Practice Relating to Rule 26. Medical Activities
Section A. Respect for medical ethics
Sri Lanka’s Prisons Ordinance (1878), as amended to 2005, states:
DUTIES OF OFFICERS
20. (1) It shall be the duty of the medical officer to keep under close observation every prisoner whose health is or is likely to be injuriously affected by any inability or failure to take food or sufficient food, and to subject every such prisoner to any medical treatment that may be necessary at the earliest possible stage after his condition is discovered.
(2) The medical officer may, whenever he considers it to be necessary or advisable, adopt any device or means which may appear to him to be suitable –
(a) for the compulsory feeding of any prisoner who, in the opinion of the medical officer, feigns inability to take food or willfully refuses food with intent to procure a discharge from prison or any exemption from labour or for any other reason; or
(b) for the artificial feeding of any prisoner who has become unconscious or otherwise unable to feed himself.
(3) The medical officer shall personally carry out the compulsory or artificial feeding required in any case referred to in subsection (2), and shall, in every such case, take all due precautions to ensure that no greater force is used than may be reasonably necessary for the purposes of such feeding.
(4) The medical officer shall report to the Superintendent for the information of the Commissioner-General, and to the Director-General of Health Services, full particulars of every case of compulsory or artificial feeding carried out by him.
(5) No criminal prosecution or civil action shall be instituted or maintained against the medical officer in respect of any injury caused or alleged to have been caused to any prisoner by any act of the medical officer in the course of any compulsory or artificial feeding carried out by him or by the omission of the medical officer in the exercise of his discretion to adopt any measures for the compulsory or artificial feeding of the prisoner.
This article applies to persons deprived of their liberty under Sri Lanka’s Emergency Regulations (2005) pursuant to section 19 of these regulations.