Kurunegala demolition: CA decides not to execute arrest warrants against Mayor, four others | Daily News


 

Kurunegala demolition: CA decides not to execute arrest warrants against Mayor, four others

The Court of Appeal yesterday decided not to execute the arrest warrants issued against the Kurunegala Mayor and four others until it makes an appropriate order regarding writ petitions on August 24.

Five petitioners including Kurunegala Mayor Thushara Sanjeewa had filed writ petitions in the Court of Appeal seeking interim relief to suspend the warrant issued by Kurunegala Magistrate in connection with the demolition of a building with archaeological value in Kurunegala.

Court of Appeal two-judge-bench comprising Justice (President) A.H.M.D. Nawaz and Justice Sobhitha Rajakaruna observed that warrants shall not be executed until August 24 since the Magistrate’s decision to issue warrants had been challenged through writ petitions. Accordingly, the Court of Appeal reserved its order regarding the issuance of notices and interim order, to be delivered on August 24.

On August 7, warrants have been issued by Kurunegala Magistrate on Kurunegala Mayor Thushara Sanjeewa Vitharana, Kurunegala Municipal Commissioner Pradeep Nishantha Thilakaratne, Municipal Engineer Chaminda Bandara Adikari, Superintendent of works Ilaludeen Sulfiya, and backhoe machine operator Lakshman Priyantha regarding this demolition.

The petitioners have named Kurunegala Magistrate, Attorney General, Acting IGP, Director General of Archaeology, OIC of Kurunegala Police Station and OIC of Special Investigations Unit of Kurunegala as respondents.Counsel Riad Ameen appearing for the petitioner Ilaludeen Sulfiya , a Superintendent of works at Kurunegala Municipal stated it is relevant to identify whether the building concerned can be considered as an antiquity or not.

He argued that the warrant had been wrongfully obtained by the respondents collectively.

Additional Solicitor General Sarath Jayamanne PC appearing for the Attorney General informed the court that prosecution had acted in a transparent manner in accordance with the laws. Evidence was led before the Magistrate prior to obtaining the warrant, Jayamanne said.

The petitioners are seeking a writ of certiorari quashing the warrant issued by Kurunegala Magistrate dated August 7, 2020.

President’s Counsel Rienzie Arsecularatne, Kalinga Indatissa, Shavindra Fernando PC, counsel Riad Ameen and counsel Udara Muhandiramge appeared for the petitioners.

In his petition, the Kurunegala Mayor stated that on or about the 24th July 2020, a building situated within the city limits of the Kurunegala Municipal Council collapsed and in the following few days wide media publicity was given to this incident and certain allegations were made against him alleging that the building was an antiquity within the meaning of the Antiquities Ordinance.

The Mayor stated that no intentional criminal act was committed by him or any one of the other employees whose statements were recorded in the course of the investigations.

The petitioner further said he and the other employees of the Kurunegala Municipal Council acted in good faith and in the course of their duties without any intent to commit any offence either under the Antiquities Ordinance or any other Law.

The petitioner said he is entitled in law to apply to the Court of Appeal in respect of the abuse of the process of justice by the respondents and to quash the warrant wrongfully obtained by the respondents collectively.

The petitioner states that notwithstanding the media reports pertaining to this issue speaks of an antiquity being destroyed, it is relevant to identify whether the building concerned can be considered as an antiquity or not.

He further states that the entire incident has been misinterpreted and/ or inaccurately interpreted by persons with political interest.

 


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