Attorney General Sanjay Rajaratnam recently urged Colombo District Court Judge Mahesha de Silva, to dismiss 107 cases demanding compensation for those who had perished and been permanently disabled, following the Easter Sunday terror attacks on 21 April three years ago.
The Attorney General stated that as the Government, is presently taking measures to pay compensation to families of victims as well as those who are permanently disabled, following the terror blasts, the petitions filed in this connection should be dismissed by the Court.
The Attorney General appearing on behalf of the respondents in the case told Court, that granting of compensation has already been approved by Cabinet.
He explained that till full compensation is granted, compensation on compassionate grounds will be handed over to the plaintiffs.
But, the Attorney General noted that to date the plaintiffs had not sought to receive it. The Attorney General informed Judge de Silva, that incumbent President Ranil Wickremasinghe had submitted a paper to Cabinet on 22 April 2019 in this regard and that it had been approved by Cabinet 48 hours later.
The Attorney General told Court, that as per the Cabinet paper one million rupees would be paid to a victim or a permanently disabled person, an injured person would be compensated with Rs 500,000 and five million rupees for property damage.
The Attorney General added that Cabinet has tasked the distribution of compensation to victims, permanently disabled and injured with the Damage Estimates Committee.
Counsel appearing for the second respondent incumbent President Ranil Wickremasinghe, requested the District Court Judge to his client from the case.
He stated that no submissions will be produced in Court on behalf of the second respondent, as he currently functions as the Executive President and as per Article 35/1 of the Constitution the latter has been guaranteed immunity from prosecution.
Counsel Shamil Perera looked into the interests of the plaintiffs, while President’s Counsel Dinesh Vidanapathirana appeared for the second respondent, along with President’s Counsel Faizer Mustapha who represented the rest of the respondents.
Nearly107 petitioners had petitioned the Colombo District Court seeking compensation over the loss of their loved ones, for those who had been rendered permanently disabled and had suffered injuries following the Easter Sunday carnage.
They have named Ex-President Maithripala Sirisena, former PM Wickremasinghe, former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando, Ex-IGP Pujith Jayasundera, Ex-Director of the SIS Nilantha Jayawardene, Ex-head of the SIS Sisira Mendis and former AG Dappula de Livera, as respondents in their petitions.
By Hansi Nanayakkara