Case Reference/File No [1987] 1 SriLR 299
Case Name Nallanayagam v. Delgoda and others
Court Supreme Court
Date of judgement 18th Oct 1985
Judges Wanasundera J
Colin-Thome J
Atukorale J
Parties Petitioner




1st respondent – Delgoda, Commissioner of Prisons 4th respondent – Inspector General of Police
Keywords Articles 13(1), (2) and (4) of the Constitution – Emergency Regulations 18, 19, 20, 59 and 64 – jurisdiction in light of the detention order
Head note  
Brief facts On 26.07.1985 the petitioner was taken from the Slave Island police station before the Magistrate, Colombo Fort, and thereafter to the Magazine Gaol. Thereafter he was left in custody since 26.7.1985 and was not produced before any judicial officer since that day. The petitioner submitted that the continued detention order is ultra vires since Regulations 18 and 19 of Emergency Regulations cannot be applied to the present case. On 30.7.1985 an indictment was filed in the High Court of Batticoloa charging the petitioner with offences under the Emergency Regulations. The Court held that the petitioner was held in lawful custody considering the material before Court and that the petitioner failed to establish the alleged infringements of fundamental rights.
Judicial Precedence Article 13(4) clearly implies that detention does not constitute a punishment provided that the detention is for further investigation or a trial of a person detained is pending. At the end of investigations if no trial of a person is contemplated then that person should be released from detention without waiting for the duration of ninety days to be over. “When a trial of the detention is contemplated at the end of the investigation his detention in police custody must be converted to fiscal custody in terms of Regulation 19 (3) to be read with Emergency Regulations 20 and 64 and Article 13(4) of the Constitution. Under Regulation 20 any person produced before a Magistrate under the provisions of Regulation 19 (3) shall remain in fiscal custody for a continuous period of three months and shall not be released at any time prior to the expiry of such period, except in accordance with the provisions of Regulation 64.” Considering the relevant law, the Court also held that, the laws relating to arrest and detention under Emergency Regulations in force at the time may be modified in the interests of national security.
Legislation Title The Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka 1978
Area Articles 13(1), (2) and (4) of the Constitution; Emergency Regulations 18, 19, 20, 59 and 64