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Speaker urged not to endorse Online Safety Bill without ensuring SC directives are included

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A collective of civil society activists and media organizations has urged Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardhana not to endorse the controversial Online Safety Bill without verifying Supreme Court directives have been fully adhered to.

“We, as civil society activists, firmly believe the Online Safety Bill which completely endangers freedom of expression should be rejected outright. As citizens holding the sovereignty of the country, we, the undersigned, express our strong objection to the hasty passage of the bill on 24 January in the parliament, sans discussion with any stakeholder, and ignoring the directives of the Supreme Court,” they have said in a letter addressed to the Speaker. 

“MPs of the opposition parties have pointed out that the bill was debated and passed in the parliament without the proper inclusion of amendments and guidelines directed by the Supreme Court. Those amendments and guidelines were issued by the Supreme Court after taking into consideration a record of 45 fundamental rights petitions challenging the draft bill.
 We believe, that if what the opposition MPs point out had occurred during the passage of the bill, it clearly violates the Constitution, undermines the sovereignty of the people and has possibly caused contempt of court as well.”

“This letter is also our commitment to continue our fight against regulations that are going to be implemented despite our objections that not only impede our right to free expression but also cause possible harm to the economy,” it adds.

 “It is clear that the government is attempting to make the Online Safety Bill into law urgently to counter the opposition against the government ahead of the forthcoming elections… As the Speaker of Parliament who ensures parliamentary orders are followed, we believe it’s your responsibility to guarantee that the Supreme Court-directed amendments are incorporated into the Online Safety Bill before endorsing it,” the letter further notes.

The full letter is as follows :

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This week’s Cabinet decisions

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A number of decisions have been taken at the Cabinet meeting held yesterday (June 24).

The decisions taken by the Cabinet of Ministers are as follows :

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GoSL pledges to support upcoming Bora Conference

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The Sri Lankan government has pledged full support for the Bora community’s upcoming spiritual conference and annual convention.

Senior Advisor to the President on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff, Sagala Ratnayaka, directed officials to ensure the event’s success during a meeting at the Presidential Secretariat.

The conference will be held at the Bambalapitiya Bora Mosque and the Sri Lanka Convention and Exhibition Centre from July 07 – 16.

This event will coincide with the Bora community’s spiritual conference in Karachi, Pakistan, and is expected to attract around fifteen thousand participants from various countries, including India.

The meeting highlighted the need for necessary infrastructure and facilities, particularly at the airport, to accommodate the large influx of attendees.

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8,000 UDA flat dwellers to get title deeds

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Urban Development and Housing Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said yesterday that arrangements have been made to provide title deeds to 8,000 residents of the apartments owned by the Urban Development Authority (UDA) next month, under the Government’s programme to provide title deeds to dwellers in such apartments in Colombo.

In addition, the National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) has also planned to give 1,070 title deeds to dwellers living in apartments in Colombo.

He said that this programme will be implemented according to the pledge given by President Ranil Wickremesinghe in the last Budget that 50,000 Colombo flat owners will be given their title deeds.

According to the UDA, 14,559 units of the 22 housing complexes have been given to low-income people.

Accordingly, the granting of title deeds will be made focusing on UDA housing projects of Mihindu Senpura, Sirisara Garden, Methsara Garden, Lakmuthu Sewana, and Sirimuthu Garden under the first phase.

In addition, title deeds of Laksandha Sevana, Randiya Uyana, Lakmuthu Uyana, Muwadora Uyana, Siyapath Sevana, Puradora Sevana, Jayamaga Sevana, Mihijaya Sevana, Helamuthu Sevana, Laksetha Sevana and Lakhiru Sevana housing projects are to be given to its dwellers before the end of this year.

The NHDA will first issue the title deeds for the apartments that have been built in the Colombo Municipal Council areas.

Transferring of ownerships of these houses to dwellers has been delayed due to the problematic situation arising from certain related rules and regulations. The Minister emphasised that he has already discussed with the Attorney General and obtained the necessary advice in this regard.

Minister Ranatunga further stated that all Colombo flat owners will be given their title deeds before the end of this year.

After giving the deeds to the owners of these houses, it is expected to carry out maintenance and management of these houses by a joint management corporation which will be established with the representation of the resident population.

An amount of Rs. 2 billion has been allocated in the 2024 Budget for providing ‘Urumaya’ freehold deeds to all who are eligible to receive and confirm landownership in the next two months.

(dailynews.lk)

 (This story, originally published by dailynews.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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