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Sri Lanka’s Online Safety Bill: Supreme Court determination in full

Supreme Court ruling

After the Bill was tabled in Parliament, 51 petitions were filed in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the Bill. After examining the petitions by a three-member bench of Supreme Court judges, according to Article 120 of the Constitution, the decision was communicated to the Speaker. The decision was announced by the Deputy Speaker in Parliament on 07-11-2023.

According to that decision, sections 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 13,14, 15,16,17,18,19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26,27,28,29, 30,31, 32, 36, 37, 42, 45, 53 and 56 can be approved as mentioned in the Bill, if passed by a special majority of two third including the absent Members of the Parliament, according to the provisions mentioned in Article 84(2) of the Constitution.

According to the amendments proposed by the Supreme Court in its decision, if the said articles are amended at the committee stage, this bill can be passed by a simple majority. The Supreme Court said that other provisions of the Bill are in line with the Constitution.

(excerpts form an article by By Jagath Liyanaarachchi)

Online safety bill SC determination – Hansard 01.11.23

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