Fight against COVID – 19, applicable laws

QUARANTINE AND PREVENTION OF DISEASES
AN ORDINANCE TO MAKE PROVISION FOR PREVENTING THE INTRODUCTION INTO SRI LANKA OF THE PLAGUE AND ALL CONTAGIOUS OR INFECTIOUS DISEASES AND FOR PREVENTING THE SPREAD OF SUCH DISEASES IN AND OUTSIDE SRI LANKA.
Ordinance Nos,

3 of 1897

7 of 1917

14 of 1919

14 of 1920

13 of 1936

11 of 1939

5 of 1941

38 of 1943

Act Nos,

12 of 1952

12 of 2005

[9th February , 1897 ]
Short title.
  1. This Ordinance may be cited as the Quarantine and Prevention of Diseases Ordinance.
Regulations.
  1. The Minister may, from time to time, make, and when made revoke or vary, such regulations as may seem necessary or expedient for the purpose of preventing the introduction into Sri Lanka of any disease, and also preventing the spread of any disease in and outside Sri Lanka.
[At the moment I couldn’t found any regulation made by the Minister regarding Covid – 19.]
Matters in respect of which regulations may be made.
3.
(1) The regulations made under section 2 may provide amongst other things-
(a) for placing aircraft, vessels and boats arriving at any port or place in Sri Lanka in quarantine, for the manner of disinfecting the same, and for the imposing and prescribing the method of recovery of any charges, which may be incurred by Government in carrying out such operations;
(b) for placing persons or goods coming or brought in such aircraft, vessels or boats in quarantine, for the manner of disinfecting or fumigating such goods, for the imposition of fees or charges for carrying out such operations and for the method of recovering such fees or charges;
(c) for prohibiting or regulating the landing of persons or goods from aircraft, vessels or boats either absolutely or conditionally;
(d) for establishing and maintaining quarantine stations, and for regulating the management of the same, and for the charging, imposing, and recovering of fees for the use and occupation of such stations, and for the cost of maintenance of the persons occupying the same;
(e) for inspecting aircraft, vessels and boats leaving or arriving at any port or place in Sri Lanka, and for the detention thereof or of any person intending to sail therein, as may be necessary;
(f) for inspecting persons travelling by railway or otherwise, and for segregating in hospitals or otherwise persons diseased ;
(g) for isolating all cases of disease and diseased persons;
(h) for closing wells, pits, cesspits, and cesspools;
(i) for prescribing the mode of burial or cremation of any person dying of disease;
(j) for regulating the number of persons to be allowed to inhabit any dwelling place;
(k) for the removal from infected localities to places of observation or other places of persons found in such localities;
(l) for the removal of diseased persons to hospitals or other places for medical treatment, and for their detention until they can be discharged with safety to the public;
(m) for the cleansing and disinfecting of drains, sewers, cesspits, and of houses, buildings, rooms, and other places which have been occupied by any diseased person, or which are otherwise in an unsanitary condition, and, if expedient, for destroying the same, with or without compensation as may be deemed expedient;
(n) for the disinfecting and, if expedient, destroying, with or without compensation as may be deemed expedient, goods which have been in contact with any diseased person, or which may be deemed capable of spreading disease;
(o) for prescribing and regulating the seizure, detention, and destruction or disposal of any goods landed or otherwise dealt with in contravention of any regulation made under this Ordinance, and for proceeding- and regulating the liability of the owner, or consignor or consignee or importer of the goods, for the expenses connected with the seizure, detention, and destruction or disposal thereof;
(p) for prescribing the reporting to such officer or officers as may be named in the regulations, by medical practitioners and persons professing to treat diseases, of cases of disease treated by them;
(q) for prescribing the reporting by the householder or occupier of any house or premises to such officer or officers as may be named in the regulations of any case of serious illness occurring in any such house or premises ; and the visiting and inspecting of such case by such officer or officers;
(r) for the appointment of inspectors and other officers to carry out the provisions of this Ordinance or of any regulations made thereunder, and for regulating their duties and conduct, and for investing them with all powers necessary for the due execution of their duties;
(s) for prescribing the publication of any regulations made under this Ordinance, and for prescribing and regulating the form and mode of service or delivery of notices and other documents.
(2) Provided always that nothing in this section contained shall in any way restrict or be construed to restrict the generality of the powers conferred on the Minister by section 2, but such powers shall extend to all matters, whether similar or not to those in this section mentioned, as to which it may be expedient to make regulations for the better carrying into effect of the objects of this Ordinance.
Offences.
4.
 (1) If any person, without lawful authority or excuse (proof whereof shall lie on him), contravenes any regulation made under this Ordinance, or does or omits to do anything which under the provisions of this Ordinance or of any regulations made thereunder he ought not to do or omit, or if he obstructs or impedes or assists in obstructing or impeding any inspector or other officer appointed under this Ordinance, or any police officer in the execution of any provision of this Ordinance or of any regulation made thereunder, he shall be guilty of an offence against this Ordinance.
(2) Every prosecution for an offence against this Ordinance may be instituted in the Magistrate’s Court* of the division in which the offence was committed, and such court may impose the full penalties herein prescribed, anything in the Code of Criminal Procedure Act or in any other enactment to the contrary notwithstanding.
(* Primary Court has exclusive jurisdiction under section 33 of the Judicature Act read with Gazette Extraordinary No. 43/4 of 1979-07-02.)
[However until the regulations published to the public, spreading Covid – 19 might not be an offence]
Punishment.
5.
[5, 12 of 2005]
(1) If any person is guilty of an offence against this Ordinance, he shall be liable on conviction before a Magistrate* to imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not less than two thousand rupees and not exceeding ten thousand rupees, or to both.
(2) Nothing in this section contained shall affect the liability of any person to any punishment or penalty to which he is liable under any enactment other than this Ordinance, but so that a person shall not be punished twice for the same offence.
(* Primary Court has exclusive jurisdiction under section 33 of the Judicature Act read with Gazette Extraordinary No. 43/4 of 1979-07-02.)
Duties of inspectors and police officers.
6.
(1) When a person is seen or found committing or is reasonably suspected of being engage committing an offence against this Ordinance, any inspector or other officer appointed under this Ordinance or any police officer may without warrant stop and detain him, and if his name and address are not known may without warrant apprehend him.
(2) If any person obstructs or impedes an inspector or other officer appointed under this Ordinance, or any police officer in the execution of any provision of this Ordinance or of any regulation made thereunder, or assists in any such obstructing or impeding, he may be apprehended by such inspector or other officer or police officer without warrant.
(3) A person apprehended under this section shall be taken with all practicable speed before a Magistrate or a Judge of a Primary Court.
(4) Nothing in this section shall take away or abridge any power or authority that a police officer would have had if this section had not been enacted.
Presumption.
  1. Where the person in charge of a diseased person is charged with an offence against this Ordinance relative to such disease, he shall be presumed to have known of the existence of such disease in such person, unless and until he shows to the satisfaction of the Magistrate or Judge of a Primary Court before whom he is charged that he had not such knowledge, and could not with reasonable diligence have obtained such knowledge.
Officers to be public servants.
  1. Inspectors and other officers appointed under this Ordinance shall be deemed public servants within the meaning of the Penal Code.
Security for expenses of certain persons landed from aircraft or vessels.
9.
(1) Whenever any person shall have been landed at any port or place in Sri Lanka for the purpose of performing quarantine, or for medical treatment, or on the ground that such person is alleged to be of unsound mind, the aircraft or vessel from which such person shall have been landed shall not be entitled to receive a clearance until sufficient security to the satisfaction of the principal officer of customs shall have been given by the pilot, master, agent, or consignee of such aircraft or vessel to the principal officer of customs for the repayment to the Government of all expenses which may be incurred by the Government in respect of such person, and also the necessary passage money of such person to the place of his original destination, or at the option of the Principal Collector of Customs to the place of his original departure, unless arrangements shall be made to the satisfaction of the Principal Collector of Customs for his conveyance to such place of destination or departure.
(2) The Principal Collector of Customs shall be entitled to require the pilot, master or agent of any aircraft or vessel from which any such person shall have been landed, or the pilot, master or agent of any other aircraft or vessel belonging to the same line or company as such aircraft or vessel, upon its being certified by the Director of Health Services that the person in question is in a sufficient stage of recovery for travelling, to receive and keep such person on board the aircraft or vessel in question for the purpose of being conveyed to the place of his original destination, or to the place of his original departure, as the case may be, and may refuse a clearance to such aircraft or vessel until his requirement is complied with.
Removal of person refusing to leave Sri Lanka by accommodation provided under section 9.
  1. Where any person for whose departure from Sri Lanka arrangements have been made under section 9 refuses to leave Sri Lanka or to board the aircraft or vessel on which a passage has been provided for him, it shall be lawful for a police officer specially authorized in writing by the Inspector-General of Police to arrest such person and to conduct him in custody aboard such aircraft or vessel.
Execution of regulations may be delegated to local authority.
  1. The Minister may delegate the enforcement and execution of any regulation made under this Ordinance to any Municipal or local authority subject to such restrictions as the Minister may, from time to time, think fit to impose.
Regulations to be published.
  1. All regulations made under this Ordinance shall be published in the Gazette, and shall from the date of such publication have the same force as if they had been enacted in this Ordinance.
Interpretation.
  1. In this Ordinance, and any regulations made thereunder, unless the context otherwise requires-
“aircraft” includes all balloons, whether fixed or free, kites, gliders, airships, airplanes, and other flying machines;
“disease” shall mean any disease of a contagious, infectious, or epidemic nature;
“diseased” shall mean infected or suspected of being infected with disease;
Cumberland v. Suse – (1899) 3 NLR 365
 Ordinance No. 3 of 1897- -Regulation 20 trade there under- ” Diseased “- ” Patient”-Obstruction in the removal of patients -Misjoinder of accused.
In Ordinance No,3 of 1897, the word “diseased” means one who is actually diseased and not one merely infected; and “patient” means one actually suffering from some disease.
In order to constitute a charge of obstruction under regulation 20 made under that Ordinance, it is necessary to prove that the “diseased persons” occupied someone or other of the three classes of houses or places mentioned in the regulation.
Unless the obstruction offered be concerted, each of the accused should be separately charged and tried.
“goods” shall mean goods, wares and merchandise, furniture, packets, packages, baggage, wearing apparel, books, letters, or any other article whatsoever; and shall include animals.

Penal Code

“Life”.
  1. The word “life” denotes the life of a human being, unless the contrary appear from the context.
Negligent act likely to spread injection of any disease dangerous to life.
  1. Whoever unlawfully or negligently does any act which is, and which he knows or as reason to believe to be, likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.
[See, 1st Shedule of the CCPA and it says wrongdoer under this section may arrest without warrant by a peace officer. However it’s a bailable offence. Same applies to Sec. 263 and 264.]
Malicious act likely to spread infection of any disease dangerous to life.
  1. Whoever maliciously does any act which is, and which he knows or has reason to believe to be, likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
“Turning to the Indian Penal Code, I find that to bring the offender within it, he should have unlawfully or negligently done an act which he knew or had reason to believe to be likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life. The accused in this case is not charged with disobeying the order of a public servant lawfully promulgated. He is charged with having knowingly spread the infection of disease. Therefore, the question is not whether the order of the Health Officer in its inception was right, but whether the conduct of the accused in choosing the alternative of sending his son to an isolated house was an offence under Section 269.
Before I refer to cases, I must draw attention to the language of the section. It uses the words ‘unlawfully or negligently’ and not illegally. As was pointed out by Lord Ellenborough, in Rex v. Vantandillo (1815) 4 M. &. S., 73, any indictment which charges a person to have done an act unlawfully or injuriously must assume or prove that there was no lawful excuse. Le Blanc., J., said this:
Neither did they pronounce that every person who inoculated for this disease was guilty of an offence, provided it was done in a proper manner and the patient was kept from the society of others so as not to endanger a communication of the disease.
In such a case the law did not pronounce it to be an offence. S0 the gist of the unlawful act is that there must be danger of the infection spreading. If care is taken to avoid such an infection, the act cannot be said to be unlawful or negligent. In fact, the City Municipal Act contemplates that the action will not amount to an offence if a proper lodging or accommodation is found for the infected person. When we remember that Section 269 does not use the word ‘illegal’, which has been defined by Section 43 as being applicable to everything which is an offence or which is prohibited by law, bat uses the word ‘unlawful’, it is clear that the prosecution must make out not only that there has been disobedience to the order of the Health Officer, but also that the disobedience was unlawful and negligent and had also the effect of spreading infectious disease.
The case nearest in point is Cahoon v. Mathews (1897) I.L.R., 21 Calc., 494. In that case a mother was directed to remove her daughter to an isolation hospital. She refused to comply with the order unless she was herself allowed to accompany her child. Thereupon she was charged under Section 269 of the Indian Penal Code. The learned Judges held, that as in her own house there were no lodgers, as the order to remove was passed upon a misapprehension as to the existence of lodgers, and as sufficient accommodation was provided for the infected child, the mother did not act unlawfully or negligently. The learned Judges say, and I entirely agree with that observation of theirs: “An act, however, may be lawful though it may be illegal.” Therefore, although in the present case the refusal to comply with the direction of the Health Officer might have been illegal as defined in Section 43, I am not prepared to hold that it was unlawful, when it is found that proper precautions were taken to prevent infection and to provide suitable lodging for the person infected, I may refer in this connection to the weighty observations of Lord Blackburn and Lord Watson in Metropolitan Asylum District v. Hill (1881) 6 App.Cas., 193. Lord Blackburn said:
On those who seek to establish that the legislature intended to take away the private rights of individuals, lies the burden of showing that such an intention appears by express words or necessary implication.
Lord Watson in the same case said:
Where the terms of a statute are not imperative but permissive, the fair inference is that the legislature intended that the discretion as to the use of the general powers thereby conferred should be exercised in strict conformity with private rights.”
Per Justice S Ayyar in P. Kandaswamy Mudaliar vs King-Emperor (1920) ILR 43 Mad 344
“It has been illustrated in Ratanlal & Dhirajlal’s Law of Crime Volume (2), 25th Edition that if a man is attacked by a contagious and deadly disease and needlessly goes abroad with it in a public way or if a person carries about a child so infected, he does what he may be supposed to know to be likely to spread the infection. And unless some lawful occasion or reason for this conduct can be shown, as that the sick person had been directed to be removed to a hospital and that the removal was performed with due caution, the act will be an offence punishable under this section. It must be shown that the accused had knowledge that the disease was infectious. Where the disease is generally known to be infectious there will be no difficulty. The infection which is likely to be spread must be of a disease dangerous to life.”
In Dr. Raman Kumar vs State Of Jharkhand And Anr [2006 CriLJ 4496]
Disobedience to a quarantine rule.
  1. Whoever knowingly disobeys any rule made and promulgated by Government for putting any vessel into a state of quarantine or for regulating the intercourse of vessels in a state of quarantine with the shore or with other vessels, or for regulating the intercourse between places where an infectious disease prevails and other places, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.

Police Ordinance

Duties of police officers.
  1. Every police officer shall for all purposes in this Ordinance contained be considered to be always on duty, and shall have the powers of a police officer in every part of Sri Lanka, It shall be his duty
(a) to use his best endeavours and ability to prevent all crimes, offences, and public nuisances ;
(b) to preserve the peace ;
(c) to apprehend disorderly and suspicious characters ;
(d) to detect and bring offenders to justice ;
(e) to collect and communicate intelligence affecting the public peace ; and
(f) promptly to obey and execute all orders and warrants lawfully issued and directed to him by any competent authority.
Police officers may lay information, &c.
  1. It shall be lawful for any police officer to lay any information before any Magistrate, and to apply for summons, warrant, search warrant, or such other legal process as may by law issue, and may be expedient under the circumstances, against any person committing an offence against any law or enactment, or against any regulation for the protection of the revenue, or against any person committing or failing to remove any public nuisance or unwarrantable obstructions, keeping a disorderly house, harboring thieves, disturbing the peace, obstructing the due course of justice, and the like ; and to prosecute such offenders up to final judgment.
False reports to alarm people and create a panic.
  1. Any person who shall spread false reports with the view to alarm the inhabitants of any place within Sri Lanka and create a panic shall be guilty of an offence, and be liable to a fine not exceeding two hundred rupees, or to imprisonment, with or without hard labour, for any period not exceeding twelve months; and if he shall be convicted a second time, or shall persist in the offence after warning to desist, he shall be liable to corporal punishment not exceeding twenty lashes.

Code of Criminal Procedure Act

Peace officer bound to report certain matters.
  1. Every peace officer shall forthwith communicate to the nearest Magistrate or inquirer having jurisdiction or to his own immediate superior officer any information which he may have or obtain respecting –
(a) the commission of or the attempt to commit any offence within the local jurisdiction in which he is empowered to act;
Peace officers to prevent cognizable offence.
107.
(1) Every peace officer may interpose for the purpose of preventing and shall to the best of his ability prevent the commission of any cognizable offence.
Information of attempt to commit such offence.
(2) Every peace officer receiving information of an attempt to commit any cognizable offence shall communicate such information to the officer to whom he is immediately subordinate or to some other officer whose duty it is to prevent or take cognizance of the commission of any such offence.
Peace officers may arrest without order or warrant to prevent such offence.
(3) A peace officer knowing of an attempt to commit any cognizable offence may arrest without orders from a Magistrate and without a warrant the person so attempting if it appears to such officer that the commission of the offence cannot be otherwise prevented.

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