The Supreme Court in a landmark decision has delivered its verdict on a Fundamental Rights petition filed against the unannounced suspension of transmission of the ‘Ira Anduru Pata’ live discussion on Rupavahini on 4 November, 2008.
Delivering its historic ruling in a case which was heard for over 13 years, the Supreme Court held in two connected cases – SC FR Application 556 and 557/2008, that fundamental rights of a media professional – Colombo Telegraph Editor and Convenor of the Free Media Movement (at the time) – Uvindu Kurukulasuriya (First Petitioner) and a viewer – J. K. W. Jayasekara (Second Petitioner) guaranteed under Articles 10, 12(1), 12(2), 14(1), 14(1)(a) of the Constitution were infringed and ordered State to pay compensation.
SLRC had reportedly suspended the program on the basis that guest speaker Uvindu Kurukulasuriya critised the president.
In the petition, Kurukulasuriya and Jayasekara have charged that their fundamental rights to express views have been violated by the sudden suspension of transmission of the live programme.
The Supreme Court held that the fundamental rights of the two individuals have been violated by the actions of the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation.
The Court ordered the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation to pay Rs. 30,000 each to the two petitioners, and Rs. 50,000 each to be paid to the petitioners by professor Ariyaratne Athugala, who was the Chairman of the Television channel at the time of the incident. (NewsWire)