The Task Force on the Prevention and Elimination of Violence Against Women and Female Children/Girls last week claimed that Chief Justice, K. Sripavan was yet to provide guidelines concerning the sentencing policy with regards to statutory rape.
The said Task Force, which was appointed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had already written to the Chief Justice for the guidelines on the issue. Chairperson of the said Task Force, former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Colombo, Emeritus Professor of Law, Prof. Savitri Goonesekere remarked that there were many research studies done addressing the issue, all of which pointed out to the fact that there was a lot of leniency with regards to sentencing on statutory rape, a matter which affected children. “We recommend that there be guidelines on sentencing,” she said. Open ended discretion with regards to sentencing must be halted, she added.
It must be noted that though there are minimum mandatory sentences stipulated by law, in certain cases (in a case which occurred in 2003 or 2004 in Anuradhapura and in 2015 in Kurunegala) suspended sentences have been allowed by the apex, superior Court.
“This is a big problem in the country at present,” she highlighted.