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Political Offenders, Ceylon

Volume 440: debated on Wednesday 16 July 1947

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31

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has observed that the Ceylon State Council on 14th May passed a resolution calling for the amendment of Section (13) (3) (f) of the Constitution Order of 1946 in order to remove the disqualification of political offenders; and whether, in view of this new fact and of the general desire in Ceylon for this amendment, he will now make the amendment, or take other steps to secure that political offenders shall be eligible for election to the new legislature.

The answer to the first part of the Question is in the affirmative. As regards the second part, in the absence of any specific recommendation from the Governor I propose to take no action in the matter.

32.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will give early and sympathetic consideration, in the light of the desire expressed by the State Council of Ceylon and by Ceylon public opinion generally that convictions for political offences should not he a bar to membership of the Ceylon Legislature, to the petition just made to him by Dr. Wickremasinghe for a free pardon for a political offence committed by him some years ago.

If the hon. and learned Member is referring to a telegram which I have just received from the person in question requesting the grant of a free pardon, I have not been furnished with any recommendations from the Governor on his request, and, in the information before me, I regret that I am unable to vary the attitude stated in my reply to the hon. and learned Member on 22nd January.