SC rules police violated Long Rangers rights
by Chitra Weerarathne
The Supreme Court yesterday declared the fundamental rights of five
officers of the Sri Lanka Army, who were arrested and detained by Superintendent
of Police, Kandy K. Udugampola and four of his subordinates, had been
violated when the police raided the Army Safe House at Athurugiriya,
on January 2, 2002.
The petitioners are S. H. M. Nilam, P. Ananda Udalagama, H. M. Nissanka
Herath, I. Edirisinghe Jayamanne and H. Mohamed Hilmy.
The judgement said they had been subjected to inhuman, arbitrary treatment,
illegal arrest and illegal detention by Udugampola and his subordinates.
The state was directed to pay each petitioner a sum of rupees seven
hundred and fifty thousand (Rs. 750,000) as compensation and costs.
The first respondent Udugampola, to pay each petitioner, personally
a sum of Rs. 50,000/- as compensation. Each petitioner would be entitled
to a sum of rupees eight hundred thousand (Rs. 80,000) as compensation
and costs. The amount is to be paid within three months.
Udugampolas subordinates are R. A. P. Dharma-ratne, Sub-Inspector
of Police, Kandy, M. A. E. Mahe-ndra, Head Quarters Inspector Kandy,
Ashoka Ratna-weera, S. S. P. Kandy, M. M. M. B. J. Mohottigedera, OIC
The judgement said that the counsel for the petitioners had submitted
that as a result of the conduct of Udugampola, and his subordinates,
several patriotic intelligence operators had already been murdered.
The covert operation that was being conducted by the petitioners, was
exposed, and their lives and those of their families were exposed to
the greatest of risk. It was therefore submitted that the petitioners,
are entitled to very substantial compensation. The predicament of the
petitioners, and the deaths of so many intelligence operators, resulting
in irreparable damage to national security, was due to the conduct of
Udugampola, and he should be personally responsible for what had taken
place, counsel for the petitioners had submitted.
The judgement was delivered by Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, with
the Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva and Justice P. Edussuriya agreeing.
Justice Edussuriya had said, the manner in which Udugampola had acted,
without paying any heed to Brigadier Hendawitharna, the Director of
Military Inte-lligence and Major Sally, without taking the trouble to
ascertain the truth of what they said from their superior, exposing
the petitioners to the press and, his subsequent conduct, with utter
disregard to the rights of the petitioners, it was apparent that he
acted so with some ulterior motive whilst being engaged in this despicable
exercise, and his conduct must be condemned in the strongest possible
To put it mildly, it was deplorable Justice P. Edussuriya further said
that, in the alternative that is, if he did not act with any ulterior
motive then, he has acted like an over enthusiastic blundering schoolboy,
and has thereby displayed his incompetence.
The registrar of the court was directed to send a copy of the judgement
to the IGP.
S. L. Gunasekera with Manohara de Silva, Dilshan Jayasooriya and Prasanna
Gunasena, instructed by D. W. Weeraratne, appeared for the petitioners.
Shibly Aziz PC, appeared for Udugampola. Kolitha Dharmawardene, Upul
Jayasuriya appeared for the other respondent police officers. Senior
State Counsel, Shavindra Fernando, appeared for the Attorney General.
Courtesy:The Island (30th January 2004)