'Tamil voters' fundamental rights violated' -- Supreme Court
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 25 March 2003, 20:15 GMT]
The Supreme Court Tuesday held that the Commander of the Sri Lanka Army and the Commissioner of Elections had violated the fundamental rights of the voters in the LTTE held areas of the North-East province by preventing them from casting their votes at the last general elections held
in December 2001, legal sources said.
The SC ordered the State to pay one hundred thousand rupees as compensation to each petitioner and the Commander of the Sri Lanka Army, Lionel Balagalle,
to pay ninety thousand rupees from his personal fund, legal sources said.
The SC further ordered the Commissioner of Elections, Mr.Dayananda Dissanayake, to pay one thousand rupees to each petitioner from his personal funds, sources said.
The fundamental rights applications filed by five Tamil voters of the areas
held by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in the North-East province came
up for hearing before a three-member bench of the Supreme Court Tuesday.
The bench comprised Justices Mark Fernando, Ameer Ismail and C.V.Vigneswaran
The petitioners had cited the Commissioner of Elections, the Commander of
the Sri Lanka Army, the Government Agents of the districts of Vavuniya and
Batticaloa and several army and civil officials as respondents in their FR
The petitioners sought the Supreme Court to declare that the respondents
had violated their fundamental rights by preventing them from entering the
army controlled areas to exercise their franchise at the last general election, legal sources said.
At the last general election, several thousand Tamil voters residing in the
LTTE held areas in the Batticaloa and Vavuniya districts were prevented by
the SLA from entering the army controlled areas to cast their votes at the
polling stations arranged for them, legal sources said.
In another development, the Supreme Court in its order held that allowing
President Chandrika Kumaratunge, former Prime Minister Mr.Ratnasiri
Wickremanayake, former Deputy Defence Minister General Anurudha Ratwatte
and former Speaker Mr.Anura Bandaranaike to cast their votes from their
residences at the last parliamentary election was against the law and it
had no legal validity, legal sources said.