Muscat: Young children under the age of criminal liability can eat or drink in public places during Ramadan hours, under Omani law.
However, both Muslims and non-Muslims who are above the mentioned age can get arrested if caught drinking or eating before the breaking of the fasting hours, under the Sultanate’s Penal Code. Article 49 of the Penal Code defines criminal liability age that starts from the age of nine, says top lawyers of the country.
In a series of articles about Oman’s rules and regulations, entitled “Know Oman”, experts have guided readers on their rights and responsibilities while working and living in Oman.
Speaking exclusively to the Times of Oman, representatives of the Mohammed Ibrahim Law Firm, a leading legal office in Oman, explained the code of conduct to be followed in the holy month of Ramadan in the country.
“According to Article 277 of the Omani Penal Code, both Muslims and non-Muslims are not allowed to eat and drink in public places during fasting hours. This rule is applicable to everyone living in or visiting the country and is above the age of 18,” said Dr. Mohammed Ibrahim Al Zadjali, Chairman of the law firm.
“The article defines a punishment of imprisonment for a period not less than 10 days and not exceeding three months for whoever is caught eating, drinking or breaking the fast during the fasting hours in public places in the Sultanate,” Al Zadjali added.
Another spokesperson from Mohammed Ibrahim Law Firm said that people, especially non-Muslims, are still not clear whether they can eat or drink in their cars during the fasting hours.
“While driving, eating and drinking are forbidden by law at any time – this is a provision related to road safety, and not specific to Ramadan. When a car is parked, it depends largely on circumstances, but as far as eating or drinking inside the car would be visible from outside, it is still considered as a public place and therefore is against the law,” the spokesperson said.
“In regard to tourists, the possible punishment will be up to the discretion of the concerned authorities, and more likely the officials will treat the incident with a verbal warning,” he added.
Adding to that, working hours are also accommodated during the Holy Month of Ramadan, as per article 68 of the Omani Labour Law.
“The maximum working hours for all Muslims will be six hours per day or 30 hours per week. Depending on the nature of the business and its requirements, the Minister of Manpower can issue a decision to fix the specific timings so the employer abides by it,” the spokesperson said.
Mohammed Ibrahim Law Firm ([email protected]) was established 11 years ago and is serving clients through its offices in Muscat and Sohar, as well as operating on a request basis in other areas, such as Duqm.
It offers legal representation across a wide range of practice areas that include labour law, corporate, commercial, contracts, banking and finance, international trade, foreign investment, insurance, maritime law, construction and engineering contracts, international arbitration, intellectual property and more.