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FR petitions challenge leadership training

2011 May 23

Five separate fundamental rights applications were filed in the Supreme Court yesterday by the Ceylon Teachers Union and four students who secured university entrance this year challenging the leadership training at army camps for students entering the university.

The applications were filed by four students - R. M. Subani Pabasala Ratnayake, Prijith Priyadarshana, Ruth Akram and Ranuka Rankala - who had passed the August 2010 G.C.E. A/L and were eligible to enter state universities, citing Higher Education Ministry Secretary Sunil Jayantha Navaratne, Minister S.B. Dissanayake, University Grants Commission, its Chairman and the Attorney General as respondents.

In their applications, the petitioners challenged the Higher Education Ministry decision to make it mandatory for students seeking university entrance to undergo in-house training at military camps.  They said the students’ fundamental rights had been infringed upon as a result of being compelled or coerced into undergoing a three-week residential training programme in military camps.

The group said the decision had been made without any regard to the beliefs and cultural sensitivities of the students, many of whom might be reluctant to participate in such a programme due to their cultural, religious or personal values, beliefs and choices.

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