The Supreme Court yesterday ordered the State to pay Rs. 300,000 as compensation and costs to a father who carried out a legal battle for some fifteen years after the disappearance of his two sons who were arrested and detained by the Army.
Justice Shirani A. Bandaranayake with Justices N.K. Udalagama and Raja Fernando agreeing held that the State was responsible for the infringement of the fundamental rights of the two sons of the petitioner K. Machchavalavan.
She directed the State to pay Rs. 150,000 each for the two sons who had disappeared while in detention. The money is to be paid to the father within three months.
Earlier the Court of Appeal had refused to grant the father a writ of habeas corpus after the two sons had been arrested in a cordon and search operation conducted by the Army on July 6, 1990.
The Court of Appeal had referred the application to the Colombo Chief Magistrate on September 1, 1995 to inquire into and report on the arrest and alleged imprisonment or detention.
The magistrate had held an inquiry and submitted his findings to the Court of Appeal on March 14, 1997. The magistrate had concluded there was no evidence to establish that the Plantain Point Army Camp OIC either took part in the round up operation or was in any manner responsible for the alleged arrest and detention.
Justice Shirani Bandaranayake in her judgement said the Court of Appeal being satisfied that the two sons were detained at the Plantain Point Army Camp after arrest had issued a rule nisi on the Army Camp OIC on July 19, 2000 directing him to produce the bodies of the two sons before the Court of Appeal on May 17, 2001.
The OIC filed an affidavit denying the arrest and detention of the two by him. The Court of Appeal delivered its judgment in July, 2003 discharging the rule nisi and dismissing the applications.
The father had made a complaint to the Civilian Information Office on 21.9.1990. He had stated that on 6.7.1990, Army officers took his sons into custody along with him and several others and took them to the Plantain Point Army Camp.
He said he and two others were released in the evening but his two sons were not released. On inquiry from the camp, he was informed that his sons were not in that camp.
The Supreme Court observed there was clear evidence that the two sons were arrested and detained in a cordon and search operation.
Dr T. Thirunavukarasu appeared for the father.