There have been reports of suicides of lovers, both young and middle-aged, after being nabbed at such places and unable to face their families.
Human rights lawyer Chandrapala Kumarage says the law does not prevent anyone over 18 years of age from spending time in freedom at a place of choice.
Kissing or sexual relations are not banned, but when those arrested over such behaviour and produed before courts, judges side with the police, he said.
The penal code does not have an offence called ‘misdemeanour’, said Kumarage, adding that magistrates were in the habit of approving of police action and using the unjust laws such as the vagrants ordinance.
Despite a request by European countries, the government has refused to repeal the ordinance, introduced by the British to nab imported estate labourers who fled their work, said the HR lawyer.