On December 11th 2015, a Bill titled “Penal Code (Amendment) Bill” was placed on the Order Paper of Parliament for the purpose of amending the Penal Code (Chapter 19). The Centre for Policy Alternatives and its Executive Director Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu filed a Petition on the 17th of December 2015, challenging the constitutionality of the sole substantive clause in said bill.
In its Petition, the CPA argued that Clause 2 of the Bill violates Articles 10, 14(1)(a), and 12(1) of the Constitution, that specifically deal with freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; freedom of speech and expression including publication; and equal protection of the law, respectively.
On December 18th 2015, the matter was taken up by the Supreme Court, which was subsequently informed by the Attorney General that the Government had decided not to proceed with the present Bill. The Supreme Court is to send a formal communication to the President and to the Speaker of Parliament, in accordance with Article 121(3) of the Constitution.
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