Three persons including two lawyers have filed a Special Determination petition in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the Human Rights Organization Bill presented to Parliament as a Private Member Bill by SJB Parliamentarian Tissa Attanayake.

The petitioners are seeking a declaration that the bill requires the approval of people at a referendum and requires a two-thirds majority in Parliament.

This Special Determination petition is currently being heard before Supreme Court.

The petitioners Wasantha Bandara, the Media Secretary of the Federation of National Organizations, Attorney-at-law Raja Dharmasirie Goonerathne and Attorney-at-law Nuwan Chamara Indunil filed this petition naming the Attorney General as respondent.

The bill titled ‘the Human Rights Organization (Incorporation) Act, No. of 2021’ has been placed on the Order Paper of Parliament on the 3rd of August, 2021.

The Petitioners state that the first reading of the said Bill has taken place in Parliament on 3rd August 2021 and Parliament has thereafter referred the said Bill to the Minister of Justice for a report to Parliament and further ordered the said Bill to be printed.

The Petitioners state that by the said Bill presented to Parliament as a Private Member Bill, it is contemplated to incorporate an organization (Human Rights Organization) already formed and in operation in No. 10, Mosque Lane, Galle Road, Colombo. The Petitioners state that the said Bill is silent as to whether such an organization has been registered in terms of the law.

The Petitioners state that in terms of Clause 4 of the said Bill, the management of the said organization is in terms of the provisions of the proposed Bill and the Rules formulated by the said Organization. The Petitioners state that such Rules of the Organization are not required to be approved by Parliament.

The Petitioners state that by Clause 7(b) of the said Bill, the said private organization sought to be incorporated is conferred with statutory power to enter into police stations to purported solve disputes where injustice has taken place.

The Petitioners further state that in the totality of the aforesaid circumstances, Clauses 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 14 of the Bill and the provisions of the Bill in their entirety are in violation of Articles 3, 4, 12, 14, 78, 61C, 111C, 111L and 155F of the Constitution.

They further stated that the bill would lead to erosion of the Rule of Law and Independence of the Judiciary.

They further alleged It amounts to the alienation of executive power of People and is, therefore, is in violation of Articles 3 and 4 of the Constitution.

The petitioners further said the Bill confers wide and arbitrary powers on a private organization and is thereby is in violation of Article 12(1) and Article 3 of the Constitution.


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