equality’ determination: BASL opposes PSC on same as ‘dangerous’ precedent

21 Jun 2024

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), while addressing recent remarks made by President Ranil Wickremesinghe in the Parliament regarding the Supreme Court’s (SC) ruling on the ‘Gender Equality Bill’, emphasised that the SC has executed its constitutional duty by evaluating the Bill’s alignment with supreme law of the land – the Constitution, and that while individuals have the right to agree or disagree, neither the Legislature nor the Executive should criticise the Court for performing its duty to the people.

The BASL’s response comes after President Wickremesinghe’s remarks in the Parliament on Tuesday (18), where he referred to the SC’s actions as ‘judicial cannibalism’ and suggested the formation of a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to review the Court’s determination.

In a statement issued on Wednesday (19), the BASL expressed concern over the relevant statement, viewing it as an attempt to undermine judicial independence and force through a Bill which has been decided to be unconstitutional by the SC. “The Judiciary should be allowed to function independently and free from any kind of external pressure,” the BASL asserted. 

The BASL further condemned the President’s comments as “a threat to the SC and to the entire judicial system in discharging the judicial function of the Republic conferred by the Constitution.” The BASL warned that establishing a PSC to review the SC’s ruling on the constitutionality of a Bill would set a dangerous precedent. “It is the duty of both the Executive and the Legislature to respect the Judiciary’s functions. Any interference could lead to severe adverse consequences and pose a significant threat to the rule of law in the country,” the BASL cautioned.

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