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Army-designed Dispatch Bag handed over to the President

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The ‘Attaché Case’, Presidential Dispatch Bag of international standard designed by the Directorate of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers of the Sri Lanka Army, was handed over to President Ranil Wickremesinghe, by Lieutenant General Vikum Liyanage, Commander of the Army at the Presidential Secretariat this morning (02).

This Attaché Case was designed over a special direction by the President. It is a renowned tradition to accompany world leaders with a sophisticated briefcase with international standard, commonly called an ‘Attaché case’ that carries important and secret documents wherever they travel.

Introducing this world-famous tradition to our country, the President tasked the Sri Lanka Army to fabricate the Presidential Dispatch Bag in line with international standards.

Under the guidance and direct supervision of the Commander of the Army, a group of experts in the field headed by the Director General Electrical and Mechanical Engineers designed the Dispatch Bag as a unique creation incorporating high-end technology, as per specifications given by the Presidential Secretariat.

Addressing the event, the President said that this initiative could contribute to cutting down on filing costs and would be introduced to all ministries as well. On a daily basis, piles of files are sent to the Presidential Secretariat by the ministries to obtain the signature of the President. Hence, the President said that these dispatch bags could be used by the ministries for this purpose, cutting down on the cost of files. He said that the Army could produce these bags for the relevant ministries.

The bag offers a combination of well-thought-out features for keeping the bag’s content safe and organized and it is made of premium leather which ensures its durability as it is expected by the President to hand over the Dispatch Bag from one President to the next in line.

The President, after accepting and inspecting the high quality and neatly finished Presidential Dispatch Bag, commended the Commander of the Army, the Director of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and particularly, the skilful and versatile craftsmen of the Sri Lanka Army.

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SLPP MP temporarily ordained as monk

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SLPP Kandy District MP – Gunatileke Rajapaksa has been temporarily ordained as a Buddhist monk at the historical Isipathanarama Temple in India.

He is now known as Ven. Harispathuwe Dhammarathana Thera.
His son – Sandakelum Rajapaksa, who is an engineer by profession, has also been ordained as Ven. Ampare Dhammaloka Thera.

The MP had reportedly decided to enter into the religious order after the recent death of his wife. He too, was recently hospitalised after falling ill.

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Court delays ruling on Online Safety Act challenge

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The Sri Lankan Supreme Court today indefinitely postponed its decision on whether to hear a fundamental rights petition challenging the Online SafetyAct No. 9 of 2024.

President’s Counsel and Jaffna District Member of Parliament M A Sumanthiran filed a fundamental rights application in the Supreme Court on 14th Feb., challenging the Speaker’s certification of the Online Safety Bill as having been enacted into law.

During the hearing, Attorney General Sanjay Rajaratnam presented five preliminary objections, arguing that the court lacks jurisdiction to hear the case since the Speaker has already signed the bill into law. 

He further emphasized that the legislature holds the sole authority to pass bills, and the court cannot intervene in that process.

Countering these arguments, Attorney-at-Law Suren Fernando, representing Sumanthiran, asserted that the petition aimed solely at the Speaker’s signing of the Act, which he claimed contravened previous Supreme Court pronouncements on related petitions. 

He emphasized the petitioner’s intention to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law.

The three-judge bench, comprising Justices Priyantha Jayawardene, Shiran Gunaratne, and Achala Vengappuli, decided to postpone their decision on hearing the petition indefinitely. 

In his Petition, MP Sumanthiran claims that the government was seeking to enact the Bill without fully adhering the Supreme Court Determination, and that he had pointed out that the draft committee stage amendments would not sufficiently rectify the shortcomings, and provided his concerns in writing to the Speaker.

However, the Parliament had voted on the Bill prior to ensuring full compliance with the Determination, according to Sumanthiran.

The Petitioner claims that the Bill could have been passed by simple majority only if all the changes required by the Supreme Court were incorporated. If these were not incorporated, the Bill could only have been enacted if 2/3 of the whole number of MPs voted in favour of the Bill.

MP Sumanthiran states that the Bill was approved only by a simple majority of members present, and that therefore the Bill could not have become law.

Therefore he states that the Speaker, by certifying that the Bill was enacted into law, has violated the public trust and the fundamental rights guaranteed to Sumanthiran and the citizenry.

Sumanthiran also states that according to the Speaker, he had acted in accordance with advise given by the Attorney General, and if so, the Attorney General is also responsible for the violation of fundamental rights occasioned by the purported certification of the Bill.

The Speaker of Parliament and the Attorney General are named as Respondents to the Application.

(News 1st)

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English considered for legal proceedings in selected courts

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English language is to be considered for conducting legal proceedings and maintaining records in certain courts, according to a Cabinet decision.

The Cabinet has noted that particularly in the commerce sphere related to commercial activities are mainly used in the English language and require a considerable cost and time in translating those contents into Sinhala language.

Due to that, an extended period to settle commercial disputes takes place which leads to disadvantage when obtaining entrepreneurs, the cabinet has noted.

This situation also affected the position of Sri Lanka to be in a lower place the Ease of Doing Business ratings which envisage the ability of conducting enterprises in a country.

As a remedy to this, it has been recognized as appropriate to issue an order by the subject Minister of Justice with the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers and in par with the provisions of the statute 24 (4) of the Constitution permitting to use English language in relation to all the activities in recognized courts or legal records and proceedings precisely mentioned thereupon.

Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal submitted by the Minister of Justice, Prison Affairs and Constitutional Reforms to take necessary actions in this regard.

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