The Supreme Court today concluded arguments put forward in support and against the bill titled “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) (Temporary Provisions).”

Accordingly, the parties relating to the Special Determination petition were directed to submit their written submissions before next Monday (21).

Later on, the Supreme Court’s determination over the proposed bill is to be communicated to the President and the Speaker.

The Supreme Court three-judge-bench comprised Justice Murdu Fernando, Justice Yasantha Kodagoda and Justice A.H.M.D. Nawaz.

Attorney-at-law Aruna Laksiri had filed this petition seeking a declaration that certain clauses of the bill require the approval of people at a referendum and require a two-third majority in Parliament. In his submissions, Attorney-at-law Laksiri feared that foreign laws could take precedence over domestic laws if the bill is passed. He argued that the powers have been concentrated to the Minister contrary to the constitutional provisions.

However, Senior Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle appearing for the Attorney General informed the court that the government is intending to introduce certain amendments to the proposed bill at the committee stage in Parliament.

The petitioner stated that the bill titled “Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) (Temporary Provisions)” was published in a gazette notification issued on May 20, 2021, and has been placed on the Order Paper of the Parliament on June 8, 2021.

Aruna Laksiri had filed this Special Determination petition in terms of Article 121 of the constitution claiming that powers have been incorrectly concentrated to the Minister in certain instances, although the bill is critically important in the current scenario. The petitioner said Section 3 and section 11 of the Bill are contrary to Articles 3, 4 (d), 12(1) and 106 of the Constitution.

The petitioner said the provision of the bill under section 3.1 to assign alternative courts where a court cannot function due to Covid-19 circumstances is contrary to the constitution.


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