Setting up regional committee, regional fund under
Order reserved regarding interim relief
The Supreme Court yesterday reserved order with regard to the interim
relief to stay the establishment of the Regional Committee and the
Regional Fund under the Post-Tsunami Operational Management Structure
agreement for Friday (15) in the Fundamental Rights applications filed
by JVP MPs and two petitioners backed by the Jathika Hela Urumaya.
The Bench comprised Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva PC and Justices
Raja Fernando and Nimal Gamini Amaratunga.
Attorney General K.C. Kamalasabeyson PC producing a document of
signed by the secretary to the Treasury submitted that if the
petitioners were agreeable to the document the agreement would be
implemented in the light of it.
He submitted that in terms of the document the local funds could be
chandelled through the Treasury and the custodian of the Regional Fund
would be the World Bank.
The Attorney General answering a question by the Court submitted that
he would not concede to the petitioners case.
At the outset President's Counsel R.K.W. Gunasekera for the Secretary
to the Ministry submitted that the petitioners did not have a stand to
file the fundamental right applications since they were not directly
affected by the tsunami. He further submitted that the none of the
people who had been affected by the tsunami had not been made a party to
The court observed that the fundamental rights applications did have
a public component. The counsel submitted that the petitioner should
clearly show as to how the petitioners had been affected by the tragedy.
He submitted that petitioners should have sought relief by way of a writ
application. He submitted that the he would object to the interim relief
on the same grounds.
President's Counsel Nigel Hatch for the respondent Ministry Secretary
stated that the President had given the authority to his client to sign,
the agreement signed and the President had vested with the executive
power to do so in terms of the Article 4 (b) of the Constitution. He
submitted that the apprehensions of the petitioners were baseless since
the agreement was only an administrative set up for equitable
distribution of relief only for one year.
He submitted that the Clause 6 of the agreement provide for the
safeguard against any arbitrary or discriminatory action. The court
however, noted that the freedom in the decision making process should be
protected. The court expressed concern that two members representing the
government in the contemplated Regional Committee could not possibly
object to any arbitrary decision by the LTTE. The court also noted that
the regional committee should be based where the affected people should
have easy access and Kilinochchi was not even affected by the tsunami.
President's Counsel H.L. De Silva submitted that the agreement had
not come before the Cabinet or before the parliament denying rights of
the petitioners. He submitted that in terms of the Ceasefire Agreement
the government could engage in the humanitarian activities in the LTTE
controlled areas and the LTTE should allow the flow of the non-military
goods. He submitted that the agreement would only facilitate their
position to achieve the ulterior motives to override the sovereignty of
Counsel S.L. Gunasekera submitted that the once the funds pass out
the control of the government it would not be accountable by any means.
He submitted that the court had a duty by the tsunami victims, the
security of the people and the security forces to manage the funds.
Petitioners 39 JVP MPs including Wimal Weerawansa, Jayantha
Wijesekera and Lakshman Nipunaarachchi and two petitioners backed by JHU
Ven. Ambalanthota Chandima Thera of Metthawasaya of Wellawa,
Ambalanthota and H.K. Don Patrick Susantha of Thiriyaya, a fisherman had
cited Secretary to the Ministry of Relief, Rehabilitation and
Reconstruction M.S. Jayasinghe, S. Rajan and the Attorney General as the
They stated that the Post-Tsunami Operational Management Structure
(P-TOMS) was unconstitutional and illegal. The order would be delivered
on July 15.