Legal Challenge in Sri Lanka: Supreme Court Petition Questions President's Appointment of Acting IGP

-By A Special Correspondent

(Lanka-e-News -30.Dec.2023, 9.00 PM) In a significant development, two prominent lawyers, Amila Egodamahawatta and Manoj Nanayakkara, have filed a Fundamental Rights petition in the Supreme Court, challenging the decision of President Ranil Wickramasinghe to appoint Senior DIG Deshabandu Thennakoon as the "acting" Inspector General of Police (IGP).

The petitioners argue that the appointment of Deshabandu Tennakoon raises serious concerns, particularly in light of a recent Supreme Court judgment delivered on December 14. In that judgment, a three-judge bench unanimously found that respondents, including the incumbent Acting IGP Deshabandu Tennakoon, violated the fundamental rights of a former army soldier. The violations cited included freedom from torture, unlawful arrest, and arbitrary administrative action that denied equal protection of the law. As a result, the Supreme Court ordered the National Police Commission (NPC) and other relevant authorities to take appropriate disciplinary action against Tennakoon and other police officers.

Given the Supreme Court's findings and the pending cases against Acting IGP Tennakoon, the petitioners argue that he cannot ethically accept any appointment as Inspector General of Police. Such an acceptance, they contend, would constitute a clear infringement of the fundamental rights guaranteed to the petitioners and other citizens under Article 12(1) of the Constitution.

One of the key issues raised in the petition is the alleged closer connections of Acting IGP Tennakoon with a criminal network. The petitioners also highlight concerns about his extensive property portfolio in Dubai, purportedly purchased under the names of close relatives. These allegations further underscore the petitioners' contention that Tennakoon's appointment undermines the principles of justice and raises questions about the integrity of the law enforcement leadership.

In light of these concerns, the petitioners are seeking a court order to quash President Ranil Wickramasinghe's decision to appoint Deshabandu Tennakoon as the Acting IGP. Additionally, they are requesting an injunction to prevent Tennakoon from accepting the post of Inspector General of Police.

This legal challenge adds a new layer of complexity to the ongoing debate surrounding law enforcement and leadership in Sri Lanka. As the petition makes its way through the legal process, it has the potential to impact the future of policing in the country and raise questions about the role of the President in such appointments.

-By A Special Correspondent

by     (2023-12-30 15:35:17)

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