SRI LANKA: Lawyer’s rights at police stations to be gazetted 

The Attorney General had informed the Supreme Court that steps were being taken by the Police Department to gazette the regulations covering the rights of Attorneys-at-Law to represent their clients at police stations.

Deputy Solicitor General Shavindra Fernando also moved for a three month period finalise it.

The Bench comprising Chief Justice Shirani A. Bandaranayake, Justices P.A. Ratnayake and Priyasath Dep fixed the matter to be mentioned on May 21.

Petitioner D.W.C. Mohotti in his fundamental rights violation petition had cited Bambalapitiya Police OIC, IGP Jayantha Wickremaratne, National Police Chairman Neville Piyadigama and the Attorney General as respondents.

Sanjeeva Jayawardane appeared on behalf of the Petitioner. President’s Counsel Shibly Aziz with Rohan Sahabandu appeared for the Bar Association of Sri Lanka. Deputy Solicitor General Shavindra Fernando with Senior State Counsel Shanaka Wijesinghe appeared for the Attorney General.

In a motion, the Respondents indicated that they wished to settle the case and in pursuance there of, when this matter was called on April 3, 2009 parties agreed to settle this matter and the court directed the parties to file Terms of Settlement by way of motion.

The terms of settlement are as follows:

1. The IGP shall forthwith frame and issue formal rules under and in terms of section 55 of the Police Ordinance as amended duly approved by the Minister, for the purpose of inter alia recognising and protecting the rights of an Attorney-at-law to represent or protect the interest of his/her client at any Police Station, Police Head Quarters and/or any other permanent unit, base, post or such like, that has been established by the Police anywhere in the country, whether such client is a suspect or otherwise;

2. The IGP shall forthwith cause the same to be also duly incorporated in the Departmental Orders of the Police;

3. The IGP shall at all times implement and enforce the said rules issued under Section 55 of the Police Ordinance and copies of such rules shall be issued to the OIC of every Police Station, Head Quarters and/or any other permanent unit, base, post or such like that has been established by the Police situated island-wide and it shall be the responsibility of such OIC to issue copies to every officer under his purview and command and to generally disseminate information with regard to the content and due and strict observance of such rules anywhere in the country;

4. There shall be established as provided for in the said rules, a special committee comprising of a senior officer of the Attorney General’s Department not below the rank of Additional Solicitor General, who shall also be the ex-officio Chairman of the said Committee, the other members shall comprise of the President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, the Director (Legal) of the Police, and a serving member of the National Police Commission;

5. The said Committee shall be charged with the function of monitoring and facilitating the due and proper observance of the above mentioned Police Rules and reporting any breaches thereof to the IGP and generally, to do all such acts that shall serve to promote and foster better relations between the members of the Legal Profession and members of the Police;

6. Such Committee shall also be entitled to make recommendations and report to the IGP, the Attorney General and the National Police Commission, as the case may be, with regard to any breach of such rules and in respect of the proceedings that should be launched thereon, against the officer in question;

7. The meeting of the said Committee shall be convened with reasonable regularity by the Chairman of the said Committee and in addition thereto, in the event of a request being made by any one or more members of the said Committee, as the case may be. (S.S. Selvanayagam)

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Document Type : Forwarded Article
Document ID : AHRC-FAT-004-2012
Countries : Sri Lanka,