|Saturday, 14 August 2004|
SC sends determination on Anti Conversion Bill to President and Speaker
by Wasantha Ramanayake
The Supreme Court yesterday sent its determination on the Constitutionality of the Bill 'Prohibition of Forcible Conversion of Religion' to the President and the Speaker, the Registrar of the Supreme Court said.
The three Judges of the Supreme Court Justices T.B. Weerasuriya, Nimal Dissanayake and Raja Fernando comprised the Bench that determined the Bill.
The counsel for both petitioners challenging the constitutionality of the Bill and the intervenient-petitioners who argued that the Bill was consistent with the Constitution, made their submissions for two full days.
A total of 21 petitioners including Bishop of Chilaw Frank Marcus Fernando, Rev. Kumara Illangasinghe, Bishop of Kurunegala, Bishop of Colombo Dulip de Chikera, Dutch Reformed Church President Charles N. Jansz, National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka, K. Neelakandan, General Secretary of All Ceylon Hindu Congress, The Centre for Policy Alternatives, Liberal Party National Committee member Anura Samarajeewa, Attorney-at-Law Elmore Perera and Colombo University Law Faculty lecturer V. Thambirajah Thamilmaran sought to challenge the Bill.
Ven. Ellawala Medhananda, Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka, Ven. Hedigalle Wimalasara, Ven. Kollonnawe Sumangala, Ven. Aturaliye Rathana, Ven. Udawatte Nanda, Ven. Rajarata Wappe, Ven. Atte Gnanasara, Ven. Medagama Dhammananda, Ven. Akmeemana Dayarathana, Ven. Kotapola Samarakitti, Prof. Chandra Wickremagamage, Dr. Neville Karunathilake, Thilak Karunarathne, Champika Ranawaka, P.S. Herman de Silva and A. Asangaratne Ariyatillake, President of the Centre for Buddhist Action were among the intervenient-petitioners who claimed that if the Bill determined to be inconsistent with the Constitution, their rights would be affected.
Counsel H.L. de Silva PC, R.K.W. Gunasekera, Nihal Jayamanne PC, A.R. Surendran PC, Dr. Jayantha Almeida Gunaratna PC, H. Soza PC, M.A.Sumanthiran, S.F.A. Cooray, Shamil Perera, Shanaka de Silva, Elmore Perera, Mohan Pieris, J.C. Weliamuna, Kamal Nissanka, and Aravinda Athurupana appeared for the petitioners. V.T. Thamilmaran appeared in person.
D.S. Wijesinghe PC, Wijedasa Rajapakse PC, S.C.B. Walgampaya PC, D. Premarathne PC, A.A. De Silva PC, U. Mapa, Dr. Harischandra Wijetunga, K.M.P. Rajaratne, Manohara de Silva, Upul Jayasooriya, Sanjeewa Jayawardane, W.D. Weerarathne K. Thiranagama, Gamini Premathilake, Ananda Kasturiarachchi, Palitha Kumarasinghe, Prashantha Lal de Alwis, M.C. Jayaratne, H.G. Hussein, Asoka Gunasekera, P.P. Gunasena, Lakshman Perera, Jayatissa Herath, K. Jayasekera, Daya Guruge, Nalinda Indatissa and Jagath Gunawardane appeared for the intervenient petitioners.
Produced by Lake House