Finality clause in new Act not a good move

It is certainly a good move to list the new offences that come under the ambit of Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act, but some changes mooted in the latest Bill are disconcerting (Detention without trial: Offences to be listed; Jan 10).

The proposal to amend the Act to make the Home Minister's decision final in two aspects - whether a person is linked to criminal activities and whether detention is necessary for reasons of public safety, peace and good order - is not a wise move by the Government.

As mentioned by some lawyers, it would be difficult to challenge the detention in court once suspected criminals have been detained without trial (Some lawyers worried about how Act will be used; Jan 10).

The Government should not enact the finality clause and should leave it to the courts, as it is the right place for the detainee to challenge the Home Minister's decision.

The Government has also stated that as a safeguard, every detention and police supervision order is reviewed by an independent advisory committee.

What is puzzling is that after the committee gives its recommendation, the President may confirm, vary or cancel the order on the advice of the Cabinet.

Why must the Cabinet advise the President? We have an elected President who has been entrusted to make many important decisions.

One would expect the President to be able to make the decision without the influence of the Government.

Rajasegaran Ramasamy

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 12, 2018, with the headline 'Finality clause in new Act not a good move'. Print Edition | Subscribe