- Published on Wednesday, 23 January 2013 11:28
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The Criminal Procedure Code (Special Provisions) Bill which is to provide for the extension of the period of the detention of persons arrested without a warrant for 48 hours, to facilitate the conduct of investigations was passed with a majority of 77 votes in Parliament Tuesday (22).
110 members voted in favour of the Bill while 33 members voted against the Bill. UNP, TNA and DNA voted against the Bill.
Minister of Environment Anura Priyadarshana Yapa speaking on the debate related to the Bill, said that the Bill provides for the extension of the period of detention of persons arrested without warrant to facilitate investigation; for dispersing the non-summary inquiry in certain cases; to provide for the taking of depositions of witnesses for the prosecution; and to make provision for matters connected therewith or incidental there to.
He said that the Criminal Procedure Code provides the provisions to take action and the manner of taking actions against crime and criminals. The Minister emphasized that crime should be investigated during a particular period, bust since the suspects could be detained for only 24 hours to investigate before they are produced before a magistrate, it has been found that this time period is not adequate. The Minister pointed out that in connection with organized crime, the period of detention should be extended.
Minister Yapa speaking further said that the provisions made by the amendment only become applicable to organized crimes such as, murder, abductions, rape, attempted murders, use of offensive weapons, looting etc.
The Minister explained that this is not a new method and has been practiced on various occasions. This will also provide to file indictment directly before the High Court by the Attorney General in case of offenses committed aggravating circumstances or circumstances that give use to public disquiet.
Minister of Justice Mr. Rauf Hakeem said that Bill seeks to allow the Police detain a person who has been arrested without a warrant for 48 hours before producing him or her before a Magistrate instead of the normal 24 hours. He said that under this amendment, the suspect will be given an opportunity to consult a lawyer, and the code of Criminal Procedure (Special Provisions) that provides for such a move was presented to Parliament on October 11 last year. He said that a similar law was enacted in 2005 for the same purpose to facilitate investigations of the suspects arrested without a warrant. However, the Act remained in operation only for two years till 2007. The Minister pointed out that the 48 hour rule will be applied only for murder, rape, kidnapping to commit murder or armed robbery but not for minor offences under the code.
Minister of Technology and Research Mrs. Pavithradevi Vanniarachch, Deputy Minister of Buddhasasana and Religious Affairs M K A D S Gunawardena, Deputy Minister of Livestock and Rural Community Development H. R. Mithrapala, Deputy Minister of Health Lalith Dissanayaka spoke in favour of the Bill while several opposition members including the Chief Opposition Whip John Ameratunge spoke against the Bill. (niz)