Whilst continuing to make a mockery of the existing Judiciary under President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s government, the authorities of Royal Institute riding on the powers of the current Defense Secretary Retired Major General Kamal Gunaratne, continue to blatantly disregard the Supreme Court order and operate its branch illegally from its Nugegoda premise.
Despite ignoring the Supreme Court ruling passed by the three judge bench in April 2019, the Director of Royal Institute Nirodha Bandara who earlier insulted Supreme Court Judges as being ‘heartless’, sees her business interests being protected by none other than her former employee and then Director of Administration Rtd Maj. Gen Kamal Gunaratne.
It was the Rtd. Maj. Gen Kamal Gunaratne himself who created havoc in the school earlier when as the Administrative Director he harassed children by locking them up for hours in classrooms for non-payment of school fees and placed military style clad security personnel to intimidate and instill fear.
Parents had filed complaint after complaint regarding many malpractices that the school was implementing which even flouted basic safety laws.
However after the Supreme Court ruling was given, the school’s Academic Director Nirodha Bandara addressing parents at a meeting, informed them that the Rtd. Maj. General Kamal Gunaratne had resigned from the school.
However up until now both the Urban Development Authority and the Municipal Council of Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte, who were entrusted to execute the Supreme Court order have been reluctant to go ahead, as external pressures have been enforced preventing them from demolishing of the building.
Last year the Judge reading out the verdict, ordered the Urban Development Authority and the Municipal Council of Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte, who as the 1st and 2nd respondents in the case to demolish all illegal constructions pertaining to the buildings on premises bearing assessment Nos.10 and 12, Chapel Lane, Nugegoda and for the Municipal Council of Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte to cancel all permits (if any) granted to Royal Institute, the 9th Respondent in the case, to carry on business of an International School at Chapel Lane Nugegoda.
It is now a further six months since the grace period has lapsed and the Academic Director of Royal Institute Nirodha Bandara continue to run her operation.
The inaction taken by the government to execute a Supreme Court Order echoes the sentiments that MP Ranjan Ramanayake made when he said that many rulings provided by the courts of Sri Lanka are not executed due to the interference of Politicians.
This incident also clearly indicates that the judicial process lacks consistency in Sri Lanka currently being run by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
A resident and one of the complainants speaking to Colombo Telegraph on condition of anonymity said “Things happen when governments are corrupt. We actually thought the Yahapalanaya government was bad as they continued to let Royal Institute operate even though the grace period to execute the Supreme Court Ruling had lapsed. Now it seems that even under Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s government we have to face the same fate. Where is the justice in this instance? Whom do we turn to now after the Supreme Court Order is been disregarded?”
Soon after the Supreme Court ruling was made in early April 2019, Nirodha Bandara addressing parents of students, teachers and staff made a bold statement threatening the Supreme Court three Judge Bench ruling when she went on to say “We will exhaust all our possible options legally and also politically and we will try everything possible.”
Sixteen residents of Chapel Lane Nugegoda filed a Fundamental Rights case bearing number SC/FR 621/2010, for the illegal manner that the school had been built besides operating an International school illegally without a license.
The three members Judge Bench of the Supreme Court comprised of Justices Sisira de Abrew, Priyantha Jayawardena and L.T.B Dehideniya. This was as their fundamental right as residents of the neighbourhood were being violated in many ways.
Citing certain technical clauses to substantiate their case, they highlighted the fact that Royal Institute Nugegoda Branch was wrongfully carrying on a business of an International School in contravention of the Development Plan – Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte Municipal Council Area (Zoning Regulations) 2008-2020 and that the said Chapel Lane is situated in a Mixed Development Zone and educational institutes are not permitted to be established there.
The complainants also stated that the school was illegally constructing a fourteen storied building on approximately 25 perches of land bearing assessment No.12 Chapel Lane abutting a twenty feet road.
Another reason stated was that the residents were being greatly inconvenienced especially due to traffic congestion which has hampered daily activities of the residents. The noise caused by the said school and the traffic congestion have made residing and travelling along the said Chapel Lane a near impossibility.
The Judge reading out the verdict, ordered the Urban Development Authority and the Municipal Council of Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte, who as the 1st and 2nd respondents in the case to demolish all illegal constructions pertaining to the buildings on premises bearing assessment Nos.10 and 12, Chapel Lane, Nugegoda and for the Municipal Council of Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte to cancel all permits (if any) granted to Royal Institute, the 9th Respondent in the case, to carry on business of an International School at Chapel Lane Nugegoda.
During the Supreme Court proceedings it was also stated that the Royal Institute did not have a license to operate an International School at the said premises at Chapel Road Nugegoda.The license that the Royal Institute of the Nugegoda Branch had was to merely conduct Computer and English lessons.
Earlier Nirodha Bandara’s father businessman and Chairman of Royal Institute International School G.T. Bandara issuing a letter rebuffed the ruling that the three Judge bench of the Supreme Court had made earlier. (By Dasun Jayakody)