Speaker issues clarification on OSB

Wednesday, 7 February 2024 00:45 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Office underscores collaborative nature of legislative proceedings which minimises possibility of any enactment contravening constitution
  • Provides an exhaustive explanation of procedural intricacies involved in passing a Bill
  • Urges MPs to, if true, specify any alleged oversight or dismissal of recommendations for appropriate review and response

In response to growing concerns and misinformation surrounding the enactment of the Online Safety Act, No. 9 of 2024, the Office of the Speaker released a statement yesterday aiming to provide clarity on the process and legality of the Act’s passage.

The statement comes amidst widespread discussions and criticisms regarding the Act’s provisions and the manner in which it was passed. The Office said the statement is being issued in the interest of the public, to set the record straight on the passing and the subsequent enactment of the act. 

The statement elucidates the process of challenging bills before the Supreme Court, as per Article 121 of the Constitution and it emphasises the subsequent submission of determinations to the Speaker and their announcement in Parliament.

Commenting on the various allegations, the Office underscored the collaborative nature of legislative proceedings, involving both the Attorney General’s Department and the Legal Draftsman’s Department. It said this joint effort ensures adherence to Supreme Court determinations and minimises the possibility of any legislative enactment contravening constitutional provisions. 

“There is no opportunity to act in a manner that is not in accordance with a Supreme Court determination regarding a Bill or in violation of the Constitution,” the statement read 

The Speaker’s Office provided an exhaustive explanation of the procedural intricacies involved in passing a Bill, aiming to clarify misconceptions and dispel any misinformation circulating among the public. Stressing the commitment to transparency and accuracy, the Office sought to ensure that citizens are well-informed and not misled. Moreover, it reiterated that the Online Safety Bill was indeed enacted in alignment with the directives of the Supreme Court. 

In response to lingering scepticism from certain parliamentarians, the Office urged them to specify any alleged oversight or dismissal of recommendations for appropriate review and response. Highlighting the Speaker’s limited authority in such matters, the statement underscored that parliamentary decisions are not subject to individual discretion but are bound by established protocols and legal frameworks.