Police Ordinance
Posted on November 29th, 2022

Sugath Kulatunga

There is plenty of discourse on updating and modernizing our bullock cart age systems of administration. The laws of the land are one area that has received attention recently and the previous Minister of Justice did revise a few of the antique provisions in some of the statutes. Unfortunately, the law governing the Police which had been enacted as the Police Ordinance in 1865 still stays in the days of carts and tom-toms in spite of 29 amendments as an Ordinance and 7 times as an Act. One is confused about whether it is still an Ordinance or now an Act of Parliament.  

A few archaic provisions are as follows.

In the past businesses had to pay for the services of the Police. Article 8 of the Ordinance gives examples of such large works liable to pay to include any railway, tramway, manufactory, any plumb ago mining or other commercial business or concern in which a considerable number of artisans, operatives, workmen, coolies, or persons are employed.”

 Article 31 indicates a tax for the creation of a fund for the purposes of meeting the expenses of the police payable by each town.

What is ridiculous is the minimum amount rate to be paid which is given in Article 33 as one rupee which may be reduced in certain places to fifty cents.

 There are 21 Articles related to this anachronistic tax.

 Some of the offenses under Article 63 and the fine of Rs 50 are ridiculous. If Rs 50 is not paid the offender will be given 3 months imprisonment. Some of the offenses are Slaughtering cattle on the streets and riding cattle carelessly.  

The powers of the Police are not well defined to cover current needs. The duties of community police and environmental police are not indicated. Police work on drug control and crowd control are not covered.

It is a sad state that in a service in which there are many legal experts that this important piece of legislation is not updated. It should really be revamped. Sugath Kulatunga

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