A medical report dated the 30th of August 2021 and addressed to ‘Whom it may concern’ signed by Dr. Sarath Paranavitane was submitted by the former Sri Lankan Airlines Regional Manager to India Lalith De Silva‘s Lawyer, when his sentencing was brought up in the New Delhi Metropolitan Magistrate, Patiala Court House, New Delhi yesterday.
Lalith De Silva has been avoiding travelling to India since being convicted under Section 509 of the IPC by Judge S.H. Dev Saroha on the 16th of September 2020, by the Metropolitan Magistrate Court of New Delhi for insulting the modesty of one of his Indian national female staff members, during the time he was stationed as the Regional Manager of SriLankan Airlines in New Delhi India.
De Silva could be fined and jailed for upto a maximum of three years for his conviction in India.
The violation and conviction of the Indian Penal Code 509 is defined as “whoever, intending to insult the modesty of any woman, utters any words, makes any sound or gesture, or exhibits any object, intending that such word or sound shall be heard, or that such gesture or object shall be seen, by such woman, or intrudes upon the privacy of such woman, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, and also with fine”.
As per court records as stated by the complainant, the incident had flared up when on the 8th of October 2009, the Regional Manager De Silva had called his Indian national female Sales Executive to his room at the SriLankan Airlines Delhi Office and had asked her “Did your husband fuck you? How was it? What shall I call you now, a prostitute, hooker or bitch?”
Earlier, De Silva’s Lawyers submitted a letter addressed by the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka stating that flights to India had been suspended upto the 31st of August 2021, due to Covid-19 travel restrictions and that their client could not be physically present for sentencing.
Yesterday was the first court date after flights to India had resumed from Sri Lanka and De Silva’s Lawyers submitted Dr. Paranavitane’s Medical Report recommending that his patient who suffers from seizures, should not make any overseas trips for 6 to 8 months, until his condition is monitored and further assessed thereafter.
Dr. Paranavitane’s Medical Report states that his patient Lalith De Silva has been under his care since January 2015 and had suffered two seizures last month on the 10th and 16th of August 2021, barely weeks before his sentencing was brought up last on the 7th of September 2021.
The Medical Report further stated De Silva has been directly under Dr. Paranavitane’s care along with Consultant Neuro-surgeon Dr. A.T. Alibhoy.
In conclusion the Medical Report of which Colombo Telegraph does have a copy, stated that ” The specific reasons for frequent, unexpected occurrences of seizure attacks is inconclusive and requires further extensive tests and continuous monitoring of Mr. De Silva’s medical condition. Based on the above, I am of the opinion that Mr.De Silva should refrain from any type of strenuous activities and should not drive or undertake any forms of overseas travel or unnecessary stressful journeys as such would aggravate his condition where he could suffer irreparable damage. This situation must be reviewed in 6 to 8 months after further clinical examination. Currently he is unfit for any overseas travel which could aggravate his medical position to irreversible status.”
The next hearing regarding this case ‘The State vs Lalith De Silva’ bearing Case No: Cr Cases/0049796/2016 is scheduled for the 24th of September 2021.
Meanwhile SriLankan Airlines, the national carrier of Sri Lanka was also convicted in a separate case for not adhering to Indian Law in implementing an Internal Complaint Committee (ICC) as per Indian Law to protect, especially female employees such as his victim from being harrassed.
The Court in New Delhi India awarded the maximum sentence and imposed Indian Rs 50,000 penalty on Sri Lanka’s national carrier SriLankan Airlines for non-compliance of this Indian law.
In this case, Lalith De Silva’s victim had sought the prosecution of the airline for non compliance of Section 4 of the ‘The Sexual Harassment of Women At Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition And Redressal) Act, 2013 hereinafter called “POSH Act”, which is a punishable offence under Section 26 of the Act “POSH Act” with a fine amounting to a maximum of Rs 50,000 Indian rupees.
After taking into account the conduct of the airline the Judge imposed a maximum penalty.
This is the first such conviction that a court in India has made against any employer, be it local or foreign for violating this law. (Jacqueline Senanayake)