In view of a settlement, the Supreme Court yesterday terminated the fundamental rights violation petition filed against the installation of a statue of Jesus Christ at Telwatha Junction, Negombo.
The Bench comprised Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva and Justices Shiranee Tilakawardane and Saleem Marsoof.
When the matter was taken up yesterday, Counsel M. A. Sumanthiran appearing for the Parish Priest of St. Joseph`s Church Rev. Ananda Vithana and its Secretary Camilus Alwis submitted to court that his clients were agreeing to move the said statue not less than 50 feet from the present location. Counsel for the petitioners agreed to the proposal.
The court earlier had made an interim order preventing the Negombo Municipal Council and Parish Priest of St. Joseph`s Church Rev. Ananda Vithana and its Secretary Camilus Alwis from taking any action to erect the said statue at the said location until the final determination of the application.
The petitioners in their petition inter alia stated they were persons who worship the Buddha Statue, which was placed at the Telwatha Junction, which demarcates the entrance to the temples - Bodhirajaramaya and Abeysekeraramaya.
They stated that the Buddha statue was erected in the year 1999 on the premises of Mr. Leelarathna at the Telwatha Junction. They alleged that on February 1 this year, a group of persons under the instruction of the Parish Priest and the Secretary of the St. Joseph`s Church started clearing the land within 25 feet of the said Buddha statue.
They said that upon investigation it was revealed that the said group of persons was attempting to erect a 20-feet statue of Jesus Christ on a 15-feet pedestal.
They contended that if the said statue of Jesus Christ was erected in that location, it would obstruct the said Buddha statue and hinder the petitioners` right to worship the Buddha statue. President`s Counsel Wijedasa Rajapakse appeared for the petitioners.