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Friday, July 19, 2024

Lawyers’ right at Police stations: Rules gazetted, AG informs SC

Senior State Counsel representing the Attorney General yesterday (5) informed the Supreme Court that the regulations covering the rights of Attorneys-at-Law to represent their clients at Police stations had been gazetted as the rules cited as the Police (Appearance of Attorneys-at-Law at Police Stations) Rules, 2012.

 Senior State Counsel Shanaka Wijesinghe also told Court that the rules, made by the Inspector General of Police, with the approval of the Minister under Section 55 of the Police Ordinance were gazetted on 18 May 2012.

 The rules have been framed sequent to a settlement in a fundamental rights violation petition filed by an aggrieved Attorney-at-Law D.W.C. Mohotti.

 The Bench comprised Justices N.G. Amaratunga, P.A. Ratnayake and Chandra Ekanayake.

 He had cited Bambalapitiya Police OIC, IGP Jayantha Wikcremaratne and National Police Chairman Neville Piyadigama and the Attorney General as Respondents.

 Sanjeeva Jayawardane appeared on behalf of the Petitioner Lawyer where the parties had agreed to settle this matter and the Court had directed the parties to file Terms of Settlement by way of motion.

 The rules published in the Extra Ordinary Gazette notification shall be applicable to every Police station and shall be followed by all Police officers of whatever rank, serving in such stations within Sri Lanka.
 It inter alia states as follows:

1) Every Attorney-at-Law who enters the precincts of a Police station established under the Police Ordinance situated in any part of Sri Lanka, in his capacity of an Attorney-at-Law for the purpose of representing and watching the interests of a person who is the client of such Attorney-at-Law, shall be treated cordially and courteously and given a fair and patient hearing by the police officers attached to such Police station, whatever their rank;

 2) Every Police officer attached to a Police station shall not at any time during which he is dealing with an Attorney-at-Law present in such Police station for the purpose of representing and watching the interest of a person who is his client, use physical force on the person of such Attorney-at-Law or resort to the use abusive language or any other form of intimidatory conduct;

 3) Where an Attorney-at-Law enters a Police station with a person suspected of being involved in the commission of an offence or an act which involves a breach of the peace, for the purpose of surrendering such suspect to the custody of the Police, he shall ensure that he entrusts the suspect to the custody of the officer-in-charge of the Police station or the next officer who is senior in rank, who is present in the Police station at that moment;

 4) Where an Attorney-at-Law surrender a suspect to a Police officer who is present in the Police station at the relevant time, it shall be the duty of such Police officer to record in the Information Book the date and the time and the relevant details of such suspect and the fact that the suspect surrendered in the presence of the said Attorney-at-Law;

 5) No officer of the Police force shall aid or abet any other Police officer, serving in the same Police station to engage in any acts of violation of these rules;

 6) The Inspector General of Police shall cause to be issued to all stations situated island wide copies of these rules. It shall be the responsibility of the officer-in-charge of Police stations to make available copies of these rules to every officer serving in such Police stations and to disseminate information with regard to the content of these rules and to ensure due and strict observance of these rules;

7) (a) There shall be established a four member Special Committee consisting of (i) senior officer of the Attorney General’s Department not below the rank of Additional Solicitor General who shall be the ex-officio Chairman of this Special Committee; (ii) the President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka; (iii) the Director Legal of the Sri Lanka Police Department; and (iv) a serving member of the National Police Commission.

 The Special Committee shall be charged with the function of monitoring and facilitating the due and proper observance of these rules and reporting any breaches thereof to the Inspector General of Police and generally to do all such acts that may promote and foster better relations between the members of the legal profession and the Sri Lanka Police force.
By S.S. Selvanayagam


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