The most dangerous feature of the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act is that the power currently exercised by the Minister of Justice to detain for questioning under this Act is being transferred to DIGs, according to President’s Counsel Mr Saliya Peiris. Recently (26),
Mr Saliya Peiris, who spoke on a television talk show, warned that in a situation where there are more than 30 Deputy Inspectors General of Police in the country and the police are highly politicized, there could be a greater possibility that they may make use of this provision to accomplish personal agendas.
Mr Saliya Peiris, who spoke on the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act, stated there is a strong possibility of abusing this proposed Act, just as with the Prevention of Terrorism Act. The PTA was blatantly misused to achieve political ends and to detain people for personal interests.
“There is no need to explain the current situation of the police. It is a highly politicized institution. The Inspector General of Police himself says that more than 80 percent of the OICs in police stations in the country are appointed on political patronage.
In such a situation, we have to fathom the situation caused by DIGs of Police being able to issue detention orders under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
It creates an opportunity for serious misuse of this Act. We remember that in the 1980s, a famous singer was arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. He has been detained here due to a personal conflict”.
Such conditions can be made even stronger by this Act. The issuance of detention orders by the minister as a political authority was criticized. But the solution is not to give that power to the officers of a politicized police force. I believe that this power of detention should be vested in the courts. Mr. Saliya Peiris said:
Also, it was pointed out that during the drafting stage of this Anti-Terrorism Act, the related stakeholders or the public were not properly consulted, and there were many inconsistencies in it.