By Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana
Experts at the Attorney General’s Department, relevant ministry secretaries and those at the Legal Draftsman’s Department were all of the view that the Counter Terrorism Act (CTA) should not be rushed, MP Mayantha Dissanayake told Parliament yesterday.
Mr. Dissanayake, the Chairman of the Oversight Committee on International Relations, said several experts including the AG’s Department, relevant ministry secretaries and those in the Legal Draftsman’s Department had told him not to rush the Bill through Parliament. He said it would be subjected to more discussions, if needed. “The Prime Minister could easily have got us to rush through the Bill but he did not do so,” the MP said.
The MP said a select committee can be appointed to discuss the legislation further but highlighted that it had already been subjected to a lengthy discussion. “Many amendments have been brought in as well. I can assure you that it would be different from the one approved by the Cabinet,” he added.
“My task as the Chairman of the Oversight Committee was to bring about a consensus on the piece of legislation among opposition and ruling party members,” Mr. Dissanayake said.
MP Wijepala Hettiarachchi wanted to know why certain suspect wanted in connection with the Easter Sunday attacks are not being arrested if the current laws are sufficient. He was referring to statements made by opposition MPs to the effect that the existing laws are sufficient to crush the Islamic terrorists and the Counter Terrorism Act was not needed for the purpose.