Sri Lanka 1978 Constitution (reviewed 2015)

Table of Contents


The PEOPLE OF SRI LANKA having, by their Mandate freely expressed and granted on the Sixth day of the waxing moon in the month of Adhi Nikini in the year Two Thousand Five Hundred and Twenty one of the Buddhist Era (being Thursday the Twenty first day of the month of July in the year One Thousand Nine Hundred and Seventy seven), entrusted to and empowered their Representatives elected on that day to draft, adopt and operate a new Republican Constitution in order to achieve the goals of a DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST REPUBLIC, and having solemnly resolved by the grant of such Mandate and the confidence reposed in their said Representatives who were elected by an overwhelming majority, to constitute SRI LANKA into a DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST REPUBLIC whilst ratifying the immutable republican principles of REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY and assuring to all peoples FREEDOM, EQUALITY, JUSTICE, FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS and the INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY as the intangible heritage that guarantees the dignity and well-being of succeeding generations of the People of SRI LANKA and of all the people of the World, who come to share with those generations the effort of working for the creation and preservation of a JUSTAND FREE SOCIETY:

WE, THE FREELY ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES OF THE PEOPLE OF SRI LANKA, in pursuance of such Mandate, humbly acknowledging our obligations to our People and gratefully remembering their heroic and unremitting struggle to regain and preserve their rights and privileges so that the Dignity and Freedom of the Individual may be assured, Just, Social, Economic and Cultural Order attained, the Unity of the Country restored, and Concord established with other Nations,

do hereby adopt and enact



as the


of the



1. The State

Sri Lanka (Ceylon) is a Free, Sovereign, Independent and Democratic Socialist Republic and shall be known as the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

2. Unitary State

The Republic of Sri Lanka is a Unitary State.

3. Sovereignty of the People

In the Republic of Sri Lanka sovereignty is in the People and is inalienable. Sovereignty includes the powers of government, fundamental rights and the franchise.

4. Exercise of Sovereignty

The Sovereignty of the People shall be exercised and enjoyed in the following manner:–

  1. the legislative power of the People shall be exercised by Parliament, consisting of elected representatives of the People and by the People at a Referendum;
  2. the executive power of the People, including the defence of Sri Lanka, shall be exercised by the President of the Republic elected by the People;
  3. the judicial power of the People shall be exercised by Parliament through courts, tribunals and institutions created and established, or recognized, by the Constitution, or created and established by law, except in regard to matters relating to the privileges, immunities and powers of Parliament and of its Members, wherein the judicial power of the People may be exercised directly by Parliament according to law;
  4. the fundamental rights which are by the Constitution declared and recognized shall be respected, secured and advanced by all the organs of government and shall not be abridged, restricted or denied, save in the manner and to the extent hereinafter provided; and
  5. the franchise shall be exercisable at the election of the President of the Republic and of the Members of Parliament and at every Referendum by every citizen who has attained the age of eighteen years and who, being qualified to be an elector as hereinafter provided, has his name entered in the register of electors.

5. Territory of the Republic

The territory of the Republic of Sri Lanka shall consist of the twenty-five administrative districts, the names of which are set out in the First Schedule and its territorial waters:

Provided that such administrative districts may be subdivided or amalgamated so as to constitute different administrative districts, as Parliament may by resolution determine.

6. The National Flag

The National Flag of the Republic of Sri Lanka shall be the Lion Flag depicted in the Second Schedule.

7. The National Anthem

The National Anthem of the Republic of Sri Lanka shall be “Sri Lanka Matha”, the words and music of which are set out in the Third Schedule.

8. The National Day

The National Day of the Republic of Sri Lanka shall be the fourth day of February.