• Parliamentary Complex, Sri Jaywardenapura Kotte, Sri Lanka
  • +94 11 2777627

The Secretariat of the Constitutional Assembly

T

he Constitutional Assembly Secretariat (CAS) is the administrative arm of the constitutional process established by the Steering Committee. The CAS is set up within the Parliamentary Secretariat.
 
The office of the CAS functions under the direction of the Additional Secretary to the Constitutional Assembly appointed in terms of clause 4(b) of the Framework Resolution and has its own staff, research and media units. The CAS functions as a link between the Committees of the Constitutional Assembly, i.e. the Steering Committee and the Sub-Committee and administratively supports the process.
 
At the second meeting of the Steering Committee held on 28th April 2016, it was resolved that a Management Committee be appointed to consider and support matters pertaining to the affairs of the Constitutional Assembly Secretariat in the performance of its multi-facetted role. The following persons were appointed as members of the Management Committee:
 
  • Hon. (Dr.) Jayampathy Wickramaratne, MP – Co-chairman
  • Hon. M. A. Sumanthiran, MP – Co-chairman
  • Neil Iddawala, Chief of Staff, Deputy Secretary General of Parliament, and Secretary to the Steering Committee
  • Naufel Abdul-Rahman

    Designation - Secretary to the Leader of the House of Parliament

    Qualifications - Bachelor of Law (Colombo), Dip. In Business Administration (Colombo), Fellow of the British Institute of Management (England)

    Experience - Advocate of the Supreme Court of Ceylon

    Naufel Abdul-Rahman,

    Naufel Abdul-Rahman

    Designation - Secretary to the Leader of the House of Parliament

    Qualifications - Bachelor of Law (Colombo), Dip. In Business Administration (Colombo), Fellow of the British Institute of Management (England)

    Experience - Advocate of the Supreme Court of Ceylon

    ,  Secretary to the Leader of the House of Parliament
  • Mrs. Bimba Jayasinghe Tillekeratne PC

    Designation - PC, Senior Advisor (Legal) to the Hon. Prime Minister

    Qualifications - LLB (Colombo), Sri Lanka Law College, Post Graduate Diploma in International Law (Netherlands)

    Experience -Joined the Attorney General’s Department in 1983, rose to the ranks of Senior State Counsel, Deputy Solicitor General, Additional Solicitor General and Senior Additional Solicitor General. Appointed President’s Counsel in 2011 and Solicitor General in 2014.

    Mrs. Bimba Jayasinghe Tillekeratne PC

    Mrs. Bimba Jayasinghe Tillekeratne PC

    Designation - PC, Senior Advisor (Legal) to the Hon. Prime Minister

    Qualifications - LLB (Colombo), Sri Lanka Law College, Post Graduate Diploma in International Law (Netherlands)

    Experience -Joined the Attorney General’s Department in 1983, rose to the ranks of Senior State Counsel, Deputy Solicitor General, Additional Solicitor General and Senior Additional Solicitor General. Appointed President’s Counsel in 2011 and Solicitor General in 2014.

    , Senior Advisor (Legal) to the Hon. Prime Minister
 
One of the main tasks of the CAS is to assist in planning and organizing regular sittings of the Steering Committee. This includes the coordination of contributions by expert, provision of resource material and the facilitation of research supporters required by the Steering Committee.
 

Prof. Suri Ratnapala

Designation - Emeritus Professor of Law at The University of Queensland and a part-time Commissioner at The Australian Law Reform Commission

Qualifications - LLB (Colombo), LLM (Macquarie), PhD (Qld), and FAAL.

Experience - Professor of Public Law at The University of Queensland.

Prof. Austin Pulle

Prof. A.M. Navaratna Bandara

Prof. A.M. Navaratna Bandara

Designation

Qualifications - DPhil (York) and MA (PDN)

Experience - Former Dean - Faculty of Arts, University of Peradeniya and Head of the Department of Political Science.

N. Selvakkumaran

Designation - Senior Lecturer in Law at University of Colombo

Qualifications - LL.B (Hons), M.Phil& Attorney-at-Law

Experience - Dean of the Faculty of Law from 2000 till 2012

Prof. Camena Guneratne

Designation - Professor, Department of Legal Studies, Open University of Sri Lanka, Attorney-at-Law

Qualifications - LL.B (Colombo),  LL.M (Harvard), PhD (Waikato)

Experience - Member – National Human Rights Action Plan 2017-2021, Member of the Drafting Committee on Environmental Rights (September 2016), Member - Task Force to implement the report of the Leader of the Opposition – Commission on the prevention of violence against women and the girl child (April 2015), Member – Law Commission of Sri Lanka (July 2011 to date)

Prof. Kapila Perera

Designation - Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Moratuwa

Qualifications
- B.Sc. Engineering (Moratuwa), M.Sc. (University of California), Ph.D. (University of California)

Experience
- Service Cadet, Sub Lieutenant (SL Navy), Lieutenant, Lieutenant Commander, Director – Staff Development Center – University of Moratuwa, Co-Lead Consultant – Faculty of Technology, Sri Jayawardanepura University, Co-Lead Consultant – Faculty of Technology, Kelyaniya University, UGC Appointed Coordinator – Faculty of Engineering, South Eastern University of Sri Lanka, Dean – Faculty of Engineering– University of Moratuwa.

Suren Fernando

Designation - Attorney-at-Law

Qualifications - LL.B. (hons) Colombo, LL. M. (London)

Experience - Legal practice in civil-commercial, constitutional and public law. 

Niran Anketell

Designation - Attorney at Law

Qualifications - LL.B (Honors) Colombo and  LL.M (New York) 

Experience - Co-founder and Legal Adviser for South Asian Centre for Legal Studies, litigating human rights, public law and other cases.

Asoka Gunawardena

Ms.Chamindry Saparamadu

Designation - Attorney-at-Law / UNDP Technical Consultant on RTI.

Qualifications Profession/ academic -Attorney-at-Law. B.A (Hons.) Economics, University of Delhi. LLB, University of Colombo. LLM, University of Wales. M.A (International Development), Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva.

Experience in the past 5 years - Head of UN Resident Coordinator's Office Sri Lanka (2014-2016), Senior Researcher, International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) (2012-2014),Research Consultant, Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA) (2012-2014)(Research Focus: Post-war Democratization/ Religious Harmony & Interfaith Dialogue/ Political Economy Analysis/ State Legitimacy

 
The staff of the Constitutional Assembly Secretariat includes Parliamentary officers and officers seconded by the Prime Minister’s office. Translations for all the documents pertaining to the constitutional reform process including matters of the Steering Committee and Sub Committees are handled by the Parliamentary Interpreter’s Office.
  
The input by the Panel of Experts
 
Prof. Suri Ratnapala

Designation - Emeritus Professor of Law at The University of Queensland and a part-time Commissioner at The Australian Law Reform Commission

Qualifications - LLB (Colombo), LLM (Macquarie), PhD (Qld), and FAAL.

Experience - Professor of Public Law at The University of Queensland.

Prof. Austin Pulle
Prof. A.M. Navaratna Bandara
N. Selvakkumaran
Prof. Camena Guneratne
Prof. Kapila Perera
Suren Fernando
Niran Anketell
Asoka Gunawardena
Ms.Chamindry Saparamadu
 towards the committees of the process is coordinated through the Constitutional Assembly Secretariat.
 

The members of the Panel of Experts appointed by the Constitutional Assembly and/or the Steering Committee are as follows:

  • Prof. Suri Ratnapala
  • Prof. Austin Pulle
  • Prof. A.M Navaratna Bandara
  • N. Selvakkumaran
  • Prof. (Ms.) Camena Gunaratne
  • Prof. Kapila Perera
  • Suren Fernando
  • Niran Ankatell
  • Asoka Gunawardena
  • Ms. Chamindry Saparamadu
The Panel of Experts was established based on nominations from different political parties in the Steering Committee. The contributions of the Panel of Experts includes academic and technical input at committee deliberations, submission of position papers in respect of subject matters under discussion and the provision of general expertise.
 

Further to the decision of the Steering Committee on 23rd June, 2016 to specifically assign the members of the Panel of Experts to assist the Sub-Committees, separate meetings of the Panel of Experts were organized by the CAS as a mechanism to broad base their contributions.

This enabled closer coordination of the work of the Sub-Committees and ensured that experts could also draw from the diverse viewpoints of others on the Panel when making contributions. A pivotal role was played by the Panel of Experts both in furthering discussions and in assisting with the compiling of the Sub-Committee Reports. The work of the Steering Committee in compiling the Interim Report on core subject areas, was also supported by the technical and legal support provided by the Panel of Experts. The meetings of the Panel of Experts are chaired by the Hon. (Dr.) Jayampathy Wickramaratne and the Hon. M. A. Sumanthiran, Co Chairs of the Management Committee appointed by the Steering Committee. 

Research support to the process is extended by the Research Team of the CAS which consists of academics and practitioners with experience in constitutional law and related fields. In order to support the deliberations of the sub-committees, comparative research briefs on the assigned subject areas were compiled by the Team and submitted for the consideration of the respective Sub-Committees.This was in addition to the regular research support that is extended to the Steering Committee when required to do so.
 
The Media Unit of the CAS has been set up in order to create public awareness and to facilitate social media interaction in Sinhala, Tamil and English languages. The information released to the public is subject to express approval being granted by the Steering Committee in that regard. The research work is supported by a research team assigned by the Prime Minister's Office. The staff of the Secretariat consists of officers from the Parliament, officers assigned by the Prime Minister's Office, and officers of the Official Languages Department. 
 
The activities of the Constitutional Assembly Secretariat also includes the organizing of workshops and training programs. In July 2016, a delegation of scholars from diverse backgrounds and expertise in the field of constitutional law, was invited to share their insights with a particular focus on the fields of Fundamental Rights and the Judiciary. The program included sessions with Members of Parliament, experts to the process as well representatives from the Attorney General’s Department, the Legal Draftsman’s Department and the Human Rights Commission. The program was sponsored by the Commonwealth Secretariat.
 
In the third week of September 2016, a visiting delegation of experts conducted a workshop to share their experiences from around the world with regard to plain language drafting of constitutional texts. This was mainly for the benefit of key government institutions and local drafting experts, and included a team of officers from the Attorney General’s Department, the Legal Draftsman’s Department.  In June 2017, a National Conference on Constitutional Reforms was held in order to create public awareness on material already available in the public domain, viz. the Reports of the Sub-Committees which were tabled in the Constitutional Assembly on 19th November, 2017. The Conference was held on the 28th of June 2017 at the BMICH. The Conference brought together a range of stakeholders from across diverse sectors - government, civil society and professionals - from all parts of the island.