Supreme Court rejects HRCSL’s request for Interim Order | Daily News
Prevention of power cuts during GCE A/Ls

Supreme Court rejects HRCSL’s request for Interim Order

The Supreme Court yesterday rejected a request made by the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) to issue an Interim Order preventing the interruption of electricity during the Advanced Level Examination period.

This was announced yesterday when the petition filed by the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission complaining that the Commission has been defamed by not acting in accordance with the order to provide a continuous electricity supply during Advanced Level Examination.

The petition was called before the three-member Supreme Court Bench consisting of justices Gamini Amarasekara Kumuduni Wickramasinghe and Shiran Gunaratne. President’s Counsel Upul Jayasuriya, appearing for the HRCSL stated that the Ceylon Electricity Board

(CEB) has reached an agreement to provide uninterrupted power supply from January 23 to February 17.

Justice Gamini Amarasekara asked whether there is a possibility of filing defamation charges against the CEB Chairman who was not present at the discussion held at the Human Rights Commission. It was pointed out that the CEB Chairman had not participated in the relevant discussion and that another officer had come on his behalf. He had signed the relevant documents subject to the decisions of the Board of Directors. Supreme Court Judge Justice Gamini Amarasekara mentioned that since this is a petition filed asking for punishment of a person for insulting the Commission, it must be clear whether that person is responsible for the relevant circumstances.

President’s Counsel Upul Jayasuriya stated the CEB Chairman was informed to participate in this meeting and a senior official of the board represented him at the meeting. He said that it is an international issue between them and the responsibility regarding the interruption of power is assigned to the Chairman. Justice Gamini Amarasekara stated that when a person is accused of defamation, the Court should be satisfied whether there are enough facts for it. President’s Counsel Upul Jayasuriya noted that this complaint was made under the Human Rights Commission Act. He said that when the Court is insulted, a complainant can only complain about it and the Court should decide whether to file charges. He said that if the electricity is cut continuously, it amounts to continuous defamation. Justice Amarasekara pointed out that an Interim Order has been requested by this petition to stop the power cuts. The judge asked as to how relief is sought from the same institutions while accusing them of defamation.

The judge asked how the Court would grant such relief in a defamation case.

The Deputy Solicitor General appearing for the Attorney General and the Power and Energy Ministry Secretary stated that it is a complaint regarding defamation of the Human Rights Commission by not acting in accordance with the order. She said that the Commission does not have the power to issue such orders as per the Human Rights Commission Act. She stated that the Commission is not capable of giving orders except the power to make recommendations according to Section 40 of the Act. Accordingly, she stated that the order not to cut the electricity is illegal.

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