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JO raises Criminal Procedure Code Bill issue

Leader of the Joint Opposition in Parliament and the MEP, Dinesh Gunawardena, in Parliament...... yesterday charged that the Attorney General's notice to the Supreme Court that the Justice Ministry should withdraw the Code of Criminal Procedure (Special Provisions) (Amendment) Bill following two petitioners challenging the Bill, had a negative impact on Parliament.

"Had the two petitioners not questioned the constitutionality of the Bill before the Supreme Court, the Bill could have gone pass Parliament because the Attorney General has sent the Bill to Cabinet, which had duly approved it as it has been assumed that the provisions of the Bill were not inconsistent with the Constitution. This prompts us to ask whether the AG has misled Parliament purposefully." MP Gunawardena inquired.

The MP made this query soon after Speaker Karu Jayasuriya announced that the Supreme Court (SC) had informed him that it had dismissed petitions filed against the legislation as a result of the Attorney General (AG) notifying the SC that the Ministry of Justice had withdrawn the Bill. The Speaker also noted that the SC had revealed the two petitioners had withdrawn their petitions.

" It is the Attorney General Department that prepares such a Bill and sends it to Parliament and it makes one wonder whether the action of the Attorney General would have a negative effect on the House," MP Gunawardena said adding that only one petitioner had expressed his consent to withdraw the Bill.

Leader of the House and Minister of Highways and Higher Education, Lakshman Kiriella, in response said that there was no problem concerning the petitioners as Court decisions were subject to changes.

"Supreme Court's decision could be changed by the Appeal Court," he said adding that it does not mean that those who gave the first ruling had been wrong."

Meanwhile, TNA MP M. A. Sumanthiran pointed out that the issue of constitutionality of the Bill did not arise at this point as the Justice Ministry had withdrawn the Bill.

"Further, it was not the AG who withdrew the Bill. The AG had informed the Court of the notice issued by the Ministry."(Ceylon Today)

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