The Supreme Court on Friday, 6th July granted Leave to Proceed in a Fundamental Rights Petition filed by an Inspector of Police for the alleged infringement of his Fundamental Rights to Equality and the Equal Protection of the Law. The Bench comprised Justices K. Sripavan, Chandra Ekanayake and Priyasath Dep who fixed the hearing of this matter for 20th December.
The Petitioner, Inspector of Police Janaka Vithanachchi cited the Inspector General of Police N.K. Illangakoon, Deputy Inspector General of Police Ajith Wickramasekera, Headquarters Inspector of Police Bandarawela S.J.M. Karunasena, Members of the Public Service Commission and the Attorney General as Respondents.
Counsel Rajeev Amarasuriya instructed by Amarasuriya Associates appeared for the Petitioner.
The Petitioner claims that he constantly represents the Police Department as a Speaker and Resource Person on the danger of narcotics, crime and violence and women’s and children’s rights at various lectures organized by numerous organizations both governmental and non governmental including Schools, UN Organisations, and also the Forces. The Petitioner states that he has in fact participated in as many as 26 such lectures within the period 24/08/2011 to 09/03/2012, which is material to the matters challenged, and is an Officer who has much interface with the public, especially school children.
The Petitioner states that whilst he was serving as the OIC – Administration of the Bandarawela Police Station, on 27/1/2012, he arrested an imposter by the name of Kankanam Pathiranalage Ajith Harshana who was purporting to be an Army Officer attached to the Security Division of the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence. Later upon questioning it was revealed that the said imposter was in fact an Army Deserter and was handed over to the Military Police.
The Petitioner further states that to his surprise, he became aware that the Acting OIC Bandarawela S.J.M. Karunasena and also the Assistant Superintendent of Police – Bandarawela to whom the Petitioner informed of this arrest, did not seem very interested with the arrest of the said imposter, and in fact, the Acting OIC was even seen having a private discussion with the said imposter, behind closed doors, at one point.
The Petitioner complains that the immediate day after, he received a transfer Order, purportedly on disciplinary grounds, to the Badulla Police Station. The Petitioner complains that even as at the filing of his Application before the Supreme Court which was as much as four months after his impugned transfer, no reasons for his transfer had been proffered to him, nor even his statement been taken and he alleged that the said transfer had been effected in flagrant disregard of the principles of natural justice, legitimate expectation, reasonableness, due process and in flagrant disregard of the equal protection of the Law and that there was a continuing violation of his fundamental rights. The Petitioner also complains that this is in addition to the fact that there was no lawful or justifiable basis for his transfer in the first instance.
Counsel Rajeev Amarasuriya supporting the Application further submitted that to add insult to injury, the Petitioner has now learnt that a ‘Bad Report’ has also been prepared against him and also that the Petitioner was thereafter subjected to an effective punishment by way of special training commonly referred to as ‘rehabilitation training’ with a group of officers which comprised those who had been deserters, been reinstated after interdiction and demoted, without even as at date, having been informed of any charges or allegations raised against him and thereby depriving him the right of show cause and / or defending himself. It was submitted that 5 months having passed, not even a statement has been taken from the Petitioner, pertaining to this transfer.
The Petitioner further states that he is upto date unaware and unable to comprehend the proper reasoning behind his impugned transfer and the consequential bad report and its resulting punishment and states that he verily believes that the same was actuated by collateral and extraneous considerations which were set in motion by his bona fide arrest of the imposter Ajith.
The Petitioner further states that this transfer and the Bad Report and its resulting training have damaged his reputation and credibility not only within the Department of Police but also in the eyes of Society and has caused him severe mental trauma and prejudice.
Counsel Rajeev Amarasuriya further submitted that this Application was in contravention of the provisions of the Establishments Code as well as the Procedural Rules of the Public Service Commission which demanded reasons to be conveyed in writing.
In his Application the Petitioner has sought for several reliefs seeking to clear his name and reputation and has also sought for the grant of compensation.