Colombo, Democracy, English, Governance, Human Rights

New Bill will make Police worse

“The legislation which allows police to detain a person without an arrest warrant for 48 hours was first introduced by the Justice Ministry in 2005 for an interim two year period and yesterday it was extended until 2009.”
Daily Mirror-August 24 -2007

The law enforcement authority of the government is police. Police have failed to maintain law and order since few decades. Torture, extra judicial killings, violence and abductions have increased at the moment. The situation is more familiar to 1988-1989 period.The new bill introduced first on 2005. After that no progress has shown. The crime rate is increasing day by day.

The detention period without arrest warrant increased to 48 hours. This makes the situation of arrested person even worse. The supreme law of the country is 1978 constitution. It ensured the right of innocence until proved guilty. This is a fundamental right for every Sri Lankan because he or she is a human being. The new law will create the necessary background for violate this right.

The police are famous for file cases on fabricated charges. There are no laws for protect witnesses. The witnesses face intimidation and death threats by police in cases where police alleged for crimes. One example is Gerald Perera case. He was a torture victim and a witness of a criminal case before he was killed. His voice for justice was silent by Wattala police. They prevent him given evidence in his torture case under the torture act by killing him.

The new law will make space for police to abuse their powers further and continue misconduct. It is vastly reported that police arrest people for political and personal benefits. Another aim is revenge from opposite sections. The extortion by police is very high.

Now the government is alleged for abductions, extra judicial killings and disappearencess. The former president CBK’s current statement is very practical and suitable.

“The government is a government. Terrorists are terrorists and therefore the government cannot behave like e terrorists – said former President Chandrika Bandaranayake Kumaratunge.”
Daily Mirror- front page, August 24-2007

Whether she is a deceit queen or not the statement is the reality. Any lawful government couldn’t put into practice terrorists methods. The government is doing this through its law enforcement agencies. So the new law is an encouragement to them.

The new law is applying to special offences like murder, rape, abductions, robbery and ownership of fire arms. The accountability and credibility of Sri Lankan police is questionable. The nexus between some police officers and criminals is well known to the public. The police department is not practice command responsibility. It is very rare that they held fair departmental inquiries against their own officers who commit crimes. The police inaction is one of the main reasons for violence. The introduction of new laws never supports the small man who is seeking justice. The consequences of this new law might be what happen when a razor given to the monkey.

Harshi Chitrangi
(A Law Student)