CHAMINDA v. GUNAWARDENA, OIC POLICE STATION, KATARAGAMA AND OTHERS S.C. (SPECIAL) NO. 106/97

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On 20.02.1997 the Post Master, Central Post Office, Kataragama, made a complaint to the Kataragama Police regarding a loss of monies from the Post Office safe. The petitioner was a messenger attached to that Post Office;
but there was no complaint against the petitioner. However, on the same day the 2nd respondent, an Inspector of Police (since dead), arrested the petitioner and took him to the police station. The 2nd respondent questioned the petitioner about the “theft”, slapped him on the left ear and knocked his head on a wall. Thereafter the petitioner was locked up in a cell until 10.30 am on 21.02.1997 when a Pradeshiya Sabha member intervened and had him released. The petitioner produced in support an affidavit from the Pradeshiya Sabha member. The 1st respondent (OIC) denied the alleged arrest and detention on the basis that there were no entries at the police station regarding an arrest or discharge. However, the 1st respondent admitted that he had instructed the 2nd respondent to proceed
with inquiries; that the 2nd respondent questioned the petitioner after which a police constable had recorded the petitioner’s statement. The medical report on the petitioner gave a history of assault by police on 20.2.1997. It stated that the petitioner had pain in the ear and a perforation on left tympanic membrane.

the judge declared that the petitioner’s fundamental rights guaranteed by Article 11 was violated by the 2nd respondent. the judge  awarded to the petitioner a total sum of Rs. 25,000 as compensation out of which Rs. 5,000 must be paid personally by the 1st respondent and the balance by the State. The State must also pay Rs. 5,000 as costs to the petitioner.

full judgement here

 

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