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Present ; Earl Lorebum, Lord Buckmaster, Lord Dunedin.
BASNAYAKE NILAME (ELLEKEWALA) u.
D. G. Kandy, 22,466.
Free exercise of all modes of religious worship—Power to alter lawsfwhether they assume the form of an enactment or the form of acompact—Appeal withdrawn.
TTE judgment of the Supreme Court is
IS N. L. E. 193.
June 17, 1918. Delivered by Earl Loreburn:^—
Their Lordships are glad that this appeal has been withdrawn,and think that it was a wise course to adopt. Counsel for theappellant asked for a declaration that the Buddhist community areentitled. fa carry on their religious procession subject always to theparamount right of the Government to put such limitations as may
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m their judgment be necessary in the interests of public tranquillity.It is satisfactory to know that in the year 1916 the Governmentcomposed the difficulty by assisting in- an arrangement by whichthe times for the procession taking place without offence or disorderwere agreed. Mr. Upjohn, on behalf of the Crown, says that thereis no case for a declaration, because there is no ground for imputingto the Government any intention of interfering with the customaryprocession except to preserve public tranquillity, and their Lordshipsthink also that there is no need for any declaration. Every one canbe sure that religious opinions will receive all legitimate protection.
Mr. Upjohn read a letter from the Crown's solicitors, so which itwould be as well to draw attention: —
We would point out that after the rebellion of 1818 a proclamationwas issued in November of that year, and from that date down to thepresent time the Government of the Island has always been administeredupon the footing that all persons inhabiting the Island should have fullliberty of conscience, and the free exercise of all such modes of religiousworship as were not prohibited by law, provided they be contented withthe quiet and peaceable enjoyment of the Bame, not giving offence orscandal to the Government. And it' has further been a principle ofadministration that all laws, whether they assume the form of anenactment or the form of a compact, must be regarded as liable to suchchanges by competent authority as in process of time and under changingcircumstances the general interests of the Colony or the interests of lawand order may demand.
Their Lordships are completely satisfied that there will be nopreference and no prejudice in this matter on behalf of His Majesty'sGovernment, and that all His Majesty’s subjects may rest assuredof that.
Their Lordships will, therefore, humby advise His Majestyaccordingly.
There will be no order as to costs.
BASNAYAKE NILAME (ELLEKEWALA) v. THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL