Constitutional rights violations:
Courts have power to forge new tools - SC judge
Courts have broad power to grant an order that is appropriate, just
and equitable particularly with regard to violations of constitutional
rights, Supreme Court judge Justice Shirani Tilakawardane said in a
Courts have power to forge new tools in this regard. Appropriate
relief, apart from the declaration which the court makes, must also
vindicate the constitution and consider the maladministration by the
third respondent, she said.
The judgement stated therefore, the court orders as a deterrent
against further violation of rights enshrined in the constitution,
compensation in Rs 500,000 to be paid to the petitioner by the third
respondent, personally. The court also ordered as de bonis propriis
against public officials acting in bad faith and causing unnecessary
legal costs and litigation for the opponents, costs to be paid by the
state to the petitioner in Rs 50,000.
The Supreme Court Bench comprised Justice Shirani Tilakawardane,
Justice Sathya Hettige PC and Justice Priyasath Dep PC. Petitioners
Maddage Dayal Nishantha of Dewata Road, Kandegoda, Ambalangoda and
Maddage Chanual Ranmith (minor) also of Ambalangoda cited the education
minister, Education Ministry Secretary, Dharmashoka Vidyalaya,
Ambalangoda Principal and four others as respondents.
Justice Tilakawardane in the judgment with the other two judges
agreeing, stated what motivated such malicious, arbitrary and capricious
action by the third respondent is a question that must be asked and must
be looked into by the education director and education secretary to whom
a copy of the judgment will be forwarded by the court registrar with
certified copies of the judgement, The judgement also stated the court
has decided this judgment from the Bench in view of the delay in
granting admission to the second petitioner who has lost 12 months of
schooling in the school of his choice which he had every legitimate
He has also clearly not been granted what was his due claim on merit
and not accorded equal treatment as guaranteed under the constitution
and the cumulative acts of the third respondent has violated the
constitutional rights of the second petitioner.
In a 14 -page judgement, Justice Tilakawardane stated that the
constitution creates certain rights for the public and certain rights
and obligations on public officials. The doctrine of public trust and
other basic values contained in the constitution and principles
governing public administration , which requires inter alia, a high
standard of professional ethics that must be promoted and maintained.
Furthermore, thereby efficient economic and effective use of
resources must be promoted. Services must be provided impartially,
fairly, equitably and without bias.
Attorneys Chrishmal Warnasuriya with Sanjaya Wilson instructed by
Aparajith Ariyadasa appeared for the petitioners. Deputy Solicitor
General Viraj Dayaratne with State Counsel Ashan Fernando appeared for
the four respondents.