Bureau of Rehabilitation Bill inconsistent with Constitution

Bureau of Rehabilitation Bill inconsistent with Constitution

The Bureau of Rehabilitation Bill has been found to be inconsistent with the Constitution by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court determined that the Bill, as a whole, is inconsistent with Article 12 (1) of the Constitution and can be enacted only by a special majority.

However, the Supreme Court said that if appropriate amendments are made the Bill can be passed.

The determination of the court was presented to Parliament today by Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena.

The Bureau of Rehabilitation Bill, submitted to Parliament on September 23, 2022, would allow the compulsory detention in centers of drug dependant persons, ex-combatants, members of violent extremist groups and any other group of persons.

The Bureau of Rehabilitation Bill would establish a new administrative structure controlled by the Defense Ministry to operate rehabilitation centers staffed by military personnel.

Human rights groups said the proposed law, which human rights advocates have already challenged in the Supreme Court, does not describe the basis for being sent for rehabilitation, but other recent government policies provide vague and arbitrary powers to forcibly “rehabilitate” people who have not been convicted of any crime.

“The Sri Lankan government’s proposed ‘rehabilitation’ efforts appear to be nothing more than a new form of abusive detention without charge,” Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch said this week. “The Rehabilitation Bill would open the door widely to more torture, mistreatment, and endless detention.” (Colombo Gazette)

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