Court throws out 31 police petitions against SJB!

Prohibition orders have been issued in relation to 13 other petitions.

The petitions filed by the Peliyagoda and Kotahena Police are due to be taken up in Court today (16).

Meanwhile, Petitions filed by 31 police stations in Bloemendhal, Kirulapone, Narahenpita, Bambalapitiya, Dam Street, Welikada, Gothatuwa, Mulleriyawa, Maligawatta, Wellampitiya, Borella, Modara, Cinnamon Gardens, Dematagoda, Grandpass, Weralabada, Mattakkuliya, Keselwatta, Mirihana, Maharagama, Boralesgamuwa, Mount Lavinia, Minuwangoda, Katunayake, Gampaha,  Ganemulla, Yakkala, Bemmulla, Malwathuhiripitiya, Weliweriya and Weeragula have been rejected.

The petitions in the Mahara and Welisara Magistrate’s Courts by the  Kadawatha, Kiribathgoda, Sapugaskanda, Biyagama, Meegahawatta, Enderamulla, Wattala, Ragama, Kelaniya and 12 other police stations had been accepted and prohibition orders had been issued.

Meanwhile, the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court yesterday (15) rejected a request made by 18 police stations to issue an enjoining order to stop the protest rally to be held today (16) by the Samagi Jana Balawegaya.

Colombo Chief Magistrate Buddhika Sri Ragala also rejected a request made by the Keselwatta Police to issue an order to the Samagi Jana Balawegaya to conduct the protest in accordance with the criteria issued by the Director General of Health Services.

The Magistrate asked about the Ministry of Health’s lack of official statistics on the spread of Covid by the protesters, pointing out that a large number of police officers who were present in court were not even a foot away from each other, adding that there was no information so far regarding a protest cluster.

The Magistrate also noted that the health guidelines issued by the Director General of Health had not specified the number of persons allowed to attend a public rally or even a percentage, adding that the public had a right to protest according to the Constitution. The Magistrate also noted that the police had failed to present their facts properly and there was no indication that the protest would be held in the Keselwatte Police area. 

According to a circular issued by the Health General regarding Covid, the magistrate directed the police to use their police powers to arrest and bring to justice those who violate it.

Deputy Solicitor General Dileepa Peiris appeared for the Attorney General on behalf of the police stations in the Colombo Central Division including Keselwatta, Dam Street and Aduruppu Street.

The Deputy Solicitor General told court that there was intelligence reports to suggest that the leader of the Samagi Jana Balawega Sajith Premadasa, its secretary Ranjith Maddumabandara and MP Mujibur Rahuman are preparing to hold a protest in the Keselwatta area in Colombo today (16, adding that the Covid virus could spread further through such a meeting, which is being held in violation of health guidelines. 

He also told the court that the Health Services Director General had issued an Extraordinary Gazette notification on November 09th stating that holding of protests in violation of health guidelines could lead to the further spread of Covid.

The Deputy Solicitor General told court that while accepting the public’s right to protest, the court order was requested not to stop these protests but to ensure these protests are held in accordance with the health guidelines.

A group of lawyers including Attorney Gunaratne Wanninayake and Attorney Athula S. Ranagala appeared on behalf of the protestors.

The Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court heard the cases from seven courts and twenty police jurisdictions, but rejected eight police divisions. The verdict regarding the cases filed by the Peliyagoda and Kotahena Police stations, will be decided when the case is taken up today.

Accordingly, the requests made by the Bloemendhal, Kirulapone, Narahenpita, Bambalapitiya, Dam Street, Welikada, Gothatuwa, Mulleriyawa, Maligawatta, Wellampitiya, Borella, Modara, Cinnamon Gardens, Dematagoda, Grandpass, Weralabada, Mattakkuliya and Keselwatta, Police Stations was rejected.

The police had reported to the Colombo Magistrate’s Court that they had received information that there was a possibility of around 5,000 people attending the Samagi Jana Balawegaya organized protest.

However, the Nugegoda Chief Magistrate yesterday (15) rejected the requests made by the Mirihana, Maharagama, Kohuwala and Boralesgamuwa Police stations that such gatherings could lead to a breach of security and violation of Covid health guidelines.

The cases filed by the Mount Lavinia Police at the Mount Lavinia Courts and the case filed by the Minuwangoda and Katunayake Police at the Minuwangoda Magistrate’s Court had also been rejected.

The Gampaha Magistrate had also thrown out the cases filed in this regard by the Gampaha, Ganemulla, Yakkala, Bemmulla, Malwathuhiripitiya. Weliweriya and Weeragula Police Stations.

Meanwhile, Horana Magistrate Chamani Wijayabandara yesterday (15) ordered the issuance of a restraining order preventing protests and rallies in the Horana court area in line with the forthcoming agitation of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya.

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