The fundamental rights (FR) petitions filed against the appointment of Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Deshabandu Tennakoon are slated to be taken up for consideration before the Supreme Court on Tuesday (02).

A three-member bench led by Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya will sit for the consideration of the petitions put forward by His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, Prof. Savitri Gunasekara, former MP Hirunika Premachandra and several others.

The Speaker of Parliament, the members of the Constitutional Council, IGP Tennakoon, the Attorney General and several others have been named as the respondents of the petitions.

The petitioners allege that Tennakoon had neglected his duties during his tenure as the Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police (SDIG) of the Western Province when the 2019 Easter attacks happened, and a pre-mediated attack was launched on the ‘GotaGoGama’ protest site at the Galle Face Green where several protesters were brutally beaten.

They emphasized that the post of the police chief, who is responsible for the implementation of the law in the country, should be given to an individual who has humane qualities, as opposed to someone who acted contrary to his assigned duties and in violation of basic human rights.

Further, the petitioners claimed that the appointment of the police chief had not been properly approved by the Constitutional Council.

On that account, the petitioners have sought a Supreme Court ruling invalidating the appointment of the police chief.

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena found himself in hot water for ‘unconstitutionally and unlawfully’ using his decisive vote to affirm the appointment of IGP Tennakoon when the other members of the Constitutional Council were divided on a tie on the matter.

It was reported that four Constitutional Council members had voted in favour of the appointment while 2 voted against and 2 others abstained. However, considering the 2 abstentions as votes cast against, the Speaker had used his vote as the deciding vote to go ahead with the appointment.

Against this backdrop, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volter Turk also raised concerns about the recent appointment of IGP Tennakoon, “despite the Supreme Court’s finding that he was implicated in the ‘torture of an individual in 2010.”

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