Explanation of Emergency Regulations

Emergency (Miscellaneous Provisions and Powers) Regulations, No. 1 of 2022 were made by President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and issued under Gazette No. 2278/23 on the 6th of May 2022

Some of the provisions and offences under the regulations are highlighted below

Powers of search and arrest by police and armed forces

Any Police officer or any member of the Armed Forces may:

  • search
  • detain for purposes of such search, or 
  • arrest

any person who has committed or any person who is reasonably suspected to have committed any offence under the regulations or the specified offences in the Penal Code.

This may be done without a warrant of arrest.

Any person arrested by a member of the Armed Forces shall, within twenty-four hours, be handed over to the nearest police station.

Any person arrested by a police officer shall be taken to the nearest police station.

Notable offences under the Regulations

Any person who commits any of the offences under the Penal Code that are specifically mentioned in the regulations shall, on conviction before the High Court, be liable to suffer life imprisonment or imprisonment for a term of twenty years.

These offences include the following:

  • Damage to property
  • Death or injury to any person
  • Criminal intimidation or assault
  • Theft of any article in any premises which have been left vacant or unprotected or which have been damaged or destroyed; or
  • Theft, extortion or robbery of any property;
  • Removal or attempt to remove any goods or articles from any such premises; 

Regulation 15

Communication or spreading of rumours and false statements which are likely to cause public alarm, public disorder or racial violence or which is likely to incite the committing of an offence through any means including digital means or social media is an offence.

Regulation 16

It is an offence if any person makes a false statement- 

  • in an answer to any request made with regard to any emergency regulation or any Order made under the regulations; or 
  • in any declaration or other document he is required to make under the regulations

Regulation 14

No person shall affix in any place visible to the public or distribute among the public any posters, hand bills or leaflets, the contents of which are prejudicial to public security, public order or the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the life of the community.

Regulation 13

Prevention of disaffection

No person shall- 

(a) endeavour to cause disaffection among persons who are- 

(i) public officers; or 

(ii) engaged in the service of the Republic; or 

(iii) engaged in the performance of essential services; or

 (b) endeavour to induce any person referred to in paragraph (a) to do or omit to do anything in breach of his duty as a public officer or as a person as aforesaid would constitute such a contravention. 

Regulation 20

No person shall without lawful authority cause any obstruction or damage to any public road, bridge, culvert of any public road, to any railway or to public transport vehicle.

What are some of the specific offences in the Penal Code referred to?

(345) Sexual harassment, 

(354) Kidnapping, 

(355) Kidnapping for murder, 

(356) Kidnapping to wrongfully confine, 

(357) Kidnapping a woman for intercourse/marriage, (358) kidnapping for grievous hurt etc. 

(359) Wrongfully concealing or keeping in confinement a kidnapped person,

(360) Kidnapping/abducting a child under 10 with intention to steal property,

(360A) Basically sexual slavery,

(360B) Sexual exploitation of children,

(360C) Human trafficking,

(364) Rape,

(365) “Unnatural offences” incl. same sex relations”*

(365A) “Acts of gross indecency between persons”*


(365B) Grave sexual abuse (that doesn’t amount to rape),

(427-446) Criminal trespass, lurking, breaking in, grievous hurt/death while breaking in.

Regulation 10

Prevention of unauthorised entry 

The President may appoint by name or by office a person to be a competent authority in relation to any essential service for the purpose of these regulations.

This competent authority can by Order direct that no person shall enter or remain upon an area which is used for maintenance of essential services

If any person is in any area or premises in contravention of an Order made under this regulation, he may be removed by any police officer or any member of Armed Forces or by any other person authorized in that behalf by a competent authority.

Other relevant provisions

The President may from time to time by Order prohibit the holding of public processions or public meetings as may be specified in that Order in any area in Sri Lanka for such period and subject to such exemptions as may be specified in that Order. 

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