Sri Lanka’s leading public policy research and advocacy think tank, Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) emphasized that the State of Emergency should be in force only for a limited period of time.
Background: On the 30th of August 2021, by way of Gazette 2243/1, President Gotabaya Rajapakse issued a proclamation under Section 2 of the Public Security Ordinance (Chapter 40) as amended. In the Proclamation, the President states that ‘I am of the opinion that it is considered expedient to do so in order to ensure the Public Security and well being and maintenance of supplies and services essential to the life of the community in view of the prevailing emergency situation in Sri Lanka in the context of the COVID – 19 pandemic now steadily on the rise throughout Sri Lanka’.
CPA has emphasized the importance of ensuring that the extra ordinary powers arrogated to the executive through these emergency regulations have to be used purely for the specific purposes recognized by the regulations
CPA also reiterates the point that emergency regulations must be recognized as a temporary conferral of extra ordinary power for the government during times of acute crisis. It should not be considered as a substitute for the “normal legal regime”. As such the State of Emergency should be in force only for a limited period of time.
“Furthermore, the government has to ensure that legislation with adequate safeguards is put in place to prevent anti-competitive practices and the use of emergency regulations must not be a substitute for effective consumer protection framework nor any other steps that must be provided by law. Finally, it is incumbent on all citizens to scrutinize and democratically challenge any measures that stifle dissent, curtail civil liberties and threaten Sri Lanka’s constitutional democracy,” CPA concluded.