Govt. to rescind Emergency Regulation 58 | Daily News

Govt. to rescind Emergency Regulation 58

The Attorney General yesterday gave an undertaking to rescind Regulation 58 of the Emergency Regulation No. 1 of 2019.

Regulations 58 (1) and (2) state that ‘(1) it shall be lawful for any police officer of a rank not below that of Deputy Inspector General of Police or any other officer or person authorized by in that behalf to take all such measures as may be necessary for the taking of possession of and the burial or cremation of any dead body, to determine in his discretion the persons who may be permitted to be present at any assembly for the purpose of or in connection with any such burial or cremation or any person who is present at any such assembly without the permission of such authorized person or who obstruct such officer or authorized person in the exercise of the powers hereinbefore conferred shall be of an offence. (2) It shall not be necessary for any officer or any person taking measures relating to the possession and burial or cremation, of a dead body under this regulation to comply with the other provisions of these regulations and any other written law relating to the inquest of death or to burial or cremation. The Attorney General gave this undertaking in respect of two Fundamental Rights petitions filed in Supreme Court by civil society activists seeking an Interim Order staying the operation of the Regulation 19 and 58 of the Emergency Regulation No. 1 of 2019.

Counsel appeared on behalf of the petitioners submitted to court that if the Regulation 58 is rescinded, petitioners would only pursue the applications on the basis of other Regulations in question. Accordingly, the Supreme Court re-fixed the two petitions to be supported on October 8.

These petitions had been filed by convener of Purawesi Balaya Gamini Viyangoda, Centre for Policy Alternatives and its Executive Director Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu naming Attorney General and Defence Secretary Gen. (Rtd) S.H.S. Kottegoda as respondents.

The petitioners stated that while a State of Emergency was not declared on the date of the Easter Sunday attack on April 22, 2019, the date following the attack, the President by proclamation declared a State of Emergency by way of Extraordinary Gazette No 2120/3, April 22, 2019. They said the proclamation declaring a State of Emergency was put before Parliament on April 24, 2019 and it was passed unanimously without a division of the House.

Meanwhile, the petitioners emphasized that it is not the entirety of the State of Emergency that is challenged by way of these petitions since certain emergency regulations are needed for the time-being to better secure the safety of all citizens.

The petitioners stated that said Emergency Regulations violate the Fundamental Rights of the petitioner to the extent that they are disproportionate.

The petitioners stated that as per the proviso to Regulation 19(1), a person can be detained for up to a year upon an order by Secretary to the Ministry of Defence. The judiciary has been denied a necessary role and discretion in the making and review of such decision. The petitioners stated that the procedure to obtain bail for a person detained under Regulation 19 is stipulated in Regulation 21(1). It states that a Magistrate cannot release a person on bail unless the prior written approval of the Attorney General has been obtained.

The petitioners stated that judiciary has been ousted from reviewing detention orders made by an executive authority. The petitioners stated this is an encroachment of the judicial power of the people enshrined in Article 4(c) of the constitution and such patent violation of Article 4 (c ) necessarily results in a simultaneous infringement of Articles 12(1) and 11 of the constitution.

The petitioners stated that in the event that a detention order has been made under Regulation 19, Regulation 21(1) allows for the person so detained to be kept in detention for up to thirty days before he is produced before a Magistrate.

 


 

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