Two Bills to introduce anti-hate speech laws and criminalizing the instigation of communal violence and disharmony were presented in Parliament yesterday. Chief Government Whip Media Minister Gayantha Karunatilake presented the two bills titled Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) and Penal Code (Amendment). The Bills will be taken up for debate at a later date.
The Bill seeking to amend the Penal Code states that ‘Whoever, by the use of words spoken, written or intended to be read, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, intends to cause or attempts to instigate acts of violence, or to create religious, racial or communal disharmony, or feelings of ill-will or hostility, between communities or different racial or religious groups, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term exceeding two years.’
The Bill to amend the Code of Criminal Procedure seeks to introduce provisions of a two-year prison sentence for anyone guilty of ‘causing or instigating acts of violence or religious, racial or communal disharmony or feelings of ill-will or hostility by the use of words spoken, written or intended to be read, or by signs, or by visible representation or otherwise.’
The proposed amendments in the Draft Bills also stipulate that a warrant would not be required to arrest persons violating these laws.
(Source: Ceylon Today – By Skandha Gunasekara)