The Justice Ministry yesterday said the police were still vested with powers to detain suspects in custody for 48 hours instead of 24 hours, although the Criminal Code Procedure (Special Provisions) Amendment Bill was not approved by Parliament last time due to concerns by the opposition. Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem said he would, however, engage the opposition at the next parliamentary consultative committee meeting to decide on the next course of action with regard to enacting this Bill, currently withheld in the House. “We have issued regulations under a gazette notification. These regulations are intact. Therefore, police have necessary powers. Parliamentary approval is only incidental,” he said.
This Bill was first made a law in 2007 for two years. It is required to be approved by Parliament after every two years. However, the government had failed to obtain approval for it from Parliament in 2009, and therefore, the Bill lapsed.
The UNP argued in Parliament during the last session that it could not be taken up before the House as a result.
Minister Hakeem said he would listen to the views expressed by the opposition in this regard and decide on the next step accordingly.
Asked whether this Bill would be made a permanent law instead of the two-year period, he said it was only an option being considered.