Toddy tapper files FR against Police | Daily News

Toddy tapper files FR against Police

Seeking bribes from persons engaged in lawful businesses:

Falsely prosecuting persons to meet targets:

 A person engaged in the lawful business of toddy tapping as his vocation yesterday filed a Fundamental Rights petition in the Supreme Court. He was challenging the activities of the Kitulgala Police to produce persons who refuse to comply with the wrongful demands to provide toddy free of charge, before Courts purportedly in relation to illicit liquor offenses.

Gamaralalage Siril Kumara of Kitulgala filed this petition along with two other relatives naming Inspector Chanaka Wijeratne, the OIC of Kithulgala Police Station, SI Gunasena, SI Senaratne, Sergeant Sandamal, Sergeant Gunawardena of Kitulgala police station and IGP Pujith Jayasundara as respondents.

The Petitioners stated that various officers of the Kitulgala Police engage in the wrongful and illegal practice of requiring persons engaged in the lawful business of Toddy Tapping in the Kitulgala area to bribe the said officers of the Kitulgala with quantities of Toddy for their consumption. They said Kitulgala Police engage in the wrongful and illegal practice of producing persons who refuse to comply with the wrongful demands to provide toddy free of charge, before Courts purportedly in relation to illicit liquor offenses. They occasionally prosecute various persons on the false basis of possession of illicit liquor to meet the prosecution targets set by the superior officers of the Police Department. Such persons prosecuted in such a manner are compelled to plead guilty for the possession of small quantities of illicit liquor and pay penalties ranging from Rs.1,000 to Rs.15,000. The failure to comply with such illegal demands results with further harassment and intimidation by the police officers.

The Petitioners stated on July 28, 2017 at around 4.30 p.m. the 3rd and 4th Respondents arrived at the 1st Petitioner’s residence and took into possession a small quantity of Toddy which was lawfully tapped by the 1st Petitioner and claimed that the 1st Petitioner has illegally tapped Toddy.

When the 1st Petitioner offered to provide the Permit issued by the Department of Excise the 3rd and 4th Respondents refused to accept the said document stating ”we don’t care about those things” and demanded that the 1st Petitioner prepare himself to go to the Police Station.

The petitioners stated that the 1st Petitioner having not committed any offense, as he lawfully might, refused to comply with the unlawful and illegal instructions given by the 3rd and 4th Respondents, being very well aware that the 1st Petitioner would be falsely and wrongfully arrested, remanded overnight and produced before the Magistrate of Ruwanwella on a possession of illicit liquor charge. Thereafter the 3rd and 4th Respondents forcefully dragged the 1st Petitioner out of his residence and assaulted the 1st Petitioner whereupon the 1st Petitioner collapsed to the ground due to the excruciating pain he was subjected to.

The Petitioners state that the brazen attack on the 1st Petitioner who was laying on the floor in pain was in full view of those who were gathered including the 2nd and 3rd Petitioners, who commenced recoding the incident using their mobile telephones.

They stated the assault on the Petitioners the wrongful and arbitrary arrest of the Petitioners and institution of action on false and fabricated charges leveled against the Petitioners are violative of the 2nd Petitioners’ fundamental rights guaranteed by Articles 11, Article 12(1), and Article 13(1) of the Constitution of the Republic.

They further sought a sum of Rs.5 million as compensation from the respondents.

This petition had been filed through counsel Thisya Weragoda and Niluka Dissanayake. 

 


 

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