CAN POLICE MAKE ARRESTS UNDER THE EXCISE ORDINANCE?
According to a Supreme Court precedent police have that power
Matara Magistrate Uresha de Silva yesterday reserved her ruling for March 9, 2017 whether the police had the power to arrest suspects for offences under the Excise Ordinance.
She made this decision when a case against a suspect involved in a contraband trade of illicit liqour came up for hearing before her.
Police Department Director of the Legal Division DIG Ajith Rohana told court that a Supreme Court judgment has created a controversy over the powers of police officers to arrest individuals for offences under the Excise Ordinance.
“Police have been carrying on raids to seize illicit liqour and to arrest suspects engaging in the illegal trade for more than 104 years. Under the Supreme Court judgment the police have the power to take action in case of all other offences excluding the offences under Section 46 (2) of the Excise Ordinance for violation of liqour licences. The Supreme Court judgment is applicable to all districts alike,” he said.
Attorney- at- Law Dayaraj Dasanayake, appearing for the suspect submitted that the lower courts were to abide by the precedents created by the Supreme Court, the High Court or the Appeal Court judgments and that the police should not attempt to seek an order favourable to them from the Magistratecourt.
“A ruling in his regard should be given by the Attorney General or else the police should file a petition in the Appeal Court to revoke the Supreme Court judgment,” he submitted.
About fifty trainee ASPS and Officers- in -Charge of all police stations in the district were present in the court to follow the proceedings.