CPA files FR petition against prolonged detention

(Daily Mirror 06th Sep)  
By Susitha R. Fernando
Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) has filed a fundamental rights application against the gazette notification which has given power to Defence Secretary to detain persons for prolonged periods.

CPA cited Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and President’s Secretary, Lalith Weeratunga as respondents.

In the application the petitioner said that with the gazette notification 1591/1 issued on August 5, Defence Secretary was empowered to extend a detention of a person up to one and half years and this was in violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed under the constitution.

The petitioner argued that preventing a Magistrate from granting bail to such a person without the discretion of the Attorney General was illegal and said the gazette notification has violated the fundamental rights to equal protection of the law and 13 (2) which said that every person held in custody, detained or otherwise deprived of personal liberty shall be brought before the judge of the nearest competent court according to procedure established by law and shall not be further held in custody, detained or deprived of personal liberty except upon and in terms of the order of such judge made in accordance with procedure established by law.

The petitioner also stated that gazette notification also violates section 13 (5) of the Constitution which states that every person shall be presumed innocent until he is proved guilty; provided that the burden of proving particular facts may by law, be placed on an accused person.

The CPA asked court to stay the said gazette notification and declare that it is null and void.