Large number of amendments proposed to Counter-Terrorism Bill | Daily News

Large number of amendments proposed to Counter-Terrorism Bill

A large number of amendments have been proposed to the Counter-Terrorism Bill to address the concerns raised by various parties, International Relations Oversight Committee Chairman and UNP MP Mayantha Dissanayake said.

Speaking to the Daily News yesterday he said that the Oversight Committee has scheduled a special meeting at 2p.m. today with the participation of the Defence Secretary, acting IGP, acting Attorney General and higher officials of the defence establishment to finalise the Bill. “Most of the arguments and objections on the Counter-Terrorism Bill are based on the previous version of the Bill which had been gazetted following Cabinet approval.

Those arguments are no longer valid. The Counter Terrorism Bill will undergo significant changes with the series of amendments proposed by the Oversight Committee,” he said.

“The claims that the new legislation stifles Trade Union and people’s protests cannot be justified.

The Foreign Ministry, Attorney General’s Department and the Legal Draftsman’s Department have already proposed the necessary amendments in that regard.

Likewise, we have finalised a large number of amendments in the past 3- 4 months. The Oversight Committee intends to call a press conference after the meeting on Tuesday to brief on the current form of the Bill,” he said.

He said the Defence Ministry has given their concerns on the Bill in writing to the Oversight Committee, adding that those would be accommodated when moving the Bill in the House. He stressed that the new Counter-Terrorism Bill is far more progressive and strong than the Prevention of Terrorism Act of 1979.

The Government presented the new Counter Terrorism Bill in Parliament for the first reading in October last year. It will do away with the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act of 1979. The Bill provides for “the identification, apprehension, arrest, custody, detention, investigation, prosecution and punishment of any person who has committed an act of terrorism or any other associated offence”.

The Supreme Court in November last year ruled that several sections of the Bill were inconsistent with the Constitution and the Government decided to amend them in line with the Supreme Court ruling.


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