By Colombo Telegraph –
Mrs. Deepali Wijesundara, the most controversial senior High Court Judge, has sworn in as an Appeal Court Judge. The swearing in was held at the Temple Trees before President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Judge Deepali Wijesundera has been known for her arrogance from the time she was a Magistrate. She did not like suspects being brought to her residence by the Police.
In 1986 when she was the Kesbewa Magistrate, she remanded a senior public servant named Mrs. Dharmatilleke without even seeing the lady. Dharmatilleke was a witness in a case in the Colombo High Court and a warrant was issued to arrest her because she did not attend courts. She was arrested by the Police. She told the Police that she did not get summons. She also said that she was a heart patient and requested that she taken to the hospital. She was taken to the residence of Wijesundera on a Saturday. She was not taken inside the house but was kept in the Police Jeep. The Policeman went into the house and got a remand order. Wijesundera remanded the lady for 14 days even without seeing her.
According to the law, a person must be physically produced before a judge to be remanded. This gives the person an opportunity to tell the judge why he or she should not be remanded and also about any circumstances of the case which such person wants the judge to know. Also, a person who has been assaulted by the Police can complain to the judge about it. Normally, if a suspect is in the hospital, the judge must go to the hospital and see the suspect before making any order.
Mrs. Dharmatilleke later filed a fundamental rights application. Dr. Colvin R. De Silva appeared for her. The Supreme Court held that Judge Deepali Wijesundera had remanded Mrs. Dharmatilleke without being produced before her. The Supreme Court judgement is by Chief Justice S. Sharvananda, Justice O.S.M. Seneviratne and Justice H.D. Tambiah. The Supreme Court stated that if Mrs. Dharmatilleke was produced before the Magistrate, she would have explained that she had not re¬ceived summons from the High Court. She could also have told the Magistrate that she was a heart patient and wanted to be admitted to a hospital. The Magistrate may have remanded her till Monday only and ordered to be produced in the High Court.
The Supreme Court held that Dharmatilleke’s fundamental rights were violated. The Supreme Court case number is SC 156/86.