Supreme Court directs AG to enlighten on Jaffna HSZ legality

[TamilNet, Friday, 12 December 2003, 18:20 GMT]
The Supreme Court Thursday directed the Attorney General to take immediate measures to enlighten the court on the legality of the high security zones in the Jaffna peninsula in response to the fundamental rights applications filed by three persons including Jaffna district parliamentarian Mr. Mavai Senathirajah. The inquiry into the applications would be taken up for inquiry on December 19, legal sources said.

Petitioners Mr. Mavai Senathirajah and two farmers, Mr. Vallipuram Rajadurai of Alaveddy east and Mr.Sinnappu Sivagnanasambandan of Pannalai, Thellipalai, filed three separate FR applications in the Supreme Court last week, challenging the legality of the HSZ in the Jaffna district.

Petitioners have cited the President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunge, in charge of the Defense Ministry as the first respondent, Prime Minister Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe as the second respondent, Sri Lanka Army commander Mr. Lionel Balagalle as the third respondent and Jaffna area commander, Major General Parami Kulatunga, as the fourth respondent, legal sources said.

Petitioners state in their applications that their fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 12 (1), 12 (2), 14 (10 (g) and (h) of the constitution ensuring the right to equality, freedom from discrimination, freedom to engage in any lawful occupation and freedom to move freely and choose ones place of residence respectively had been violated.

Petitioners further state their requests to be relocated in their original places of residence had been turned down by the Army Commander on the grounds that their houses were within the Palaly high security zone. There is no such thing called a Palaly HSZ and no area in Jaffna had been declared as such thereby preventing persons from residing in these areas.

Mr. Senathirajah in his petition states that he wrote to the parliament librarian on November 23, 2003 seeking information as to any gazette notification concerning HSZs. Subsequent to which he was informed of only one gazette notification dated July 8, 2003 concerning the President’s House and its environs.

All three petitioners plead that there is no gazette notice in relation to the Valigamam area of the Jaffna district within which they reside.

Petitioners state that they had been compelled to leave their homes in Jaffna due to the military operations in those areas by the Army and Air Force. Although the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Authority of the North had recommended to the defense ministry for their resettlement, no action has been taken.

Further the petitioners state that even after the ceasefire agreement they were not relocated in their original homes though the government permitted resettlement in Valigamam where their houses are situated.

The petitioners pray for leave to proceed and for a declaration that the fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 12 (1q), (2) and 14 (1) (g) and (h) has been violated and for compensation.

President's Counsel Mr.K.Kanageswaran and Counsels Mr. M.A.Sumenthiran and Mr.P.Ganehsalingam supported the FR applications, which came up for perusal Thursday before a three-member bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justice Ms Shiranee Bandaranaike, Justice. P.Edussuriya and Justice Nihal Jayasinghe.

 

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