May 09, Colombo: Sri Lankan parliament today passed a bill that would set up special high courts paving the way to expedite trials of large-scale crimes and bribery and corruption cases.
The "Judicature (Amendment)" Bill aimed for the establishment of a three-member High Court to hear large-scale crimes and bribery and corruption cases was passed with amendments when it was taken for debate in Parliament today.
The second reading of the bill received 119 votes in favor and 52 against. Accordingly, the second reading was passed with a majority of 67 votes. The vote was conducted electronically. Thereafter, the third reading of the Bill commenced and the Bill, subject to amendments was passed without a vote at the committee stage.
This Bill was presented on the 6th of March 2018 by the Minister of Justice. It amends the Judicature Act, No. 2 of 1978. The Determination of the Supreme Court in regard of the Bill was announced to the House by the Speaker on the 03rd of April 2018.
The passage of the legislation makes provisions for a Permanent High Court at Bar to try, hear and determine the trials of the offences specified in the Sixth Schedule of the Act.
The Act is expected to expedite the judicial process of cases regarding serious frauds, corruption and other high profile crimes.
Justice and Prison Reforms Minister Thalatha Atukorala said the amendments to the Bill were made to vest the powers in the Chief Justice, and accordingly, the Chief Justice will decide which cases to be heard and on appointing the judges to the permanent High Court Trial-at-Bar.
According to the proposed bill, cases would be heard daily and would be finished within a month and half.