Sri Lanka was granted the Status of Dominion on 4th of February 1948 by the British Monarchy. But Sri Lanka became a Free, Sovereign and Independent Republic only on the 22nd of May 1972 after the enactment of its first autochthonous constitution.
In 1948, although Sri Lanka was granted a Status of Dominion; the judicial and constitutional ties still remained with the British monarchy. Thus Ceylon could not function as a free sovereign and independent state.
In this background the “Mahajana Eksath Peramuna” government led by Hon. S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike was elected in 1956. They wanted to change the dominion status by drafting a new constitution. But it was interrupted because of Mr. Bandaranaike’s sudden death. In 1970 the “Samagi Peramuna” government led by Hon. Sirima Bandaranaike came to power and they started to draft a new constitution on people’s mandate that they received at the general election.
Mrs. Bandaranaike’s brave leadership and then Constitutional Compiler Minister Mr. Colvin R. de Silva’s and all members of the Constitutional Assembly’s active contribution to this constitutional process will be remembered forever.
The drafted first Republican Constitution includes 16 Chapters and 134 Sections and was presented to the House of Representatives of the Parliament of Dominion Ceylon by Mrs. Bandaranaike on 22nd of May 1972 and on the same day it was enacted. Since then Dominion Ceylon became a Free, Sovereign and Independent Republic.