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Features of Constitution1

Is there a constitution? Yes
Does the constitution provide for freedom of religion? Yes

Constitution2

Constitution Year 1978
Last Amended 2010
Source LawNet: Ministry of Justice (Sri Lanka)
Translation Original was written in English
Current as of May 11, 2011

Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion)2

9. Buddhism.

The Republic of Sri Lanka shall give to Buddhism the foremost place and accordingly it shall be the duty of the State to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana, while assuring to all religions the rights granted by Article 10 and 14(1)(e).


10. Freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

Every person is entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including the freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice.


12. Right to equality.

(1) All persons are equal before the law and are entitled to the equal protection of the law.
(2) No citizen shall be discriminated against on the grounds of race, religion, language, caste, sex, political opinion, place of birth or any one of such grounds :
(3) No person shall, on the grounds of race, religion, language, caste, sex, or any one of such grounds, be subject to any disability, liability, restriction or condition with regard to access to shops, public restaurants, hotels, places of public entertainment and places of public worship of his own religion.
(4) Nothing in this article shall prevent special provision being made, by law, subordinate legislation or executive action, for the advancement of women, children or disabled persons.


14. Freedom of speech, assembly, association, occupation, movement, etc.

(1) Every citizen is entitled to-
(a) the freedom of speech and expression including publication;
(b) the freedom of peaceful assembly;
(c) the freedom of association;
(d) the freedom to form and join a trade union;
(e) the freedom, either by himself or in association with others, and either in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching;
(f) the freedom by himself or in association with others to enjoy and promote his own culture and to use his own language;
(g) the freedom to engage by himself or in association with others in any lawful occupation, profession, trade, business or enterprise;
(h) the freedom of movement � and of choosing his residence within Sri Lanka; and
(i) the freedom to return to Sri Lanka.
(2) A person who, not being a citizen of any other country, has been permanently and legally resident in Sri Lanka immediately prior to the commencement of the Constitution and continues to be so resident shall be entitled, for a person of ten years from the commencement of the Constitution, to the rights declared and recognized by paragraph (1) of this Article.


15. Restrictions on fundamental rights.

�(2) The exercise and operation of the fundamental right declared and recognized by Article 14(1)(a) shall be subject to such restrictions as may be prescribed by law in the interests of racial and religious harmony or in relation to parliamentary privilege, contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offense.
(3) The exercise and operation of the fundamental right declared and recognized by Article 14(1)(b) shall be subject to such restrictions as may be prescribed by law in the interests of racial and religious harmony.
(4) The exercise and operation of the fundamental right declared and recognized by Article 14(1)(c) shall be subject to such restrictions as may be prescribed by law in the interests of racial and religious harmony or national economy.
�(7) The exercise and operation of all the fundamental rights declared and recognized by Articles 12, 13 (1), 13 (2) and 14 shall be subject to such restrictions as may be prescribed by law in the interests of national security, public order and the protection of public health or morality, or for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others, or of meeting the just requirements of the general welfare of a democratic society. For the purposes of this paragraph "law" includes regulations made under the law for the time being relating to public security. [ARDA Note: An error in the original text placed the descriptions of Articles 16 and 17 in the middle of this clause. This text has been removed here.]
(8) The exercise and operation of the fundamental rights declared and recognized by Articles 12 (1), 13 and 14 shall, in their application to the members of the Armed Forces, Police Force and other Forces charged with the maintenance of public order, be subject to such restrictions as may be prescribed by law in the interests of the proper discharge of their duties and the maintenance of discipline among them.


Article 27: Directive principles of state policy.

�(5) The State shall strengthen national unity by promoting co-operation and mutual confidence among all section of the People of Sri Lanka, including the racial, religious, linguistic and other groups, and shall take effective steps in the fields of teaching, education and information in order to eliminate discrimination and prejudice.
(6) The State shall ensure equality of opportunity to citizens, so that no citizen shall suffer any disability on the ground of race, religion, language, caste, sex, political opinion or occupation.
�(11) The State shall create the necessary economic and social environment to enable people of all religious faiths to make a reality of their religious principles. �(13) The State shall promote with special care the interests of children and youth, so as to ensure their full development, physical, mental, moral, religious and social, and to protect them from exploitation and discrimination.


105. Establishment of courts, etc.

�(4) Parliament may by law provide for the creation and establishment of courts, tribunals or institutions for the adjudication and settlement of matters relating to the discipline of bhikkus or any dispute between bhikkus or any other dispute relating to the performance of services in, or in relation to, temples. Such law may, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Chapter or Chapter XVI, make provision-
(a) for the appointment, transfer, dismissal and disciplinary control of the member or members of such courts, tribunals or institutions, by the President or by such other person or body of persons as may be provided for in such law; and
(b) for the exclusion of the jurisdiction of any other institution referred to in paragraph (1) of this Article in relation to such matters and disputes.

Sources

1.  Data under the "Features of Constitution" heading are drawn from coding of the U.S. State Department's 2008 International Religious Freedom Reports conducted by researchers at the Association of Religion Data Archives. The article by Brian Grim and Roger Finke describes the coding of the International Religious Freedom reports. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.

2.  The constitutional excerpts shown above are reproduced from the websites given in the "Source" field; the links to these websites were active as of May 2011. Where the constitutional text shown on these websites was provided in a language other than English, this text was translated to English by ARDA staff with assistance from web-based translation utilities such as Google Translate and Yahoo! Babel Fish. Constitutional text was converted to American English where applicable. Constitutional clauses were judged to contain religious content based largely on the standards used in the construction of the Religion and State Constitutions Dataset collected by Jonathan Fox. Emphases were added to the text by ARDA staff to highlight religious content in articles that also contain content that does not pertain to matters of religion. The data on this page were correct to the best of the knowledge of the ARDA as of the date listed in the "Current as of" field shown above. Please contact us at arda@pop.psu.edu if you are aware of any incorrect information provided on this page.