SC suspends the operation of Deradicalization Regulations

The Supreme Court today issued an Interim Order suspending the operation of Prevention of Terrorism (De-radicalization from holding violent extremist religious ideology) Regulations No. 01 of 2021, which was published by way of a gazette notification on 12 March, 2021.

Supreme Court three-judge-bench comprising Justice Murdu Fernando, Justice Yasantha Kodagoda and Justice Shiran Gooneratna issued this order pursuant to a Fundamental Rights petition filed by former commissioner of Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) Ambika Satkunanathan, challenging the legality of the Deradicalization Regulations was taken up for support.

This Interim Order will be effective until August 24, the next hearing date.

Journalists and human rights activists Ruwan Laknath Jayakody, Kavindya Christopher Thomas, Centre for Policy Alternative and its Executive Director Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu and Shreen Saroor had also filed Fundamental Rights petitions seeking a declaration that the Deradicalization Regulations is not legally valid.

The petitioners are further seeking a declaration that Deradicalization Regulations would  permit room for the continuous or imminent infringement of fundamental rights guaranteed to surrenders, arrestees or detainees under Articles 10, 11 , 12(1), 12(2), 13(1) , 13(2) , 13(3) , 13(4) , 13(5) , 13(6) , 14(1)(a) , 14(1)(b), 14(1)(c) and/or 17 of the Constitution.

The Petitioners stated that the President had made regulations titled Prevention of Terrorism (De-radicalization from holding violent extremist religious ideology) Regulations No. 01 of 2021 issued under Section 27 of the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act, No. 48 of 1979 (PTA).

The petitioners stated that individuals arrested in terms of these Regulations could be subjected to executive or administrative detention camouflaged as rehabilitation, without proper judicial evaluation of the evidence against the individuals arrested, surrenders or detainees.

They further alleged that Deradicalization Regulations run counter to the fundamental safeguards in the Constitution, international human rights norms, and interferes with the judicial power of the People.

Petitioners further alleged that they are yet unaware whether the Deradicalization Regulations have been placed before Parliament and duly approved as required by the PTA.

Senior Counsel Viran Corea with counsel Suren Fernando, Pulasthi Hewamanna and Manjula Balasooriya appeared for the petitioners. Additional Solicitor General Nerin Pulle with Senior State Counsel Awanthi Perera appeared for the Attorney General. (Lakmal Sooriyagoda)

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