SC grants bail to five teacher unions
Told not to interfere with paper marking process:
COLOMBO: The Supreme Court granted Rs.50,000 cash bail each yesterday
to five teacher trade union leaders, who had convened an islandwide
token strike in all Government schools on September 13, in defiance of
the court order not to interfere with the Advanced Level paper marking.
The Court granted bail to All Ceylon United Teachers Union President
Ven. Yalewala Pannasekera Thera, Ceylon Teachers Union Secretary C.
Jayatunga, Ceylon Home Science and Agricultural Teachers Union Secretary
M. Senanayake, Ceylon Education Professionals Union Secretary Wasantha
Dharmasiri and Ceylon Teacher Services Union Secretary Mahinda
Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva PC ordered to deposit the cash bail
with the registry for their release. In default of the cash bail they
are further committed to be remanded.
The Chief Justice noted that the respondents should give a firm
undertaking that they would not in any way interfere with the paper
marking process. The CJ cautioned that if they do, such would be
considered as further acts contempt of court, and would add further
The Court granted time till November 19, to the five trade union
leaders to explain as to why they should not be punished for contempt of
court for convening the token strike in defiance of the court order
dated September 6, not to interfere with the paper markings, that was
scheduled to be started on September 13 on the basis of the Supreme
The Bench comprised Chief Sarath N. Silva PC with Justice Andrew
Somawansa and Justice Jagath Balapatabendi.
Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva PC charged that the respondent leaders
with their thorough knowledge fixed the dates of the token strike in
order to jeopardies the paper markings and in defiance of the Court
order, since they wrote to the Secretary to the Ministry of Education on
September 10, informing of the strike four days after the secretary had
issued the communique to educational officials with regards to the
commencing of the paper markings on September 13, based on the court
The court noted that although the respondent union leaders were not
formally noticed about the court order, adequate publicity was given in
The Court further noted that the unions had been issued notice of the
proceedings of the case and they could have come to the court, explain
their grievances and could have clarified or varied the order.
The counsel for the respondent union leaders submitted that they were
given notice about the court order dated September 6, and that they were
unaware that the token strike was in defiance of the court order.
They further submitted that in any event they or their membership
never interfere with the paper marking or threaten any of the examiners.
Deputy Solicitor General (DSG) Sanjaya Rajaratnam on behalf of the
Attorney General filed a motion last Thursday seeking the five
respondent trade unions to give an undertaking to abide by the Supreme
Court order dated September 6.
He submitted that the Advanced level paper marking was scheduled to
start yesterday was sabotaged by the trade unions action.
The DSG based his motion on the letter sent by the union leaders to
the Secretary to the Ministry of Education informing them that the
membership of their unions would stage a token strike on September 13,
in Government schools islandwide due to the non implementation of the
interim proposals of the Salaries and Cadre Commission.
The court had earlier issued an interim order on September 6,
restraining the respondent unions from interfering with the paper
marking until the final determination of the rights plea filed by a
student of the Nivartaka Chethiya Maha Vidyalaya, Anuradhapura stating
that his rights had been violated by the delay in the paper marking.
President’s Counsel Faiz Musthapha appeared for the petitioner.
DSG Sanjaya Rajaratnam appeared for the Attorney General.
Counsel Upul Jayasuriya, Nimal Weerakkody and Vishva Gunaratne
appeared for the respondent union leaders. The inquiry was fixed for