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Monday, May 27, 2024

New law to detain suspects for 48 hours without a warrant

Parliament will enact new legislation next Tuesday to enable the police detain a person who has been arrested without a warrant for 48 hours before producing him or her before a magistrate instead of the normal 24 hours, officials said yesterday.

The Code of Criminal Procedure (Special Provisions) that provides for such a move was presented to Parliament on October 11 last year. It is now listed in the parliament order book to be taken up for debate and approval on Tuesday.
A similar law was enacted in 2005 for the same purpose to facilitate investigations of people arrested without a warrant. However, the Act remained in operation only for two years till 2007. The subject minister was required to extend the period of operation again till 2009 on a gazette notification in keeping with the criteria laid down in the original law.

It was not extended after the law lapsed in 2009. The present bill if enacted will be in operation permanently.

Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunga will begin the debate on behalf of the opposition. The constitutionality of the bill was also challenged in the Supreme Court by MP Ajith Kumara who defected from the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and joined the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP).

The Supreme Court determined that Clause 8 of the Bill was inconsistent with the Constitution, and therefore should be approved by a special majority.

  (Kelum Bandara) DM


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