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Supreme Court holds two clauses of Reparations Bill inconsistent with Constitution: Speaker tells the House

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Speaker has announced that the Supreme Court holds that two clauses of the Office for Reparations Bill are inconsistent with the Constitution and that the Bill has either to be passed with a two-thirds majority in Parliament and a referendum or be amended as per the SC's recommendations to make it consistent with the Constitution.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya made the announcement at the commencement of Parliament on Tuesday. He stated that the Supreme Court in its determination, sent to Parliament after concluding the hearing of two petitions challenging the Bill, had stated that Clause 27(a) and 27 (a) iii, were inconsistent with the Constitution.

The Bill provides for the provision of individual and collective reparations for aggrieved persons. The Clause 27 (a) deals with the interpretation of "aggrieved persons". The Clause 27 (a) says "aggrieved persons mean persons who have suffered a violation of human rights or humanitarian law, their relatives and missing persons". The Clause 27 (a) iii interprets that "aggrieved persons" also include the individuals, groups or communities of people of Sri Lanka who had faced systematic gross violations of the rights.

The Bill was presented in Parliament for the first reading on July 17. The scope of legislation applies to the conflict in the North and the East, as well as "any political unrest or civil disturbance, systematic gross violations of the rights of individuals, groups or communities of people of Sri Lanka, and enforced disappearances."

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