SC compensates former Soldier over Police FR violation | Daily News


SC compensates former Soldier over Police FR violation

The Supreme Court has awarded Rs.200,000 as compensation to a former soldier in Hettipola over his unlawful arrest regarding an alleged theft of a mobile phone in 2013.

The Supreme Court ruling said the Hettipola Police in Kurunegala had violated the fundamental rights of the former soldier when he was arrested and detained seven years ago.

The Supreme Court directed the state to pay Rs.100,000 to the petitioner from Police Department Fund since the state is liable, as the respondents have acted as agents of the State.

Furthermore, the Supreme Court directed the former Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of the Hettipola Police and the former Crimes OIC of the Hettipola Police, to pay Rs.50,000 each from their personal resources as compensation to the petitioner.

The petitioner, Kandawalage Don Samantha Perera, a former soldier, was a day labourer working at the Fractures Ayurvedic Dispensary in Hettipola.

He had filed a Fundamental Rights Petition in the Supreme Court through Counsel Lakshan Dias, naming former Hettipola Police Station OIC IP Samansiri and former Crimes OIC SI Sumanaweera, the Inspector General of Police, and the Attorney-General as respondents.

The Supreme Court three-judge-bench comprising Justices Priyantha Jayawardena, S. Thurairaja and L.T.B. Dehideniya, were of the view that the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution—particularly Articles 11, 12(1), 13(1) and 13(2) (by arresting, detaining, and subjecting to torture)—have been violated by the respondents.

In his judgment, Justice S. Thurairaja held that it was evident that the Petitioner has been subject to torture within the meaning of the term ‘ torture’. “The consistent pattern of police violence, custodial torture, and death as evidenced by the considerable number of Fundamental Rights Petitions filed before this Court, indicates that the State should consider addressing and mitigating the problem,” Justice Thurairaja said.

The Supreme Court maintained that it is required the state to ensure that education and information regarding the prohibition against torture are fully included in the training of law enforcement personnel, civil or military personnel, medical personnel, public officials; and other persons who may be involved in the custody, interrogation, or treatment of any individual subjected to any form of arrest, detention, or imprisonment may provide a starting point in terms of Article 10 of the ‘Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment of Punishment’.

The Petitioner submitted that at the time of his arrest, he had not been informed of the reason for his arrest. The consultant Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) of Chilaw had come to the conclusion that injuries that he could notice were compatible with the history given by the patient.

Though the reasons for arrest submitted by the Respondents are theft and desertion of the army, it was revealed that the Petitioner was serving in the Army, and that he was duly discharged from the service.

Counsel Lakshan Dias with Shafuas Shandeen appeared on behalf of the Petitioner. Counsel Upali Jayamanne, with Menake Ariyapala, appeared on behalf of the first and second Respondents. Consul Kalana Kotalawala appeared on behalf of the Attorney-General.

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