The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) today urged the government not to proceed with the proposed Bill to amend the Code of Criminal Procedure Act, published in the Gazette on the 8th of October 2021.

The proposed amendments seek to dispense with the requirement of producing a suspect or accused before the Magistrate or Judge of the High Court in certain instances where they would otherwise normally be produced in Court.

In a statement, the CPA states the proposed bill must be evaluated in the light of existing problems of Sri Lanka’s criminal justice system where custodial torture and abuse have become almost a norm. The CPA said if this bill is implemented, it would carry significant implications for the safety of detainees and further entrenches custodial torture in Sri Lanka.

“Despite the constitutional guarantee providing for the freedom from torture, decades of precedent demonstrate the continuous failures by the State to take tangible measures to protect this fundamental right, resulting in a culture of impunity. In such a context, CPA is disturbed that the proposed amendments are likely to further exacerbate existing problems and therefore urges the government to not proceed with the Bill”, the CPA observed.


The CPA further said detainees are repeatedly prevented from having meaningful access to lawyers, despite the existence of legal protections guaranteeing such access. Against such a backdrop, compounded by reports of abuse and torture, the production of suspects or accused persons in Court is one manner in which the judiciary is able to act as a check on their safety and wellbeing. Permanently removing such an essential safeguard is unacceptable and deeply troubling.


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