Supreme Court Hears Petitions Against Anti-Corruption Bill

The Supreme Court has heard petitions challenging the constitutionality of certain clauses in the anti-corruption amendment bill submitted by the government to the Parliament. The hearing took place on May 12th before a three-member bench comprising Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, Murdu Fernando, and Janak de Silva.

Representing 10 legal officers of the Bribery Commission who had filed a petition, President's Counsel Uditha Igalahewa argued before the court that certain clauses of the proposed bill interfere with the independence of the commission to be appointed to investigate allegations of bribery or corruption.

Igalahewa further informed the court that the proposed bill stipulates that suspects arrested for offenses mentioned in the bill should be remanded in custody until the end of the trial. Magistrates would only be able to grant bail to such suspects in exceptional circumstances. He argued that this provision is against the basic human rights guaranteed by the constitution and violates the fundamental principle of providing bail to a suspect who is arrested.

The President's Counsel emphasized that if the contested articles are to be passed, they must be approved by the people through a referendum.

The hearing was adjourned until May 15th for further arguments.

The anti-corruption amendment bill aims to strengthen the Bribery Commission and expedite investigations and trials of corruption cases.