Contempt of Court, Tribunal or Institution Act

00:00 Jun 27 2023 Ministry of Justice

Contempt of Court, Tribunal or Institution Draft Act was gazetted on 27th of June 2023, on the order of Minister of Justice, Prison Affairs and Constitutional Reforms. The act criminalises (1) bringing disrespect to a court, tribunal or judicial Institution, and (2) interfering or bringing prejudice to an ongoing legal case. The offences include willful disobedience, willful breach of an undertaking, publishing false information, scandalising or lowering the judiciary authority, or dignity of a court, tribunal, or institution, interfering with judicial proceeding, interfering or obstructing the administration of justice, using or bringing any audio or visual recording equipment or publishing or transmission of any audio or visual recording, exciting dissatisfaction in the minds of public, casting public suspicion on the administration of justice etc. The act uses broad, vague terminology that could be easily misused to control or repress dissent, and media. As the scope of the act covers all types of judicial institutions including those appointed by the political leadership such as Presidential Commissions, even free speech against injustices made by such institutions would not be possible after passing this act. None of the Sri Lankan courts do official audio-visual recordings of the court sessions, and neither journalists are not allowed to record court hearings under any condition.
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