Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Leader Minister Rauff Hakeem has pointed out that the inclusion of the word ‘unitary’ or ‘federal’ alone would not make sure the country is unitary or federal.
He was taking part in the debate on the Interim Report of the Steering Committee in the Constitutional Assembly. Ridiculing and expressing amazement at the Bar Association of Sri Lanka’s questionnaire on the proposed constitution, he pointed out the unitary status or otherwise of a constitution does not lie merely in the inclusion of one word.
Responding to BASL, he said: “For example the Soulbury Constitution we had did not contain the word ‘unitary’ but still ours was a unitary country. India’s Constitution does not say it is federal, but still it is a federal country.”
He stated that there are provisions for an undivided and indivisible country. Doubts of separatism are being repeatedly raised. It is puzzling as to how BASL could not understand this basic fact.
Referring to the BASL’s list of questions on Constitutional Amendments seeking answers from the Government, he stated that he has doubts as to whether the BASL is acting as the cat’s paw of some other group. BASL is a highly respected professional body comprising of legal practitioners in which we are also members. They must be able to read and interpret the report themselves. Without doing that, it has directed questions on the Government. This could be to agitate people by creating a wrong impression.