Detention of persons arrested for 48 hours continues

Criminal Procedure (Special Provisions) Act extended
By Chandani Kirinde

The Government has extended the operation of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Special Provisions) Act which provides for the extension of the period of detention of persons arrested without a warrant and enables the Attorney General (AG) to directly file indictment in the High Court in certain cases thus bypassing the non-summary proceedings.

This is the second time the validity of the Special Provisions Act, which was enacted in 2007 with a validity period of two years, has been extended. Justice Ministry Secretary Suhada Gamlath said that the Special Provisions Act has progressed very well and hence it was decided to extend its period of validity. “The provisions pertaining to detainees have not been utilized very much but the provisions to serve direct indictment have helped to expedite cases by circumventing the long process involved in non-summary proceedings,” Mr. Gamlath explained.

He said non-summary proceedings drag on for many years and were leading to laws delays but since the operation of this Act, the process has worked faster.He said the law will remain with a limited period of validity as legislators were having reservations on making it a permanent law due to the provisions dealing with extension of detention.

The Act allows for persons arrested without a warrant to be detained for a period of up to 48 hours, but after the first 24 hours, detention has to be authorized by a magisterial order. It also allows the AG to forward indictment directly to the High Court in special cases which murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, rape, and offences committed with the use of explosives or an offensive weapon or gun.
A gazette notification was issued by Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem extending the validity of the Act by two years, commencing on May 31, 2011.

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