FR petitions fixed for consideration

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Eleven Fundamental Rights Petitions, filed against the deployment of Army personnel, to disperse peaceful protesters at the ramparts of the Galle Fort on 29 June, was fixed for consideration on 14 March 2023 by the Supreme Court.

This was when the Petitions were taken before Supreme Court Justices L.T.B. Dehideniya, A.H.M.D. Nawaz and Shiran Goonaratne yesterday (12).

While the Counsel appearing on behalf of the Attorney General moved to file limited objections, the petitioners said they would file counter objections if required.

As the second day of the first Test match between Australia and Sri Lanka was delayed due to adverse weather, a group of protesters started chanting anti-Government slogans including ‘Go home Gota’ on the city side of the Galle Fort ramparts overlooking the Galle Stadium when they were removed by military personnel.

The petitioners noted the said protest did not cause any disturbance whatsoever to the cricket match, to its spectators or other tourists visiting the Galle Fort. They further said, the protesters were verbally abused and threatened by officers of the Sri Lanka Army in the presence of the Police officers and thus the said conduct of the officers amount to an infringement of the freedom from torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment as guaranteed to them by Article 11 of the Constitution.

The Petitioners stated that the use of Army personnel to disrupt peaceful protests, protected by the law, is an infringement of the right to equality and the equal protection of the law as guaranteed by Article 12(1) of the Constitution.

‘’The conduct of the military personnel in such a manner amounts to disgraceful and dishonourable conduct and is damaging to the reputation of the Sri Lanka Army and outside its scope and ambit and should not be permitted,” the petitioners noted.

Among other relief sought, petitioners sought for compensation of Rs 5,000,000 payable by one or more or all of the Respondents.

By Faadhila Thassim