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HRC decides to proceed with cop's rights violation case

2014 Sep 13

by Madura Ranwala

Constable Sumith Kumarawansa and his two counsel Eranjan Atapattu and I. Siriwardana leaving the Human Rights Commission on Tuesday after their submission.
Pix by Dharmasena Welipitiya

Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission (HRC) on Tuesday (09) decided to proceed with the human rights violation application filed by constable Don Duwage Sumith Kumarawansa on July 28, despite vehement objections from the respondents on the grounds that the HRC had no legal power to intervene in a disciplinary inquiry conducted by the police department against the constable.

The two counsel Eranjan Atapattu and I. Siriwardana appeared free of charge for the petitioner. However, they argued that there was no provision in the Constitution that restricted or prohibited their client from seeking relief for any HR violation while disciplinary action was in progress.

HRC officer who heard the case also called for a report from the Inspector General of Police before the next hearing date. That date would be intimated to both parties by the HRC later.

The HRC officer heard the submission of the first and second respondents, Assistant Superintendent of Police, Roshan Dias and Officer-in-Charge of Borella, Sarath Premachandra and the petitioner Constable Sumith, interdicted immediately after a private television channel had telecast a news clip showing him and another constable performing labourers’ work at the Borella police station on July 22.

Sumith’s counsel Atapattu told ‘The Island’ that they had filed the HR violation case requesting HRC to prevail on Inspector General of Police, N. K. Illangakoon to take necessary action against the ASP Roshan Dias and OIC CI Sarath Premachandra under the provisions of the establishment code and provisions of Departmental Code as they had violated constitutional rights of the citizen of a country such as degrading treatment according to Article 11, right to equality (Article 12 (1)), right to speech and expression (Article 14 (1)) and right to occupation (Article 14 (1g)), as the petitioner had not called media to record his voice but he had voiced his grievances to a person whom he met.

HR application also requests the reinstatement of the petitioner and seeks Rs. 500,000 from ASP and OIC each as compensation.

The petitioner and the two respondents were asked to submit their written submissions within two weeks.

Counsel Manjuka Fernandupulle appeared for the ASP and CI.

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