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Arrangement of Sections

1. Short title.

2. Interpretation.

3. Power of Minister to establish houses of detention.

4. Detention of vagrants on order of a Magistrate's Court.

5. Persons detained may be sent to hospital.

6. Regulations for management of houses of detention.

7. Superintendent to endeavour to find employment for vagrants.

8. Agreements to leave Sri Lanka.

9. Removal of vagrants from.

10. Arrest without warrant of vagrant refusing to appear before Magistrate's Court.

11. Power to arrest persons escaping from houses of detention.

12. Penalty on vagrant for escape.

13. Saving of prosecutions under the Vagrants Ordinance.


5 of 1907,

21 of 1930,

26 of 1955.

AN ORDINANCE to provide for the establishment of Houses of Detention for vagrants.

[Date of Commencement: 20th May, 1907]

1. Short title.

This Ordinance may be cited as the Houses of Detention Ordinance.

2. Interpretation.

In this Ordinance the word "vagrant” means—

(a) any person found asking for alms;

(b) any person not being physically able to earn, or being unwilling to work for, his own livelihood and having no visible means of subsistence:

Provided that priests or; pilgrims gathering alms or failing to work for their livelihood shall not be deemed vagrants, if the gathering of alms is prescribed by their religion or order, or is in performance of any religious vow or obligation, or if they are prohibited by their religion or order or by any such vow or obligation as aforesaid from working for their own livelihood.

3. Power of Minister to establish houses of detention.

(1) It shall be lawful for the Minister to provide houses of detention at such places as he shall think proper within Sri Lanka for the reception of vagrants.

(2) There shall be appointed from time to time such superintendents and medical and other officers as may be necessary for the management of such houses of detention. The appointments, transfers and discipline of such officers and their removal from office when necessary shall be governed by the appropriate procedure prescribed under Article 55(4) of the Constitution.

(3) Every such superintendent and officer shall be deemed to be a public servant within the meaning of the Penal Code.

4. Detention of vagrants on order of a Magistrate's Court.

(1) When any person has been convicted of any offence by a Magistrate's Court under its summary jurisdiction, or when any person appears or is brought before such court under the provisions of section 10, if after due inquiry the Magistrate is of opinion that the person so convicted or appearing or brought before the court is a vagrant within the meaning of this Ordinance, he may, in addition to or in substitution for any punishment which he has power to inflict, order such person to be detained in a house of detention. Any such order shall declare that the person against whom it is made is a vagrant, and shall also, if practicable, state any prior date from which, in the opinion of the Magistrate, such person has been in Sri Lanka a vagrant as defined by this Ordinance. Such order shall be a sufficient authority to the police for keeping in custody such person on the way to the house of detention and to the superintendent for receiving and detaining him there.

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