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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Sri Lanka: Here are the powers Gotabaya Rajapaksa has acquired under the “State of Emergency”

Under the Emergency regulations proclaimed by president Gotabaya Rajapaksa on 30 August 202I president becomes all powerful.

No emergency regulation, and no order, rule or direction made or given thereunder shall be called in question in any court. An emergency regulation or any order or rule made in pursuance of such a regulation shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in any law.

Here is the relevant section of the PUBLIC SECURITY ORDINANCE of Sri Lanka.

PART II
EMERGENCY REGULATIONS
5. Power of President to make emergency regulations.

(1) The President may make such regulations (hereinafter referred to as “emergency regulations” as appear to him to be necessary or expedient in the interests of public security and the preservation of public order and the suppression of mutiny, riot or civil commotion, or for the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the life of the community. [S 5(1) subs by s 3 of Law 6 of 1978.]

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of the powers conferred by the preceding subsection, emergency regulations may, so far as appears to the President to be necessary or expedient for any of the purpose mentioned in that subsection—
(a) authorise and provide for the detention of persons;
(b) authorise—
(i) the taking of possession or control, on behalf of the State, of any property or undertaking;
(ii) the acquisition on behalf of the State of any property other than land;
(c) authorise the entering and search of any premises;
(d) provide for amending any law, for suspending the operation of any law and for applying any law with or without modification;
(e) provide for charging, in respect of the grant or issue of any license, permit, certificate or other document for the purposes of the regulations, such fee as may be prescribed by or under the regulations;
(f) provide for payment of compensation and remuneration to persons affected by the regulations;
(g) make provisions for the apprehension and punishment of offenders and for their trial by such courts, not being courts martial, and in accordance with such procedure, as may be provided for by the regulations, and for appeals from the orders or decisions of such courts and the hearing and disposal of such appeals.
(3) Any emergency regulation may be added to, or altered or revoked by resolution of Parliament or by regulation made under the preceding provisions of this section.

6. Delegation of powers.
Emergency regulations may provide for empowering such authorities or persons as may be specified in the regulations to make orders and rules for any of the purposes for which such regulations are authorised by this Ordinance to be made, and may contain such incidental and supplementary provisions as appear to the President to be necessary or expedient for the purposes of the regulations.

7. Emergency regulations to prevail over other law.
An emergency regulation or any order or rule made in pursuance of such a regulation shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in any law; and any provision of a law which may be inconsistent with any such regulation or any such order or rule shall, whether that provision shall or shall not have been amended, modified or suspended in its operation under section 5 of this Ordinance, to the extent of such inconsistency have no effect so long as such regulation, order or rule shall remain in force.

8. Regulations, orders not to be called in question in any court.
No emergency regulation, and no order, rule or direction made or given thereunder shall be called in question in any court.

9. Protection in respect of acts done in good faith under any emergency regulation or any order or direction thereunder.
No prosecution or other criminal proceeding against any person for any act purporting to be done under any provision of any emergency regulation or of any order or direction made or given thereunder shall be instituted in any court except by, or with the written sanction of, the Attorney General; and no suit, prosecution or other proceeding, civil or criminal, shall lie against any person for any act in good faith done in pursuance or supposed pursuance of any such provision. [S 9 subs by s 4 of Act 8 of 1959.]

10. Reception of documents in evidence.
Every document purporting to be an instrument made or issued by the President or other
authority or person in pursuance of this Ordinance or of any emergency regulation, and to be signed by or on behalf of the President or such other authority or person, shall be received in evidence, and shall, until the contrary is proved, be deemed to be an instrument made or issued by the President or that authority or person.

11. Regulations to come into force upon being made by the President.
Notwithstanding anything in the Interpretation Ordinance or in any other law, every
emergency regulation shall come into force forthwith upon its being made by the President,
and shall be deemed to be as valid and effective as though it were herein enacted.

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