LegislativeProcess Archives — LIRNEasia

During the parliamentary debate on the Telecom Bill on Tuesday, July 9, 2024, Member of Parliament Charitha Herath emphasised the need for public engagement and expert consultation in the lawmaking process. He cited the Telecommunications Act amendment as an example where expert input from individuals like LIRNEasia Chair Prof. Rohan Samarajiva refined the legislative outcome. “My friend, Professor Rohan Samarajiva, who is well-versed in this subject, has put forward some good suggestions. In the Determination of the Supreme Court regarding the Telecom Bill, his opinions were agreed upon.
The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka recently ruled that several sections of the proposed Telecommunications Amendment Bill are inconsistent with the country’s Constitution. This decision comes after significant opposition and criticism from experts, including LIRNEasia Chair Prof. Rohan Samarajiva, who had been vocal about the potential threats to democratic values posed by certain provisions in the bill. One of the most controversial aspects of the bill was the proposed Section 59A, which aimed to introduce a new offence related to telecommunications. The section stated: “Every person who, wilfully makes a telephone call or sends or transmits a message using a telephone, with the intention of causing public commotion or disrupting public tranquillity commits an offence and shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding one million rupees or to an imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding three months or to both such fine and imprisonment and in the event of the offence being committed continuously, to a fine of one thousand five hundred rupees for each day on which the offence is so committed or an imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding six months or to both such fine and imprisonment.