Court provides language reprieve to Tamil defendants

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 14 February 2001, 21:19 GMT]
The Trincomalee Magistrate on Wednesday instructed the Police to file plaints and issue summons in Tamil language in cases filed against Tamil speaking people. Mr.S.Thiagendran, Magistrate and Additional District Judge made this order when an Attorney-at-Law pointed out to him that his Tamil client had received summons in Sinhala language, contrary to the Section 44 (2) of the Criminal Procedure Act of 1979.

Defense Attorney Kasinathar Sivapalan told court according to the CPC Act, a client should be informed in a language he could understand.

In the particular case P.Wijekanth of 'Thaen Thamil Veethi' of Orrs' Hill in Trincomalee had received his summons from the Police in Sinhala language.

Attorney Sivapalan submitted to court that his client was unable to read or understand as the summons served on him was in Sinhala language. Furthermore Attorney Sivapalan said that he was also not in a position to advise his client in this case due to the language barrier.

Attorney Sivapalan further submitted to court that the administrative language of courts in northeast province was Tamil.

The Magistrate said that the court had accepted the submissions made by the defense attorney and gave time till February 28 to the police to implement his instructions.

Legal circles in Trincomalee expect that the Magistrate's instruction in this regard could make all police stations in Trincomalee district to make necessary arrangements to transact business in Tamil language also.

At present all police stations in the district do their business in Sinhala language only. Tamils who go to make complaints to these Police stations are forced to sign their complaints written in Sinhala as no Tamil police personnel are available to record their statements in Tamil language.

 

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