The petitioner is the widow of an army deserter (deceased) against whom
there was also an open warrant signed by the Magistrate for possession of
illicit liquor and distilling equipment.
On 12.06.2000 the 2nd respondent OIC (Crimes) Paiyagala Police Station,
arrested the deserter and took him to the police station where he was detained
until the 17th. The petitioner and deceased’s mother and sister stated that they
visited the deceased on 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th and observed the deceased
being assaulted and with serious injuries. The deceased also told them that he
had been assaulted by police officers. On the 15th the deceased’s sister com
plained to the Assistant Superintendent of Police, Kalutara. The police pro
duced the deceased before the Magistrate on the 17th which was a Saturday
and he was remanded until the 29th and sent to Kalutara prison from where
he was transferred to Welikada remand prison on the 18th where he died on
According to the post-mortem report the deceased had twenty injuries on all
parts of the body, his head, chest, abdomen and every section of every limb.
His upper right arm was swollen and black. The cause of death was “acute
renal failure due to muscule cutaneous trauma”.
According to the police, the deceased was arrested on the 16th after using rea
sonable force. They denied assaulting him as alleged.
On 18.07.2000 an attorney-at-law had filed the application on behalf of the
deceased when in fact it was the wife who had given instructions. When the
application was supported on 23.8.2000 the court was informed of the facts,
namely that the instructions given were to pursue the application for compen
sation to the dependants. Accordingly, permission was granted by court to
amend the application by substituting the petitioner, in view of Rule 44(4) of the
Supreme Court Rules. The petitioner claimed relief in terms of Articles 11,
13(2) and 17 read with Article 126 of the Constitution.