SD petition filed challenging bill entitled “Judicature (Amendment) | Daily News

SD petition filed challenging bill entitled “Judicature (Amendment)

A Special Determination petition challenging the bill entitled “Judicature (Amendment), a Bill to amend the Judicature Act No.2 of 1978” was yesterday filed before Supreme Court by Colombo District Parliamentarian Dinesh Gunawardena seeking a declaration that bill shall become law only through a two-thirds majority in Parliament and the approval of the people at a referendum.

The petitioner stated that a Bill entitled Judicature (Amendment) was presented to the Parliament and placed on Order Paper of the Parliament on March 6, 2018.

The Petitioner states that clauses 2, 3 and 4, of the said Bill, are in violation of and inconsistent with Articles 3, 4(a), (b) (c), 12(1), 12(2), 13(3),14, 14(1)(g) 27, 75, 83 and/84(2) and the other Articles of the Constitution, in as much as the said Bill –inter alia.

The petitioner said the Bill would vest in the ‘executive’ with arbitrary powers to decide as to whom to be tried before the proposed High Court and thereby deprive the citizens of equal application of the Criminal Procedure, which is essential for the upholding of the ‘Rule of Law.

He further said the bill would remove Judicial functions from the Judiciary and entrust the same with the ‘executive’, which is amounting to breach of the fundamental principle of ‘separation of powers’, which is recognised by the Constitution.

He further said it would indirectly empowers the Attorney General and the Director General for the Prevention of Bribery and Corruption to use the findings of the investigations carried out by purported ad-hoc units of the police, such as FCID (Financial Crime Investigation Division), which are not lawfully established and incapable of executing lawful actions.

MP Gunawardena further said the Bill would take away the right of an Accused to be represented by a Counsel of his choice, a significant and inalienable element of his right to a fair trial enshrined in Article 13(3) of the Constitution, by providing that the inability of an Attorney-at-Law to appear before the High Court at Bar shall not be a ground for postponing the trial.

It is capricious and unreasonable in that it seeks to take away the right of Attorneys-at-Law to engage in their professional practice.

The Bill would Incorporate offences without any rationale and affecting the functions of the public officers; which shall adversely affect the daily functions and powers to make administrative decisions of the public servants with a free mind in executing statutory functions conferred upon them.

This special determination petition was filed through senior counsel Kanishka Vitharana and counsel Tissa Jayawardena Yapa. 


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