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How is imposition of curfew regulated?

How is imposition of curfew regulated?


Dear Mirror Lawyer, How is the imposition of curfew regulated in this country to avoid its abuse by the authorities?


Oliver Vanderpuije, Tema.

Dear Oliver, a curfew is an order issued by a minister or public authorities restricting outdoor activities or closing places of public assembly. It compels people to be home at a certain prescribed time, mostly in the evenings and night-time hours, failing which certain sanctions would apply. 

 Curfews have been used as a control measure in times of war, as well as for public safety in the event of political trouble, a disaster or a crisis. During the COVID-19, curfews were implemented in several countries to restrict human contact.

 In Ghana, the Public Order Act, 1994, Act 491 vests the minister responsible for the interior with the power, by executive instrument, to impose a curfew in a part of the Republic where he considers that it is reasonably required in the interest of public defence, public safety, public health, the running of essential services or the protection of the rights and freedoms of any other persons.

 The minister shall, on imposing a curfew, notify Parliament as soon as practicable after the imposition. A curfew shall not be imposed for a period exceeding seven days at any one time under this Act.

 The law requires that when the minister imposes a curfew, no person shall be out of doors between the hours specified in the instrument except under the authority of a written permit granted by the person specified in the instrument.

 However, an instrument imposing a curfew may exempt from its operation any persons or classes of persons specified in the instrument. Further, an instrument imposing a curfew may authorise a person specified in the instrument to suspend the curfew operation in a specified area or part of a specified area.

 The minister, however, cannot impose a curfew on the whole Republic simultaneously or in one instrument.

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