Monty Python’s Ministry Of Silly Walks
Apparently Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga has said that the name Ministry Of Crab violates the Constitution and possibly the company registrars act. This is all based on an off-hand joke Mahinda made about how many Ministries he has. I’m going to go with a no.
I skimmed through the Constitution but I can’t find anything relevant. Since whole chunks of the Constitution (ie, the 13th Amendment) are completely disregarded, perhaps we can concede that this is not a fundamental rights issue.
I think the relevant section goes something like this:
No firm, individual or corporation shall carry on business in Sri Lanka under a business name which-
(a) contains the words-
(i) ” President “, ” Presidential”‘, ” National ” ” State ” or ” Sri Lanka ” or which in the opinion of the Registrar suggests, or is likely to suggest the patronage of the President or any connection with the Government or any department thereof ;
(ii) ” Municipal ” or ” incorporated ” or “company ” or its abbreviation, or which in the opinion of the Registrar suggests or is likely to suggest connection with any municipality or other local authority or with any society or body incorporated by Act of Parliament or otherwise ; or
(iii) ” corporation ‘” or ” society ”
You can view the exact docs at the Registrar Of Companies.
Note that the term ‘Ministry’ is not explicitly banned. Hence the registrar would have to conclude that Ministry Of Crab suggests the patronage of state which, like, really? I don’t think it suggests that this a government department, any more than the Dutch Hospital Shopping Complex is a hospital.
Ministry Of Silly Walks
I would venture that the President’s Secretary and Registrar are over-reacting. The law and enforcement of law are drastically different in Sri Lanka, and largely depend on the whims of the President. I think they’ve taken his offhand comment as a whim and are doing a rather silly walk in response to it. I’m assuming this will blow over. If not, well, that would be silly.