HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF SRI LANKA ACT

Arrangement of Sections

1. Short title.

PART I

ESTABLISHMENT OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF SRI LANKA

2. Establishment of Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka.

3. Constitution of the Commission and term of office.

4. Grounds for removal of members.

5. Eligibility for reappointment.

6. Resignation.

7. Act or proceeding of the Commission deemed not to be invalid by reason of any vacancy.

8. Remuneration of members vacancy.

9. Meetings of the Commission.

10. Functions of the Commission.

11. Powers of the Commission.

PART II

POWERS OF INVESTIGATION OF THE COMMISSION

12. Reference by Supreme.

13. Computation of time for purpose of Article 126 of the constitution.

14. Commission may investigate on own motion or on complaint.

15. Procedure where infringement is not disclosed or is disclosed.

16. Procedure for conciliation or mediation.

17. Reference to the Supreme Court.

18. Powers relating to inquires.

19. Evidence before the Commission.

20. Services of summons.

21. Punishment for contempt.

PART III

STAFF OF THE COMMISSION

22. Appointment of the staff of the Commission.

23. Members of the Commission deemed to be public servants.

24. Delegation of powers.

25. Appointment of public officers to the staff of the Commission.

26. Protection of action.

27. Commission deemed to be a scheduled institution within the meaning of the Bribery Act.

PART IV

GENERAL

28. Duty to inform Commission of arrest and power of Commission to inspect to obtain information.

29. Funds of the Commission.

30. Commission to report.

31. Regulations.

32. Sinhala text to prevail in case of inconsistency.

33. Interpretation.

21 of 1996.

AN ACT to provide for the establishment of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka; to set out the powers and functions of such commission; and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

[Date of Commencement: 21st August, 1996]

1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka Act.

PART I

Establishment of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka

2. Establishment of Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka.

(1) There shall be established a Commission which shall be called and known as the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (hereinafter in this Act referred to as "the Commission”).

(2) The Commission shall be a body corporate having perpetual succession and a common seal and may sue and be sued in its corporate name.

(3) The seal of the Commission shall be in the custody of the Secretary to the Commission and may be altered in such manner as may be determined by the Commission.

3. Constitution of the Commission and term of office.

(1) The Commission shall consist of five members, chosen from among persons having knowledge of, or practical experience in, matters relating to human rights.

(2) The members of the Commission shall be appointed by the President, on the recommendation of the Constitutional Council:

Provided however, that during the period commencing on the appointed date and ending on the date when the Constitutional Council is established, members of the Commission shall be appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Prime Minister in consultation with the Speaker and the Leader of the Opposition.

(3) In making recommendations, under subsection (2), the Constitutional Council and the Prime Minister shall have regard to the necessity of the minorities being represented of the Commission.

(4) One of the members so appointed shall be nominated by the President to be the Chairman of the Commission.

(5) Every member of the Commission shall hold office for a period of three years.

(6) The office of a member shall become vacant—

(a) upon the death at such member;

(b) upon such member resigning such office by writing addressed to the President;

(c) upon such member being removed from office on any ground specified in section 4; or

(d) on the expiration of his term of office.

4. Grounds for removal of members.

(1) A member of the Commission may be removed from office—

(a) by the President, if he—

(i) is adjudged an insolvent by a court of competent jurisdiction;

(ii) engages in any paid employment outside the duties of his office, which in the opinion of the President, formed on the recommendation of the Prime Minister in consultation with the Speaker and the Leader of the Opposition, conflicts with his duties as a member of the Commission;

(iii) is unfit to continue in office by reason of infirmity of mind or body;

(iv) is declared to be of unsound mind by a court of competent jurisdiction;

(v) is convicted of an offence involving moral turpitude; or

(vi) absents himself from three consecutive meetings without obtaining leave of the Commission; or

(b) by an order of the President made after an address of Parliament, supported by a majority of the total number of members of Parliament (including those not present) has been presented to the President for such removal on the ground of proved misbehavior or incapacity:

Provided however that no resolution for the presentation of such an address shall be entertained by the Speaker or placed on the Order Paper of Parliament, unless notice of such resolution is signed by not less than one-third of the total number of members of Parliament and sets out full particulars of the alleged misbehaviour or incapacity.

(2) The procedure for the presentation and passing on an address of Parliament for the removal of in Judge of the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeal, shall apply in all respects to the presentation and passing of an address of Parliament for the removal of a member of the Commission.

5. Eligibility for reappointment.

Any member who vacates his office, otherwise than by, removal under section 4, shall be eligible for re-appointment.

6. Resignation.

(1) The Chairman may resign from the office of chairman by letter addressed to the President.

(2) Subject to the provisions of subsection (1), the term of office of the Chairman shall be his period of membership of the Commission.

(3) If the Chairman of the Commission becomes by reason of illness or other infirmity, or absence from Sri Lanka temporarily unable to perform the duties of his office, the President may appoint any other member of the Commission to act in his place.

7. Act or proceeding of the Commission deemed not to be invalid by reason of any vacancy.

No act or proceeding of the Commission shall be deemed to be invalid by reason only of the existence of any vacancy among its members, or defect in the appointment of any member thereof.

8. Remuneration of members vacancy.

The salaries of the members of the Commission shall be determined by Parliament and shall be charged on the Consolidated Fund and shall not be diminished during their terms of office.

9. Meetings of the Commission.

(1) The Chairman of the Commission shall be its Chief Executive officer and shall preside at all meetings of the Commission. In the event of his, absence from any meeting, the members of the Commission present at such meeting shall elect one from amongst themselves to preside at such meeting.

(2) The Chairman of any meeting of the Commission shall, in addition to his own vote, have a casting vote.

(3) Subject to the other provisions of this Act, the Commission may regulate the procedure in regard to the conduct of meetings of the Commission, and the transaction of business at such meetings.

10. Functions of the Commission.

The functions of the commission shall be—

(a) to inquire into, and investigate, complaints regarding procedures, with a view to ensuring compliance with the provisions of the constitution relating to fundamental rights and to promoting respect for, and observance of, fundamental rights;

(b) to inquire into and investigate complaints regarding infringements or imminent infringements of fundamental rights, and to provide for resolution thereof by conciliation and mediation in accordance with the provisions hereinafter provided;

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