Colombo Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith today filed a Special Determination Petition in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the Online Safety Bill.

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith stated that arbitrary and unreasonable wide-ranging powers have been granted to the President when appointing members to the Online Safety Commission.

He stated that these wide-ranging powers are retained by the President concerning the powers to remove the members of the Online Safety Commission under Clause 7 and also with regards to the appointing of the Chairman of the said Commission under Clause 8 of the Online Safety Bill.

The Colombo Archbishop further stated that in terms of Clauses 11 and 12 of the Bill, the Online Safety Commission would also be vested with a wide range of powers, which would encroach even into the functions of the Judiciary. In this regard, the petitioner states that the Online Safety Commission would accordingly be empowered to, at their own discretion, issue notices or directives against any person, internet service provider, or internet intermediary who is alleged to have communicated a prohibited or false statement.

The petitioner is seeking a declaration that the bill requires the approval of the people at a referendum in addition to the 2/3 approval of Parliament.