Legal challenge to Equal Opportunities bill
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 13 October 1999, 20:23 GMT]
About twenty Buddhist organizations have jointly challenged the constitutional validity of the Equal Opportunity Bill in the Supreme Court, said legal sources.
The Buddhist petition seeks a declaration that the Bill should be passed with a two third majority in Parliament and only after being endorsed at a referendum.
The Petition stated that the Bill is not consistent with the provisions of the Constitution of Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan constitution gives Buddhism a foremost place, and makes the fostering of the religion a central responsibility of a Sri Lankan government.
The petition further states that the Bill would create problems and issues hitherto non-existent in the country. It gives wider powers to the Tribunals set up under the Bill.
The All Ceylon Buddhist Congress ,Sinhala Araksha Sanvithana, the Old Boys Associations of Ananda College, Nalanda College and Vishaka College are among the twenty petitioners.
The petition is to be heard by Supreme Court Bench comprising Justice R.Amarasinghe, Justice Ameer Ismail and Justice Luxman Weerasekera on October 18,1999.
The proposed Equal Opportunity Bill was scheduled to be presented in the parliament last week. However, the bill was not presented as there were wide spread protests from Sinhala-Buddhists.
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