The Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI) this week forwarded to the Minister of Justice, Hon. Ali Sabry MP, PC a set of proposals by The Editors Guild of Sri Lanka (TEGOSL) setting out the rationale for the codification and enactment of a Contempt of Court Act in Sri Lanka in line with many other countries.
In its letter to the Justice Minister, the SLPI has referred to the long-felt need to codify the laws on Contempt of Court.
The Editors’ Guild proposals are based on its submissions to the Parliamentary Select Committee of 2003 chaired by the late Hon. Lakshman Kadirgamar, MP, PC. The SLPI also submitted to the Justice Minister a draft Contempt of Court Act that was prepared by the Advisory Committee of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka in 2006. This report had the input of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) and the Editors’ Guild.
The letter to the Minister adds that the SLPI and TEGOSL feel that, the same considerations that applied in 2003 in this regard, apply with even greater force today and that, the Sri Lanka law and legal principles relevant thereto remain to be codified in order that, the power of contempt is utilised fairly and justly, both procedurally and substantively subject to the important principle that punishment for contempt must be limited by law.
The SLPI has offered to clarify any of the submissions it has proposed should the Government wish to proceed to draft a long overdue Contempt of Court Act in Sri Lanka. The constituent partners of the SLPI are the Newspaper Society of Sri Lanka, The Editors’ Guild of Sri Lanka, the Free Media Movement and the Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association. Its affiliated partners are the Federation of Media Employees Trade Union, the Sri Lanka Muslim Media Forum, the Tamil Media Alliance and the South Asia Free Media Association.