Sri Lanka
 National Profiles > Regions > South-Central Asia > Sri Lanka
Search National Profiles:

  Preferred Religion (2015)1: Theravada Buddhist

  Majority Religion (2015)2: Theravada Buddhist (66.9%)

Features Of Constitution

Is there a constitution?3 yes
Does the constitution state an official religion?3 yes [Article 9]
Does the constitution provide for freedom of religion?3 yes [Articles 10, 14(1)(e)]
Does the constitution protect religious equality/non-discrimination?3 yes [Article 12(2)]

Constitution

Constitution Year3 1978
Last Amended3 2015
Source3 Constitute Project
Translation3 Source is an English translation, edited by ARDA staff
Current as of3 October 31, 2018

Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion)3

Preamble

... in the year Two Thousand Five Hundred and Twenty-one of the Buddhist Era ...

Article 9. [Sole article of Chapter II: 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 Articles 10 and 14(1)(e) [on religious freedom].

Article 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.

Article 12. Right to equality.

...

(2) No citizen shall be discriminated against on the grounds of ... religion, ... caste ... [technical exceptions follow for language qualifications for employment]

(3) No person shall, on the grounds of ... religion, ... caste ..., 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.

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

(1) Every citizen is entitled to---

...

(e) the freedom, either by himself or in association with others, and either in public or in private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching;

...

Article 15. Restrictions on fundamental rights.

...

(2) The exercise and operation of the fundamental right declared and recognized by Article 14(1)(a) [on freedom of expression] shall be subject to such restrictions as may be prescribed by law in the interests of ... religious harmony ...

(3) The exercise and operation of the fundamental right declared and recognized by Article 14(1)(b) [freedom of assembly] shall be subject to such restrictions as may be prescribed by law in the interests of ... religious harmony.

(4) The exercise and operation of the fundamental right declared and recognized by Article 14(1)(c) [freedom of association] shall be subject to such restrictions as may be prescribed by law in the interests of ... religious harmony ...

...

Article 27. Directive Principles of State Policy.

...

(5) The State shall strengthen national unity by promoting co-operation and mutual confidence among all sections of the People of Sri Lanka, including the ... religious ... 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 ... religion, ... caste, ... [among others]

...

(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 ...

Article 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 [pertaining to the judiciary], 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;

(b) for the exclusion of the jurisdiction of any other institution referred to in paragraph (1) of this Article [establishing the national judiciary system] in relation to such matters and disputes.

In this paragraph the expressions "bhikku" and "temple" shall have the same meanings as in the Buddhist Temporalities Ordinance, as at the commencement of the Constitution.

Ninth Schedule [allocating powers between national and provincial governments]

LIST I: Provincial Council List.

...

(28) Regulation of unincorporated ... religious ... societies and associations.

...

LIST III: Concurrent List.

...

(7) Social Services and Rehabilitation.

...

(7.3) Restoration, reconstruction and rehabilitation of ... places of worship ... destroyed or damaged ...

...

(27) ... religious endowments and religious institutions.

...


Sources

1.  The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project: Government Religious Preference (GRP) measures government-level favoritism toward, and disfavor against, 30 religious denominations. A series of ordered categorical variables index the state's institutional favoritism in 28 different ways. The variables are combined to form five composite indices for five broad components of state-religion: official status, religious education, financial support, regulatory burdens, and freedom of practice. The five components' composites in turn are further combined into a single composite score, the GRP score. The RCS Data Project would like to acknowledge, recognize, and express our deepest gratitude for the significant contributions of Todd M. Johnson, the principal investigator of the World Christian Database, the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database, and co-author of the World Christian Encyclopedia series.

2.  The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project: Demographics reports annual estimates of religious demographics, both country by country and region by region. It estimates populations and percentages of adherents of 100 religious denominations including second level subdivisions within Christianity and Islam. The RCS Data Project would like to acknowledge, recognize, and express our deepest gratitude for the significant contributions of Todd M. Johnson, the principal investigator of the World Christian Database, the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database, and co-author of the World Christian Encyclopedia series.

3.  Text from country constitutions was copied from primary documents obtained online using a variety of sources, including the Constitute Project, World Constitutions Illustrated, and government sources. When the text was in a language other than English, it was translated to English by ARDA staff or with web-based translation utilities such as Google Translate. Emphases were added to the text by ARDA staff to differentiate religious content from non-religious content. Text is current to the date listed in the "Current as of" field shown above. Please contact us at support@thearda.com if you are aware of any incorrect information provided on this page.

Bookmark and Share