Gampaha Magistrate upholds legality of Quarantine Curfew | Daily News


 

Gampaha Magistrate upholds legality of Quarantine Curfew

The Gampaha Magistrate's Court has held that the Quarantine Police Curfew imposed by police to control the spread of COVID-19 is legally valid. 

A suspect who has been arrested for violating the curfew law had challenged the legality of the prevailing Quarantine Police Curfew arguing that it has not been imposed in accordance with the section 16 of the Public Security Ordinance. 

Gampaha Magistrate Manjula Karunaratne observed that the curfew cannot be  imposed in terms of Section 16 of the Public Security Ordinance by an order of President in an effort to practically control the spread of COVID-19. 

'There is no any legal requirement to impose a curfew under Section 16 of the Public Security Ordinance since Public Order in the country has not collapsed or breached due to the spread of COVID-19 outbreak, the Magistrate observed.  

Accordingly, the Magistrate decided to reject the legal objection put forward by defence challenging the quarantine police curfew. The Chief Magistrate held that Quarantine Police Curfew imposed by Acting Inspector General of Police on the advice of Director General of Health Services, in line with Quarantine and Prevention of Diseases Ordinance, is legal.

In his judgment, the Chief Magistrate described the evolution of the term 'curfew' from English Law and defined that the curfew is a rule that everyone must stay at home between particular times usually at night. According to linguists, the word has a Middle English origin (denoting a regulation requiring people to extinguish fires at a fixed hour in the evening), from Old French cuevrefeu, from cuvrir ‘to cover’ + feu ‘fire’ (literally “cover the fire”).  


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