31 October, 2020

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Police Powers Of The Provincial Councils

By R.M.B Senanayake

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

APPENDIX I

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:

LIST I

(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

SCHEDULE

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.

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    In practice the Police powers are still under the central government by chain of command, ie DS > IGP > DIG > SSP > ASP > OIC. In addition there is the STF. Unless structural changes are effected this will continue. So there is no danger of the Police being hijacked by the PC’s.

    How the PC’s will excercise control is not spelled out.

  • 0
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    yes, the provincial giovernment snever had police powers und er the 13th A. anyway. Now they are making all this fuss. What for? Just to create a diversion.

  • 0
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    On the one and you guys accuse the PS and PC .members , ministers , chairmen and even CMs as Drug Barons, Racketeers,Commission Agents,Gang Leaders , Murders and Rapists.

    Now you demand the Govt to give them their own Police .

    Inhabitants have enough problems with the one police .

    If one is to believe you guys, they are even worse.

    And you reckon it will be all sweet, because it is all in the “book”.

    You will have to wait , I am afraid till your side of politics take over , because the great majority of the inhabitant population will knock it on the head.

    • 0
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      K.A Sumanasekera

      “On the one and you guys accuse the PS and PC .members , ministers , chairmen and even CMs as Drug Barons, Racketeers,Commission Agents,Gang Leaders , Murders and Rapists.”

      Firstly if you are concerned about all the above I suggest you urge your rulers to abolish the state.

      Secondly what are you doing about all those complaints?

      Can you spend some time away from CT, preferably a spell in the jungle to think through the whole process of governance, nation building,justice, transparency, accountability, …………?

      Come back and tell us how stupid you were before you actually contemplated the issues, that rest of the majority of inhabitants do seriously care about.

      In case if you don’t come back, not many people in this forum would miss you.

    • 0
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      KAS it is for these very same reasons that police powers are needed by the PCs. The Central Government has not controlled crime but exacerbated it with political interference and corruption.

    • 0
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      Leela,

      “..On the one and you guys accuse the PS and PC .members , ministers , chairmen and even CMs as Drug Barons, Racketeers,Commission Agents,Gang Leaders , Murders and Rapists.

      Now you demand the Govt to give them their own Police ..”

      You are talking about the provinces controlled by your own kind. But the issue in question is with provinces where Tamils live. Tamils will look after their own affairs, don’t worry about it. Mind your own provinces and people who are corrupt beyond any rescue!

    • 0
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      K A Sumana wathie

      This time They are going to give direct contract to D I G AND ABOVE for Abduction , looting, Ransom taking and killings.

      With your handlers, Governing Bosses,[ Wermin, kudu duminda, sarath kumara, Douglas, Pillyan like] You can participate as an Adviser for National / Central police for all crimes.

  • 0
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    Mr. RMB, you have highlighted only “the use of any armed forces” which is only a part of the clause and appear thus to have taken it out of context. Doesn’t “under the control of the Government of Sri Lanka” also qualify “any armed forces”? If so, does it not leave it open to any criminal or lunatic Chief Minister to organize his or her own Armed Force?

  • 0
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    When the political leader of the Elite and the anti Rajapaksa brigades was in power, he used our own Police to provide cover for Prabakaran’s LTTE under cover agents to annihilate the whole unit of our brave Intelligence Officers although this was absolutely Haram according to Mr Senanayaka’s schedule.

    Would a TNA Police protect our soldiers in Barracks in the North from the leftover or regrown LTTE under cover agents who may want to sneak in?.

    • 0
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      K.A Sumanasekera

      “he used our own Police to provide cover for Prabakaran’s LTTE under cover agents to annihilate the whole unit of our brave Intelligence Officers”

      Intelligence Officers, don’t kid yourself. Show me one intelligent person among your stupid people leave alone Officers.

    • 0
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      KAS You know that Prabhakaran’s LTTE was a terrorist dictatorship. The PCs do not have an army. You know that too isn’t it.

  • 0
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    “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.” (RMBS)

    National policemen are presently on duty travelling in white vans and “monitoring proper execution of contract killings”. So devolved police powers are executed in full. Why bother about “devolving”?

  • 0
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    Fairplay
    i am not sure whether your interpretation applying the extension to cover any armed force is the valid interpretation. Perhaps a lawyer is in a better position to clarify. But even if your interpretation is correct aren’t there sufficient powers for the National Police with regard to maintaining public order and taking action in case of sedition. Didn’t the Varatharaja Perumal episode show that the Central Government could take action in case the PC acted against the Constitution ?
    R.M.B Senanayake

    • 0
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      RMB! It is best for a Court to interpret statutes. Did Varatharaja Perumal have any army with sophisticated weapons? Didn’t it take the government almost thirty years and a huge loss of lives to suppress Prabhakaran (who was not even a PC member) and his army? Will not the Tamil Diaspora (and perhaps also certain unfriendly countries) “bankroll” any Provincial Council that starts an army in the near future?

  • 0
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    Mr K.A Sumanasekera is perhaps referring to the Premadass era episode where 600 soldiers were asked to surrender to the LTTE. That was an unprincipled decision and put too much faith in the LTTE a faith they did not deserve, But can the same be said of a democratically elected party in power who are not committed to violence? At some point we have to trust the Tamil people while being vigilant. I think the Tamil people would prefer to be part of a larger Sri Lankan State than have their own Eelam unless they are driven to it for want of an alternative. i have seen the larger mass of Sinhalese people are not racists. It is not that the Sinalese politicians are racists either. But politicians being politicians they want to monopolize power and will not agree to reduce their powers through any devolution whether to the Sinhales or Tamil PCs.

    • 0
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      Thank you Mr Senanayka for your response.

      I totally agree with you that the great majority of the Sinhala inhabitant population are not racists.

      I am willing to go even further and say they haven’t and will not use the equivalents of Black B…. & Blacks C….. to insult other races

      The main issue is Do the PCs need their own Police

      Can they be trusted with their own Police to serve the country to the benefit and upliftment of all inhabitants soon after a 30 year long bloody terrorism,?.

      Here I like to quote from the heaviest of the heavy hitters from your side of Politics, Mr Ravi Karunanayaka from his most recent interview in the print media..

      ” No problem with own Police for Tamils in the North and the East.But not the other Seven Bandits”.

      “Rajapaksa has two third majority under his belt, Why doesn’t he give 13 A in full”

      I am sure you know very well what his and his Boss’s ulterior motives are.

      But for the benefit of our ordinary punters I like say, what would be more juicier than telling the inhabitants that Rajapaksa bent over to the LTTE proxies and divided the country when the UNP activsts are on the hustings in their current grassroota campaign in the village.

      On the other hand, Mr Sambnada’s agenda is to give Ranil a helping hand , because ,it is the UNP that the West want to run the show for the inhabitants.

      Why don’t the TNA partners hold back these controvercial demands for the time being , win the Election,improve the stock and then convince the inhabitants that they can even do better if they have the Police an Land to themselves.

      That may even convince the UNP Heavy Hitter that the other Bandits perhaps can do the same even if they happen to be their own.

  • 0
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    Police and Judicial powers are exercised by the army though this is not in the constitution.
    This is the reality in the NPC and EPC areas.
    Ignoring this like the ‘proverbial ostrich’ and pontificating on what should be,is useless.

  • 0
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    Are those who are opposing police powers worried that a small contingent of police force will be able to overpower the mighty military of Sri Lanka which is boasting of winning the war against the worst terrorist organization?

    Even if the ruling regime thinks this is possible, why won’t they get an agreement from Indian and US governments to protect Sri Lanka. What about the agreement signed with the Chinese recently where one of the clauses was for the Chinese to protect Sri Lanka against separation and terrorism? Does the ruling regime have questions that Chinese may not full fill their obligations under the agreement?

    Only reason why the ruling regime is worried about police powers is that they cannot do what they are doing using the police to intimidate the people of the land, media and opposing politicians.

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