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January 31, 2018
By Major V.B.Karunaratne
Former Deputy Serjent at arms of Sri Lanka Parliament

The Independence of a country means mainly that Nation priviledge to have own legislature and also judiciary system and financial freedom. In 1948 February the 4 th though Sri Lanka won her independence our legislative system was evolved since 1833. In the event of 70 th independance day it is important to reflect and focus how the legislative system evolved in SriLanka. Parliament is the legislator of our country. Among its sacred functions are making laws and acts, controlled and manage the state finance and debate on development programmes pertaining to the welfare of masses. we have call the legaslator in different names from time to time.

Legislative system was introduced in Sri Lanka initianarch lly on 28th March 1833 by priclamation of the British monarch and name it as the Legislative council and then in 1910 it was Legislative Assembly. In 1931 it become the State Council with extended power also introduced universal franchise. State council was headed institute and it became Parliament in 1947. Again in 1972 with a new republican constitute the Parliament named as National State Assembly and in again in 1978 with present constitute it named as the Palliament up to now.

What ever steps taken for administration of Sri Lanka by British monarch under the Kandian convention of March 2nd 1815 people of the country were not satisfy therefore. realizing by the B ritish Government has sent an administrator William Colbrooke to Sri Lanka to propose suitable legislative system for the country. The Calbrooke's proposals accepted by the British Government and theese proposals paved the way for first Legislature in Sri Lanka 19 1833.

Though British Governors of Sri Lanka from time to time they have had made minor changes, mainstructor of the legislature did not change untill the proposals of the Donoughmore Commission came in effect in 1931. The Donoughmore commission proposals were full of liberal ideas and they curtailed the power of the Governor.

The State Council established in 1931 and to elect the members for the state council Sri Lankans were granted Franchise. That state council then resemble similar structure.This was thereof the local government system specially London city in Britain. That was the beginning of the process which culminated in the present. Parliament. the Speaker, chairmen of committees similar to present cabinet ministers appointed members to represent ethnic groups similar to present national list members were the special significance of the state council. Sir D.B.Jayatilake was the leader of the state council created by the Donoughmore commission. Chairmen of the committees had executive power as like a cabinet ministers today. D.S.Senanayake, Sir John Kotalawela S.W.R.D.Bandaranayake, Dr.C.W.W.Kannangara wera among the chairmen of committees in 1931.

In 1936 all chairmen of committees were Sinhalese, therefore objections came from Tamil members who represents north. It was settled by appointing another commission in 1944 called Soulbury commission to propose new legislature for SriLanka. Its propose to established a Parliament in 1947 with two chambers the Senate and the house of representatives. The new parliament initiated to gain Independence to Sri Lanka. House of representatives had 95 elected and 6 nominated members.

1n 1972 again change the constitute and introduce republic constitute and change name parliament as National state Assembly. The Senate was abolished.There was no appointed members. All 155 members are elected by people. Dr. Colvin R de Silva was the architecture of this constitute. In 1978 J.R.Jayawardana government introduced new constitute and legislature again become as parliament. Executive Presidency was introduced. J.R.Jayawardana was the pioneer of the constitute. Numbers of members went up to 225 with 196 elected and 29 appointed from the so called national list.

70 Years passed with independence and 184 years experienced in legislative systems in our country.In 1833 there was 15 members representative 2 million population in legislative council. Now the population has increased up to 21 million and present age of increased by 1000%.But Number of members of legislature has increased by 1600%. Cost of maintenance of the parliament and its members is also a matter to discus deeply. Another factor to focus on legislature is whether the functions and duties of the parliament is really practiced and how it effect the well being of people.
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