COMMISSIONS OF INQUIRY act

Arrangement of Sections

1. Short title.

2. Power to appoint Commission of inquiry.

3. Appointment of the additional members.

4. Enlargement of time.

5. Alteration or revocation of warrant.

6. Change of President.

7. Powers of Commission.

8. Conferment of additional powers on a Commission.

9. Members of Commission to be public servants and inquiries to be “judicial proceedings” under the Penal Code.

10. Punishment of contempts.

11. Summons.

12. Failure to obey summons, to give evidence.

13. Privileges of witness.

14. Special immunity for witness.

15. Presumption on production of record of evidence given by witnesses.

16. Representation of persons by Attorneys-at-Law.

17. Costs and other expenses.

18. Protection of Commission.

19. Appointment of Secretary and interpreters.

20. Process issued under this Act to be exempt from stamp duty.

21. Service of process.

22. Vesting of members of committees appointed to inquire into the conduct of public officers with powers of Commission.

23 Assistance of public officers in investigations or inquiries.

24. Institute of Criminal Proceedings.

24A. Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption to institute criminal proceedings.

24B. Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption to forward material collected and received to the relevant authority.

24C. Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption not to record statements or evidence given.

24D. Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption to seek advice or opinion of the Attorney-General.

24E. Not to restrict the powers and functions of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption by the provisions of this Act.

25. Commission to make rules.

26. Powers of the Attorney-General.

27. Interpretation.

17 of 1948,

8 of 1950,

40 of 1953,

8 of 1955,

29 of 1955,

16 of 2008,

3 of 2019.

AN ACT to enable the appointment of Commissions of Inquiry to prescribe their powers and procedure, to facilitate the performance of their functions and to make provision for matters connected with or incidental to the aforesaid matters.

[Date of Commencement: 8th September, 1948]

1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the Commissions of Inquiry Act.

2. Power to appoint Commission of inquiry.

(1) Whenever it appears to the resident to be necessary that an investigation or inquiry or both where appropriate should be held and information obtained as to—

(a) the administration, management and functions of any department of Government, any statutory body of any public or local authority or institution; or

[S 2(1)(a) subs by s 2(2) of Act 16 of 2008.]

(b) the conduct of any public officer, an employee of a statutory body, any public or local authority or any institution; or

[S 2(1)(b) subs by s 2(2) of Act 16 of 2008.]

(c) any matter or incident in respect of which an investigation or inquiry or both an investigation an inquiry as the case may be will, in his opinion, be in the national interest of the public safety or wellbeing;

[S 2(1)(c) subs by s 2(2) of Act 16 of 2008.]

the President may, by warrant under the Public Seal of the Republic, appoint a Commission of Inquiry consisting of one or more members to investigation or inquire or to both investigate and inquire, as the case may be, and report upon such administration, management, functions, conduct, matter or incident.

[S 2(1) am by s 2(1); 2(3) of Act 16 of 2008.]

(2) Every warrant issued under this Act shall—

(a) set out the name of the member or each of the members of the Commission;

(b) where a Commission consists of more than one member, specify the member who is to be the chairman of the Commission;

(c) contain the terms of reference of the Commission; and

(d) include a direction whether the inquiry or any part thereof shall or shall not be held in public.

(3) A member of the Commission appointed by Warrant issued under subsection (1) shall be removed, only if the President is satisfied that such member—

(a) has abused or misused his office as a member or has abused or misused the powers conferred on him under this Act or by the Warrant appointing the Commissioner;

(b) has engaged in bribery or corruption; or

(c) is suffering from mental or physical infirmity.

[S 2(3) ins by s 2(4) of Act 16 of 2008.]

(4) Upon the removal of a member in terms of subsection (3) the President shall forthwith report such fact to Parliament stating therein the reasons for the removal of such member.

[S 2(4) ins by s 2(4) of Act 16 of 2008.]

(5) Where the Commission consists of more than one member, not less than one half of the total number of members present, (which shall include the Chairman of the Commission) may, notwithstanding any vacancy in the membership of the Commission, exercise the powers of the Commission under this Act.

[S 2(5) ins by s 2(4) of Act 16 of 2008.]

(6) The reports of the Commission shall contain the views of all the members of the Commission including dissenting views if any and such reports shall be signed by all the members save and except where a member of the Commission dies, resigns, desires to be discharged, refuses or becomes unable to act as a member of the Commission or to place his signature in such reports.

[S 2(6) ins by s 2(4) of Act 16 of 2008.]

3. Appointment of the additional members.

(1) The President may add’ to number of members of any Commission appointed under section 2, and where any member so appointed or added dies, or resigns, or desires to be discharged, or refuses or becomes unable to act, the President may appoint a new member in his place.

(2) When a new member has been appointed under the provisions of subsection (1), it shall not be necessary for any evidence which may have been taken before the Commission prior to such appointment to be retaken.

4. Enlargement of time.

The President may, from time to time, by endorsement under his hand on a warrant issued under this Act, enlarge the time for the rendering of the report of the Commission appointed by such warrant, whether the time for the rendering of such report has expired or not.

5. Alteration or revocation of warrant.

The President may, at any time alter or revoke, any warrant issued under this Act.

[S 5 subs by s 3 of Act 16 of 2008.]

6. Change of President.

No warrant issued under this Act shall lapse by reason of, or be otherwise affected, by, the death, absence from Sri Lanka, resignation or removal of the President who issues the warrant, or by his otherwise ceasing to hold the office of President.

7. Powers of Commission.

(1)A Commission appointed under this Act shall have the following powers—

(a) to procure and receive all such evidence, written or oral, and to examine all such persons as witnesses, as the Commission may think it necessary or desirable to procure or examine;

(b) to require the evidence (whether written or oral) of any witness to be given on oath or affirmation, such oath or affirmation to be that which could be required of the witness if he were giving evidence in a court of law, and to administer or cause to be administered by an officer authorised in that behalf by the Commission an oath or affirmation to every such witness:

(bb) to make an application to any court of law or any tribunal to obtain certified copies of any proceedings of any case, any document or any certified copy of such document or of any other material field recorded in such court of law or tribunal;

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