Armed Forces Called Out Conferring Powers to Contain Terrorist ActsApril 25, 2019
HE the President Maithripala Sirisena as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces through the Extraordinary Gazettes No 2120/4 and 2120/5, dated 22.04.2019 has called out the armed forces under Section 12 of the Public Security Ordinance for the purpose of maintaining public order conferring the powers of search, detention for purposes of such search, or arrest without warrant any person on members of the armed forces, identical to those possessed by Police officers.
Accordingly, any member of the armed forces under Regulation 20 (1) may arrest any person on reasonable ground who is committing or has committed or whom he has reasonable ground for suspecting to be concerned in, or to be committing, or to have committed an offence under any emergency regulation, and may search, seize, remove and detain any vehicle, vessel, article, substance or thing whatsoever used in, or in connection with the commission of the offence.
Similarly, any person detained by armed forces under Regulation 20 (2) shall within twenty-four hours be handed over to the nearest Police station for further onward action. Any person conducting a search under paragraph (1) of this regulation may question any other person present in the premises, place, vehicle or vessel searched or the person who is searched in regard to any matter connected with or relating to the purpose of the search.
Accordingly, as per Regulation 24, every member of the Sri Lanka Army, Navy or the Air Force, be it a Commissioned or Non-Commissioned Officer shall be deemed to have all the powers and rights, vested in a Police officer by virtue of Section 77 (5) of the Prisons Ordinance.