The detention of minor convicts at Prez’s pleasure in lieu of death sentence to be revoked
BY Pamodi WaravitaThe Ministerial Consultative Committee on Justice will be presenting a Bill in Parliament today (21) to amend the Penal Code to yet again revoke the death sentence being given to minors and to replace the sentencing of such convicted minors to be detained at the President’s pleasure, as is currently the case, with custodial sentences. The Parliament Media stated yesterday (20) that Section 53 of the Penal Code will be amended to read: “Sentence of death shall not be pronounced on or recorded against any person who is under the age of 18 years, at the time of the commission of an offence by such person.”Further, the amendment states that the relevant court shall, in lieu of sentencing such person to death, sentence him/her to be detained in an institution established under any written law for the detention of persons under the age of 18 years, for a period specified in the sentence and subject to the provisions of such written law.Section 53 of the Penal Code presently reads: “Sentence of death shall not be pronounced on or recorded against any person who, in the opinion of the court, is under the age of 18 years; but, in lieu of that punishment, the court shall sentence such person to be detained during the President’s pleasure.”The Committee has further decided to present the Youthful Offenders (Training Schools) (Amendment) Bill in Parliament today. According to the Parliament Media, this Bill aims to amend the Youthful Offenders (Training Schools) Ordinance for the “purposes of being gender neutral” and to “amend the age limit previously established as below 18 to be between 18-22 years”. Justice Minister President’s Counsel M.U.M. Ali Sabry; Education Reforms, Open Universities, and Distance Learning Promotion State Minister Susil Premajayantha; Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Government Parliamentarians Sagara Kariyawasam, Dr. Suren Raghavan, and Madhura Withanage; Justice Ministry Secretary M.M.P.K. Mayadunne, and other officials had been present at the said Consultative Committee meeting held on 15 October.