Parliament to debate Judicature Amendment Bill today

Published : 9:10 am  May 9, 2018 | No comments so far |  | 


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By Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana   

The Judicature (Amendment) Bill will be taken up for debate in Parliament today, sources said. 



Parliament sources said the Bill will be amended as per the determination given by the Supreme Courts with regard to the petitions filed against it.   

 The Supreme Court actually held that section 12A(1) of the Bill is inconsistent with the article 154P (3) (a) of the Constitution and an amendment is required to be made to the Constitution to give effect to Section 12A(1) of the Bill. This requires the Bill to be passed by a two-third majority.   

At the same time the Supreme Courts said this Section will cease to be inconsistent if the jurisdiction is conferred on the High Court of Provinces under Article 154(P)(3)(C) like in Act No. 10 of 1996 and Act No. 54 of 2006. The Section 12A(2) of the Bill requires the Judicial Service Commission to nominate judges to the Permanent High Court at Bar. This too was inconsistent with Article 154(P)2 of the Constitution according to courts which also required a two third majority.   


The HC-at-bar shall consist of three judges to be nominated by the Judicial Service Commission from among the judges of High Court

However, the judgement of the Supreme Court said this inconsistency will cease if 12A(2) of the Bill is removed and Article 154P(2) remains as it is, according to the Supreme Court determination.   

The Bill provides for the setting up of a permanent High Court-at-bar, to try, hear and determine the trials of offences under the Penal Code, the Money Laundering Act, the Bribery Act, offences against Public Property Act and several other legislation.   

The High Court-at-bar shall consist of three judges to be nominated by the Judicial Service Commission from among the judges of High Court. The new courts shall have jurisdiction in respect of offences committed wholly or partly in Sri Lanka or an offence committed by a citizen of Sri Lanka outside the territory of Sri Lanka or on board a ship or an aircraft.   

The Minister of Justice will have the power to specify the location of the High Court-at-bar and the power to increase the number of such courts. In addition the Bill provides provisions to hear cases daily.