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Supreme Court to inquire FR petition by IDP family against illegal detention

[TamilNet, Saturday, 8 August 2009 08:42 No Comment]

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court Thursday granted leave to proceed with the fundamental rights violation petition filed on behalf of members of one family who are detained in an Internally Displaced Persons’ Camp (IDP Camp) in Vavuniya against their wishes, and listed the case for hearing on November 12, legal sources in Colombo said. The bench comprised Justices Nihal Gamini Amaratunge and Chandra Ekanayake. The petition alleged infringement of plaintiffs’ fundamental rights to equality, equal protection of the law, as well as their right to the freedom of movement and of choosing their residence within Sri Lanka.

Subsequent to this FR petition, a 13-year-old child, Sopika Surendranathan, who had been housed in an IDP camp in Kodikamam had already been united with her parents who were being held in the internment camp in Vavuniyaa.

The petition was filed by Attorney-at-law, Ms.Gowrie Shangary Thavarasa, on behalf of five Internally Displaced Persons of the same family comprising Manikkarajah Sivapakiam and Sopika Surendranathan who had been held at Kodikaamam IDP camp and Jeyarani Surendranathan, Ponnusamy Surendranathan and Nesana Surendranathan held at Vavuniya internment camp.

Pattanchipuliyankulam Grama Niladhari, Vavuniya Divisional Secretary, Vavuniya Government Agent/District Secretary, Mrs. P.M.S.Charles, Vavuniya Saivaparagasa Welfare Centre Grama Niladhari, Wanni Army Commander, Commander (IDP coordinator in Vavuniya), Chavakachcheri Divisional Secretary, Jaffna Government Agent/District Secretary, Jaffna Army Commander, IGP and the Attorney General were cited as respondents.

Petition was filed on behalf of Jeyarani who is a government servant working at the Zonal Education Office of Kilinochchi and her husband Surendranathan who is serving with the Paranthan M P C S and their minor daughter and son Sopika and Nesana who are 13 years and 10 years respectively.

The petition states that the detainees are not persons who have no place to reside but that they have three houses owned by them at Karaveddy, Vanni and Jaffna. Furthermore they have many relatives both living in Jaffna as well as in Colombo and if they are allowed to leave the respective IDP camps they can obtain accommodation for themselves.

The petition contended that the continued detention of the detainees without a reasonable basis is unlawful, arbitrary and contrary to procedure established by law. It also contended that it involved an infringement of the detainees’ fundamental right to freedom from arbitrary detention contrary to procedure established by law and the freedom of movement within Sri Lanka and choosing their residence within Sri Lanka.

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