SPECIAL PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSIONS OF INQUIRY LAW

Arrangement of Sections

1. Short title.

2. Establishment of Special Presidential Commissions Inquiry.

3. Appointment of new members.

4. Enlargement of time.

5. Alteration, of amendment or revocation of warrant.

6. Change of President.

7. Powers of Commission and additional powers that may be conferred at the request of the Commission.

8. Members of Commission to be public servants and inquiries to be "Judicial Proceedings” under the Penal Code.

9. Imposition of civic disabilities.

10. Punishment of contempts.

11. Summons.

12. Failure to obey summons to give evidence.

13. Privileges of witnesses.

14. Special immunity for witnesses.

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

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

17. Costs and other expenses.

18. Protection of members of Commission.

18A. Applications to stand transferred to Supreme Court where at least one member of Commission is a Judge of the Supreme Court or Court of Appeal and powers of courts in relation to a Commission.

18B. No stay of proceedings of a Commission arising by reason of collateral proceedings.

19. Appointment of secretary and interpreters.

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

21. Service of process.

21A. Effect of this Law notwithstanding inconsistencies.

22. Interpretation.

7 of 1978,

4 of 1978,

38 of 1986.

A LAW to enable the establishment of Special Presidential Commissions of Inquiry. To provide for the appointment of the members thereof. 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: 10th February, 1978]

1. Short title.

This Law may be cited as the Special Presidential Commissions of Inquiry Law.

2. Establishment of Special Presidential Commissions Inquiry.

(1) Whenever it appears to the President to be necessary that an inquiry of should be held and information obtained as to—

(a) the administration of any public body or local authority;

(b) the administration of any law or the administration of justice;

(c) the conduct of any public officer; or

(d) any matter in respect of which an inquiry will, in his opinion, be in the public interest or be in the interest of public safety or welfare, the President may, by warrant under the Public Seal of the Republic of Sri Lanka, establish a Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry consisting of such member or members, each of whom shall be a Judge of the Supreme Court or of any other court not below a District Court as shall be specified in the warrant, to inquire, into and report upon such administration, conduct or matter.

(1A) A warrant issued under subsection (1) may relate to any period whatsoever including any period before the date of commencement of this Law.

[S 2(1A) ins by s 2(1) of Act 4 of 1978.]

(2) Every warrant issued under this Law 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;

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

(e) require the rendering of such reports, including interim reports, as to the Commission may appear fit.

(3) Where, before the proceedings of any Commission are concluded, any member of that Commission reaches the age of retirement provided by law for retirement, he shall, notwithstanding such retirement, continue to Hold office as a member of that Commission, until the conclusion of the proceedings of that Commission.

(4) It shall be lawful for the President to state in the warrant the terms of reference of the Commission in general terms and it shall be competent for the Commission to determine the scope of the inquiry and to select specific matters which, in the opinion of the Commission, should be inquired into and reported upon, and accordingly the terms of reference so set out may refer to the matters that should be inquired into and reported upon without limit1 on or restriction in relation to one or more or all of the matters set out in subsection (1) in the manner set out or substantially in the manner set out in the said subsection.

[S 2(4) am by s 2(2) of Act 4 of 1978.]

(5) Where a warrant establishing a Commission is issued by the President under the preceding provisions of this section, such warrant shall be final and conclusive and shall not be called in question in any court or tribunal by way of writ or otherwise.

3. Appointment of new members.

(1) Where any member of a Commission dies, or resigns, or desires to be discharged from the performance of his duties in respect of the whole or part of an inquiry, or refuses or becomes unable to act, the President may appoint a new member in his place for the whole or any part of such inquiry.

(2) Until such appointment is made, the inquiry may continue before the remaining members of the Commission, and if no such appointment is made, the inquiry shall continue and be concluded before the remaining members of the Commission.

(3) Where 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 and the Commission shall be entitled to continue its proceedings from the stage at which they were immediately prior to such appointment:

Provided, however, that where a Commission consists of only one member, the inquiry shall commence de novo.

4. Enlargement of time.

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

5. Alteration, of amendment or revocation of warrant.

The President may at any time alter for the purposes of section 3 or section 4, or amend in any manner the terms of reference of, or revoke, any warrant issued under this Law.

6. Change of President.

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

7. Powers of Commission and additional powers that may be conferred at the request of the Commission.

(1) A Commission established under this Law 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;

(c) to summon any person to attend any meeting of the Commission to give evidence or produce any document or other thing in his possession, and to examine him as a witness or require him to produce any document or other thing in his possession;

(d) notwithstanding any of the provisions of the Evidence Ordinance, or of any other written law, to admit any evidence, whether written or oral, which might be inadmissible in any court in civil or criminal proceedings;

(e) subject to any direction contained in the warrant—

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