Oct 23

வட மாகாண சபைத் தேர்தல்

அடுத்துவரும் மாகாண சபைத் தேர்தலில், மத மாற்றத் தடைக்கான நிலைச் சட்டத்தை இயற்றும் மாகாண சபையைத் தெரியுமாறு, இந்த மண்ணின் நெடிய வரலாற்றினூடாகத் தமிழ்த் தேசியத்தைப் பேணிக் காக்கும் சைவ சமயிகளை அழைக்கிறேன்.

5,000 ஆண்டுகளுக்கு மேலாகச் செதுக்கித் திருத்தி வந்த நாகரிக வளர்ச்சிசார் தமிழர் மரபுகள், வழமைகள், பழக்க வழக்கங்கள், இலக்கியங்கள், இசை, நாட்டிய, நாடக, ஓவிய, சிற்பக் கலைகள், கோயில் கட்டடக் கலை, நுண் கலைகள், காலக் கணிதம், வானியல், மருத்துவம், அறிவி

யல் தொழிநுட்பப் புலமைகள், இயற்றலும் ஈட்டலும் காத்தலும் காத்த வகுத்தலும் வல்ல சட்டம் ஒழுங்குசார் ஆட்சித் திறன், யாவற்றையும் நம் தலைமுறையில் காக்கவும் பேணவும் எழுகின்ற தலைமுறைகளுக்குக் கொடுக்கவும் மத மாற்றத் தடைக்கான நிலைச் சட்டத்தை வட மாகாண சபை இயற்றுவதாக.

நேற்று மேற்கு மாகாணம், இன்று கி்ழக்கு மாகாணம் எனத் தமிழர் இழந்து வருவது போல நாளை வடக்கு மாகாணத்தையும் தமிழர் இழக்காமல் காக்க, கடந்த 400 ஆண்டுகால மதமாற்றக் கொடுமையைத் தடுக்க, மத மாற்றத் தடைக்கான நிலைச் சட்டத்தை இயற்ற ஆதரவு, ஊக்கம் தரும் வேட்பாளர்களையே தமிழ் மக்கள் மாகாண சபைக்குத் தேர்ந்து அனுப்புக.

அத்தகைய நிலைச் சட்டத்திற்கான மாதிரி வரைவு (ஆங்கிலத்தில்) அடுத்த பக்கங்களில் உள.


மறவன்புலவு க. சச்சிதானந்தன்

அமைப்பாளர், சிவ சேனை, NORTHERN PROVINCIAL COUNCIL 

A Statute to make provisions for protection of persons against forced and/or coercive conversion.

Recognizing the right of freedom of religion of all persons;

Recognizing the right of freedom to marry and freedom of choice of marriage of all persons; 

Recognizing that forced and/or coercive conversion, an abhorrent, violent offence, as an issue that has become prevalent across the Northern Province of Sri Lanka and must be eliminated; 

Recognizing the importance of tolerance, peace and respect for all religions and persons, irrespective of their religion; 

Whereas it is necessary to criminalize forced and/or coercive conversions and provide for protection for those who are victims of this abhorrent practice; 

Whereas the Constitution of Sri Lanka provides and protects the right of all persons to choose and practice their own religion and the freedom of choice of marriage; 

Whereas the Government of Sri Lanka is obligated to fulfil its commitments under International Human Rights Conventions including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Child Rights, Convention for the elimination of all Discrimination Against Women, International Convention of Civil and Political Rights and International Convention of the Economic, Cultural and Social Rights,

And for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto;

It is hereby enacted as follows:

1. Title of Statute 

(1) This Statute may be called the Protection of Tamils, Saivaites and Hindus Statute No. ??? of 201?

(2) It extends to the whole of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka.

(3) It shall come into force at once. 

Chapter I - Definitions

2. Definition 

(1) In this Statute, unless there is anything repugnant in the subject or context,

(a) “Abettor” means as defined in Chapter 5 of the Sri Lankan Penal Code Ordinance;

(b) “Accused” means any person against whom a charge of forced or coercive conversion is being laid against;

(c) “Adult” means any person who is above the age of 18 years;

(d) “Aggrieved person” means any person who has been directly or indirectly adversely affected by an offence of forced and/or coercive conversion;

(e) “Child” means any person under the age of eighteen years;

(f) “Child marriage” means child marriage as defined in Sri Lankan Marriage Ordinance, Section 15 subs by S 2 of Act 18 of 1995 read along with S 22(1)(a) am by S 2 of Act 12 of 1997. 

(g) “Child Protection Institute” means any such government facility or registered voluntary organization established for the admission, care, protection and rehabilitation of persons, particularly children and women and may include remand houses, shelter homes, borstal institutions etc.

(h) “Code” means the Code of Criminal Procedure of Sri Lanka.

(i) “Coercion” means using (1) base, contemptible, despicable, dirty, disreputable propaganda inducements, (2) conversion oriented humanitarian service including inducing vulnerable patients in hospitals and targeting the sick, ailing people and their families promising unscientific, non-medical, superstitious healing, (3) financial inducements, in the form of cash to meet unexpected expenditures of the poor, (4) material inducements in the form of cooking provisions, cooked food, drink, (5) admissions to educational institution, vocational training institution, facilitating employment, housing, land, vehicle, boat, livestock, (6) any form of threat, including threat to life, health, property, livestock, employment, education, marriage, (7) desecration and attacks on places of worship, intimidation, bullying, threats of hell, hellfire or eternal sins along with baits of place in heaven. 

(j) “Consent” means informed and voluntary consent that is given freely without any coercion, undue influence, fraud or misrepresentation by an adult with full knowledge of the implications of the consent and any alternatives.

(k) “Conversion” or “Convert” means when a person adopts new religious beliefs that defer from the person’s previous beliefs;

(l) “Court” means any Court notified by the Provincial Government for the purposes of this Statute;

(m) “Duress” means a threat of harm, whether physical, psychological or emotional, made to compel a person to do something against his or her will or judgment;

(n) “Force” means power, violence, or physical, emotional or psychological pressure directed against a person or a thing;

(o) “Forced marriage” means a marriage where one or both parties have not given their consent and is prohibited under Sri Lankan Marriage Ordinance;

(p)“Government” means the Northern Provincial Council and/or Government of Sri Lanka;

(q) “Informer” means a person who has credible information that an offence is about to be or is being or has been committed under this Statute and who has no interest adverse to the victim or to the accused;

(r) “Major” means a person who has attained the age of 18;

(s) “Minor” means a person below the age of 18;

(t) “Notification” means a notification published in the Official Gazette;

(u) “Prescribed” means prescribed by the rules made under this Statute;

(v) “Service provider” means any such government facility or registered voluntary organization established for the protection of victim providing shelter, legal, medical, financial or any other assistance;

(w) “Threat” means a communicated intent to inflict harm or loss on another person or on another person’s property or relative or member of their community, especially one that might diminish a person’s freedom to act voluntarily or with lawful consent;

(x) “Victim” means any person who is subjected to forced and/or coercive conversion as defined under this Statute;

(2) Words and phrases not defined in this Statute shall have the same meaning as assigned to them in the Sri Lankan Penal Code, and the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Chapter II - Role of Government

3. Role of Government 

(1) Government shall ensure that -

(a) a notification is issued to all law enforcement agencies, relevant bodies, institutions, committees and commissions to ensure the enforcement of this Statute;

(b) this Statute and the contents thereof receive wide publicity through electronic, social and print media in Sinhala, Tamil and English languages;

(c) the Government officers, the police and the members of the judicial service are given periodic sensitization and awareness training on the issues addressed by this Statute;

(d) effective protocols are formulated by the concerned Ministries and Departments which may include those relating to Tamils, Saivaites and Hindus, health, education, social welfare and labour, to address the issue of forced and/or coercive conversion and that the same are periodically revised;

(e) support services which shall include but not be limited to shelter, legal aid, medical aid etc., are made available for the support of victim;

(f) create shelters specifically for victims of forced and/or coercive conversion;

(g) specific Courts are notified to hear cases of forced and/or coercive conversion. Until such notifications are issued, Courts of competent jurisdiction shall hear any cases falling under this Statute; and

(h) any other role it deems appropriate for the proper implementation of this Statute.

(2) The Government may notify a particular Commission, Committee or institution with a primary focus on human rights, to oversee and ensure the implementation of this Statute.

(3) The Government shall provide additional budget, infrastructure, resources and staff for the Commission, Committee or institution notified under sub-section (2).

Chapter III - Age of Conversion

4. Age of Conversion

(1) No person shall be deemed to have changed their religion until they attain the age of a major.

(2) Any minor who claims to have changed his/her religion before becoming a major shall not be deemed to have changed his/her religion and no action shall be taken against him or her for any such claim or action made by the minor.

(3) sub-sections (1) and (2) shall extend to circumstances where the parents or guardians of the minor decide to change the religion of the family.

Chapter IV - Definition and Punishment

5. Definition of Forced Conversion 

Forced and/or coercive conversion means inducing a person to adopt another religion through service and/or material provisions, distribution of propaganda material and/or forcing a person to adopt another religion under duress, force, coercion or threat.

Explanation: Any such inducement, propagation, duress, force, coercion or threat may be directed against a member of the victim’s family, loved one, community or property.

Explanation: A forced and/or coercive conversion can take place through different modes which shall include but not be limited to marriage, bonded labour etc.

6. Punishment for Forced and/or Coercive Conversion

(1) Any person who forcefully and/or coercively converts another person in a manner identified in Section 5 of this Statute shall be liable to imprisonment of either description for a minimum of five years and maximum of life imprisonment and a fine and/or compensation to be paid to the victim.

(2) Whoever performs, conducts, directs, brings about or in any way facilitates a marriage having knowledge that either or both parties are victims of forced and/or coercive conversion shall be liable to imprisonment of either description for minimum three years and a fine and/or compensation to be paid to the victim.

Explanation: This shall include any persons who have provided the logistical support and any other essential services etc. for the marriage ceremony.

(3) Any person who is an abettor to a forced and/or coercive conversion shall be liable to imprisonment of either description for a minimum of five years and a fine and/or compensation to be paid to the victim.

(4) In a case of forced and/or coercive conversion, the accused, in addition to a charge of forced and/or coercive conversion shall also be liable, where applicable, for offences which may include but not be limited to:

a) Child marriage, Forced marriage under Sri Lankan Marriage Ordinance; 

b) Wrongful Confinement under Sri Lankan Penal Code; 

c) Rape under Sections of the Sri Lankan Penal Code; 

d) Kidnapping, abducting or inducing a woman to compel for marriage etc. under Sri Lankan Marriage Ordinance; 

e) Kidnapping or abducting from lawful guardianship under Sri Lankan Penal Code; 

f) Kidnapping or abducting a person under the age of fourteen under Sri Lankan Penal Code;

g) Kidnapping or abducting in order to subject person to grievous hurt, slavery etc. under Sri Lankan Penal Code; 

h) Bonded labour under relevant sections of the Bonded Labour System under section 11 of the Constitution of Sri Lanka 1978; and section 358 of the Sri Lankan Penal Code, and

i) Any other law for the time being in force.

Chapter V- Mechanisms of Complaint

7. Petition to Court 

(1) A victim, aggrieved person or any person authorized by the victim or an informer may present a petition to the Court within whose jurisdiction -

(i) the aggrieved person or victim resides or carries on business;

(ii) the accused resides or carries on business;

(2) The Court shall fix the first date of hearing, which shall not exceed seven days from the date of the receipt of the petition by the Court.

(3) On receipt of such petition, the Court shall, with or without issuing an interim order, issue a notice upon the accused calling upon him to show cause within seven days of receipt of notice.

(4) Any such notice shall be issued as per law by all modes at once, namely, through Court registrar, pasting, publication and courier all at once and if notice is served by any one of these modes, the notice shall be deemed to have been served. 

(5) Any case of forced and/or coercive conversion before the Court shall be disposed off within a period of ninety days and any adjournment given during the hearing of the petition shall be granted for reasons to be recorded in writing by the Court.

Provided that the Court may take cognizance of any written complaint registered and recorded with the police.

Chapter VI - Rescue, Custody and Special Procedures in Cases of Forced Conversion 

8. Rescue and recovery of victim

A police officer or any person given such authority under the law upon receiving information of a case of forced and/or coercive conversion may upon investigation take into custody the victim and produce her or him before the Court within twenty-four hours of taking the person into such custody.

9. Warrant to search

(1) If it appears to a Court from information received on oath or solemn affirmation laid by any person who, in the opinion of the Court, is acting in the interest of the victim that there is reasonable cause to suspect that an offense of forced and/or coercived conversion has been or is being committed or unless immediate steps be taken, will be committed, the Court may make orders to any police officer or any person authorized under the law to search for such alleged victim and if it is found that the person is a victim or intended victim of forced conversion, to remove her or him and deal with her or his custody in accordance with the provisions of the Statute and Rules.

(2) The officer executing the warrant may be accompanied by the person laying the information, and may also, if the Court by whom the warrant is issued so directs, be accompanied by the police or any person so authorized by the law or Court or by both.

(3) The Court issuing a warrant under this section may in its discretion by the same warrant direct that any person accused of an offence under this Statute be apprehended and brought before it.

10. Temporary custody

(1) Where a victim or an accused is taken into custody in accordance with Section 8 or 9, she or he shall immediately be produced before the Court and if immediate production of the victim or accused before the Court is not possible due to any reason, the victim shall immediately be taken to the nearest shelter home of a service provider or a child protection institute; and the accused shall be immediately taken to the nearest police station within the jurisdiction of the Court till her or his production before the Court within the stipulated time.

(2) In cases of alleged forced conversion through marriage of a child, the Court shall:

(a) make certain whether the victim is a child;

(b) upon being satisfied that the victim is a child, place the child in the custody of the parents or guardian of the child, unless the Court has reason to believe that this may not be in the best interests of the child;

(c) provide in writing, reasons for not placing the child in the custody of his or her parents or guardians;

(d) ensure temporary custody in a child protection institute during pendency of the trial if the child is not being placed in the custody of parents or guardians; and 

(e) ensure that the custody of the child shall not be given to the alleged spouse, his or her family or any person connected therewith, recognizing that child marriages are a criminal offence. 

(3) In cases of alleged forced and/or coercive conversion through marriage of an adult, the victim shall be given temporary custody in a shelter home of a service provider during the pendency of the trial, unless she or he can provide a cogent reason to the contrary.

(4) While providing temporary custody as per sub-section 2 and 3, the Court may use its discretion in the interest of security, to withhold the information of the location of where the victim is residing from any person with the exception of necessary official personnel.

(5) Any person who discloses the location of where the victim is residing in contravention of the orders of the Court shall be liable to penalties as contempt of Court as under the Contempt of Court Act and any other penalties seen fit by the Court. 

(6) The victim in temporary custody identified in sub-sections (2) and (3) may be allowed to meet her or his parents, guardians, husband, intended bridegroom or in laws only upon her or his voluntary written consent.

Provided that any such meeting shall be supervised by a police officer or a senior employee of the service provider or child protection institution or any other person authorized by the Court.

Provided further that any such meeting may be given police protection at the discretion of the Court. 

11. Allowing Time for True Decision of Any Person

(1) In cases of alleged forced conversion of an adult, the Court shall allow the alleged victim twenty one (21) days for an independent decision regarding conversion to a new religion before initiating a case of forced and/or coercive conversion under this Statute. 

(2) During this time period, he or she may be provided the opportunity to study comparative religions if he or she desires. 

(3) Provisions of temporary custody identified in Section 10 of this Statute shall apply during this time period. 

(4) Upon completion of the time period, the alleged victim shall record a statement before the Court stating whether he or she has converted his or her religion with his or her own consent and will. 

(5) Upon the request and consent of an adult victim to the Court, the provisions of subsection (1) may be by-passed and a case of forced and/or coercive conversion may be initiated immediately. 

12. Special Measures may be Adopted 

(1) Special measures may be put in place in cases of forced and/or coercive conversion during the investigation and trial of the matter at the discretion of the Court. These special measures may include but not be limited to:

(i) Holding the trial in a different and secure location with the approval of the Court; 

(ii) Witholding the location of where the victim is residing from any person with the exception of necessary official personnel; 

(iii) Taking the victim’s statement and evidence in a secure location approved by the Court; 

(iv) Providing police protection during transport of the victim to and from Court; 

(v) Passing an order or injunction to prohibit removal of the victim from jurisdiction of the Court or police station; 

(vi) Able to conduct an in-camera trial or any other necessary order as per the circumstances; Initiate immediate and fast tracked divorce proceedings upon the consent of the victim of forced and/or coercive conversion through marriage if the accused is found guilty. 

(2) The Court shall take appropriate measures to provide adequate security to the prosecution witnesses, investigating officers, prosecutors, the victim, her or his family and the Judges during the pendency of investigation and trial, and if necessary, post the trial.

13. Presence of Persons in cases involving a child 

(1) No person shall be present at any sitting of a Court involving a case of a child with the exception of those identified in the Statute hereunder:

(i) the members and officers of the Court;

(ii) the parties to the case before the Court and other persons directly concerned in the case including the police officers; and

(iii) such other persons as the Court specially authorizes to be present.

14. Withdrawal of Persons from Courts. 

If at any stage during the course of a trial of a case or proceeding, a Court considers it expedient in the best interest of the victim to direct any person, including the parent, guardian or the victim’s spouse, supporters etc., to withdraw, the Court may give such direction and thereupon such person shall withdraw. If any person refuses to withdraw, the Court may take steps to remove him or her and hold him or her in contempt of Court as under the Contempt of Court Act.

15. Withdrawal of Persons from Court during Examination 

(1) If at any stage during the course of a trial of a case, when the victim is examined, any Court trying the case or holding the proceeding may direct such persons as it thinks fit, not being parties to the case or proceeding their legal advisors and the officers concerned with the case or proceeding, to withdraw. Such persons shall then withdraw. If any person refuses to withdraw, the Court may take steps to remove him and hold him in contempt of Court as under the Contempt of Court Act.

(2) The Court may use its discretion and allow the examination of the victim to be conducted in camera, through video link, in a secure location approved by the Court or with the use of screens or employ any other such means if necessary in the best interests of the victim.

16. Prohibition on Publication of Names, Addresses, etc., of Children and Persons of Unsound Mind Involved in Cases or Proceedings 

No report in any newspaper, magazine, news sheet or any mode of electronic or social media of any case or proceeding in any Court in which a child or a person of unsound mind is involved, shall disclose the name, address or school or include any particulars calculated to lead directly or indirectly to the identification of any such child or person of unsound mind, nor shall any picture be published as being or including a picture of any such child or person of unsound mind in their best interests.

Provided that for reasons to be recorded in writing, the Court trying the case or holding the proceeding may permit the disclosure of the name or any other approved information relating to the case or proceedings, if in its opinion such disclosure is in the interest of the welfare of the child or person of unsound mind and is not likely to have an adverse effect.

17. Cases involving Child Marriages 

(1) In cases involving child marriages, provisions of the Sri Lankan Marriage Ordinance and its rules shall be applicable in addition to the provisions of this Statute. 

(2) For purposes of expediency, the cases under the Sri Lankan Marriage Ordinance and this Statute may be clubbed and heard simultaneously.

18. Offences to be cognizable, non-bailable and non-compoundable 

An offence punishable under this Statute shall be cognizable, non-bailable and non-compoundable.

19. Rules of Procedure. 

Save as otherwise provided in this Statute, all proceedings taken and offences committed under the provisions of this Statute, shall be governed by the Code of Criminal Procedure.

20. Presumption of Good Faith. 

No suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings shall lie against any public servant, informer service provider or child protection institute for anything which is done in good faith or purported to be done under this Statute.

21. The provisions of this Statute shall be in addition to, and not in derogation of, any other law for the time being in force.

22. Power to make rules 

Government may by notification in the Official Gazette make rules for carrying out the purposes of this Statute.

23. Removal of Difficulties 

If any difficulty arises in giving effect to any provision of this Statute, Government may make an order not inconsistent with the provisions of this Statute to remove the said difficulty.