By R.M.B Senanayake –
The Minister of Economic Development has said that the Government will not agree to the devolution of Police powers to the Provincial Council because it could lead to the creation of a separate Tamil Army.
According to the 13th Amendment only limited Police powers are given to the Provincial Council.
Here is the relevant clause in Appendix 1
Law And Order
1. The subject devolved shall be described as follows: –
Public Order and the exercise of Police powers as set out in this Appendix within the Province, but not including-
(a) national defence ;
(b) national security ; and
(c) the use of any armed forces or any other forces under the control of the Government of Sri Lanka in aid of the civil power.
Doesn’t 1(c) prohibit the creation of any such Army legally? If attempts are made to create such an army illegally doesn’t the Central Government have enough power under 1 (a) and (b) of this Appendix.
There is also the power given to the Central Government to declare an Emergency under (3A).In the NINTH SCHEDULE to the Constitution given below:
(Provincial Council List)
1. Police and Public order. – Public order and the exercise of police powers, to the extent set out in Appendix I, within the Province, but not including National Defence, National Security and the use of any armed forces or any other forces under the control of the Government of Sri Lanka in aid of the civil power, and not including the city of Colombo, Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte, and their environs the limits of which shall be specified by the President by Order published in the Gazette.
“(3A) Nothing in the preceding provisions of this Constitution shall be deemed to prohibit the making of emergency regulations. under the Public Security Ordinance or the law for the time being in force relating to public security, with respect to any matter set out in the Ninth Schedule or having the effect of overriding. amending or suspending the operation of a statute made by a provincial Council.”.
The Provincial Councils are given only limited powers and the following crimes can be investigated only by the National Police as set out in the Schedule below
List of Offences to be investigated by the National Police
1. Offences against the State.
2. Offences relating to the Navy, Army and Air Force.
3. Offences relating to the Elections.
4. Offences relating to Coins, Currency and Government Stamps.
5. Any Offence committed against the President.
6. Any Offence committed against a Public Officer, a Judicial Officer, or the Speaker, or the Prime Minister or a Minister, or a Member of the Judicial Service Commission, or a Member of the Public Service Commission or a Deputy Minister or a Member of Parliament or the Secretary General of Parliament or a Member of the President’s Staff or a Member of the Staff of the Secretary General of Parliament.
7. Any Offence relating to property belonging to the State or a State Corporation or Company or Establishment, the whole or part of the capital whereof has been provided by the State.
8. Any Offence prejudicial to National Security or the maintenance of Essential Services.
9. Any Offence under any law relating to any matter in the Reserve List other than such offences as the President may, by order published in the Gazette, exclude.
10. Any Offence in respect of which Courts in more than one Province have jurisdiction.
11. International Crimes.
National policemen are also stationed in the province but not in uniform except where they are performing the duty of restoring or maintaining public order. So it is not as if there is any no go zone in the province with respect to police functions.