New Constitution will protect all Sri Lankans - PM | Daily News
Towards One Country, One Law

New Constitution will protect all Sri Lankans - PM

Priority for Sovereignty, National Security, Human Rights
Independence of Judiciary upheld
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Justice Minister Ali Sabry PC, Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya and Prison Management State Minister Lohan Ratwatte laying the foundation stones for the Adhikarana Piyasa (House of Justice) at Hulftsdorp yesterday. Picture by Ruwan de Silva

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Justice Minister Ali Sabry PC, Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya and Prison Management State Minister Lohan Ratwatte laying the foundation stones for the Adhikarana Piyasa (House of Justice) at Hulftsdorp yesterday. Picture by Ruwan de Silva

The proposed new Constitution will protect the People’s Sovereignty, National Security, Human Rights, Rule of Law and Economic Development, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa stated yesterday.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa made these remarks while participating as the chief guest at a ceremony to lay the foundation stone for the ‘House of Justice’ building complex at Adhikarana Mawatha in Hulftsdorp.

The Prime Minister reiterated that the Government has always been committed to protect the independence of the Judiciary. “Every time we came to power, we worked to protect the independence of the Judiciary. We have no intention of bending the law through personal interference. We are at the forefront of building the national needs for a One Country, One Law policy,” the Prime Minister said.

He stressed that the Government was committed to fulfill people’s aspirations. “People are oppressed by outdated rules and regulations. It is our responsibility to free the people from these unnecessary pressures. This House of Justice should be the House of the People, who are seeking the help of Law and Justice,” the Prime Minister added. He said that in parallel to this House of Justice, Justice Minister Ali Sabry, PC is taking steps to establish 100 new courts throughout the country.

The Prime Minister said he was happy to be able to participate in this historic event which was initially planned in 2014.

“The Judiciary that administers justice is a basic requirement of a country. We presented a set of proposals which could fulfill people’s aspirations. We received a public mandate for them. No matter what ideology we hold politically, the sovereignty of the country rests with the people. Therefore, the policies and reforms that we place before the country are judged by the people,” said the Premier.

The Prime Minister further said that the Government took measures to increase the number of judges in the superior courts by 60 per cent after 40 years.

“After 40 years, the number of judges in the superior courts was increased by 60 per cent. We believe the number of judges should be further increased. We always believe that the law should be equal for all. Similarly, the citizens must also be law abiding,” the Prime Minister added.

Speaking on the occasion, Justice Minister Ali Sabry, PC, said the Government has identified the basic reforms required for development of the judiciary. He said Sri Lanka is currently at a disadvantaged position in terms of a good legal environment for investment. Arrangements have been made to introduce legal reforms to replace outdated laws.

The Justice Minister said the Government in 2021 allocated an unprecedented sum of Rs. 20,000 million to the justice sector for infrastructure development and digitalization among other key improvements.

Minister Sabry said that statistically, Sri Lanka has only 15 judges per one million people and the low number of judges had resulted in the judges in the country being burdened with caseloads which would not be practically possible to adjudicate efficiently.

The Government has allocated Rs. 16,500 million for this project marking the highest budgetary allocation for the development of judicial infrastructure in the history.

This project is expected to be completed on January 25, 2024 under three phases. An area of six acres was allocated for the construction of the complex. The project will consist of four complexes housing a range of courthouses, offices, Chambers and support structures. The Magistrate’s Court Complex with 12 Magistrate’s Courts, a Legal Aid Commission Office, Registrar’s Office and Registry, Ministry of Justice and Judges Training Institute Complex, the Minister’s and Deputy Minister’s Office, Ministry of Justice offices, Arbitration Centre, Judges Training Institute, a High Court and District Courts Complex with eight High Courts, four Commercial High Courts, one High Court of Civil Appeal, 10 District Courts, six Labour Tribunals, two Quazi Courts, Pre-Trial Court and a Claim court and a quarters’ complex comprising of 40 judges official quarters and 110 officers quarters will be part of the complex.

Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya PC, Ministers Bandula Gunawardena and Gamini Lokuge, State Minister Lohan Ratwatte, MPs Madura Vithana and Sagara Kariyawasam, Attorney General Dappula de Livera PC, Western Province Governor Marshal of the Sri Lanka Air Force Roshan Gunatilleke and Justice Ministry Secretary M.K. Mayadunne were present.