26 May, 2022


SC Orders Colombo University To Appoint Racially Victimized Muslim Woman As Lecturer

In a landmark judgment delivered on Wednesday, the Supreme Court ordered the Colombo University to absorb Fathima Shanaz as a lecturer within the next two months, after university authorities reportedly refused to appoint her in 2011 on allegedly grounds of her ethnicity even though she obtained the highest score at the interview.

Fathima Shanas

Fathima Shanas

Executive Director of the Center for Human Rights, Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon told the Colombo Telegraph that everyone underwent a dark era in the past, where everything was suppressed and there was an increased presence of racism in the country which also affected the university system.

“But I am happy to announce that we have achieved a landmark victory yesterday, and this has been possible because of the independent judiciary in the country at present,” he said.

Fathima Shanaz said; “I state that there was no reason for the 28th Respondent (Ajantha Hapuarachchi) to make any statement against me. I am now aware that the 2nd Respondent Vice Chancellor (Prof. (Mrs.) Kshanika Hirimburegama) had expressed her displeasure in appointing a Muslim as a lecturer (Probationary) to the 1st Respondent University. At this stage the, the 27th Respondent had informed the 2nd Respondent that as far as he is aware my mother of is a Sinhalese Kandyian. In fact, a few days after the interview, the 28th Respondent had made inquiries from me about my parents and I explained to the 28th Respondent that both my parents were Muslims.”

In the ruling, Judges of the Supreme Court, Eva Wanasundera and Upaly Abeyratne stated that the Management Committee and the University Council of the Colombo University had deliberately withheld the appointment of the Petitioner, Fathima Shanaz who had been selected for the post of Lecturer (Probationary) of the Journalism Unit, and had therefore violated the fundamental rights of her.

“I hold that the University of Colombo; the Management Committee of the University of Colombo; and the Council of the University of Colombo have violated the fundamental rights of the Petitioner guaranteed by Article 12(1) of the Constitution. I order the University of Colombo, The Management Committee of the University of 8 Colombo and Council of the University of Colombo to appoint the Petitioner to the post of Lecturer (Probationary) Journalism Unit of the University within two months from the date of this judgment,” the ruling stated.

The full text of the judgment of the Supreme Court is available here

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Latest comments

  • 0

    Seems that Saudi Arabia has contributed US 1-billion to Colombo University for the instalment of the Islamist radicalized lecturer(Gnanasara must be having a stroke…..poor guy – we understand). But in a more pragmatic sense, if $1-billion Islamist ideas can set Buddhist values into evolvement (and settle university debts), then $1-billion is but a venial sin.

  • 9

    I know of another case where a Muslim woman was discriminated. Foreign institute called for application to follow a post graduate course from a Department. This was a full paid schol.

    Department laid down a procedure: 1. The candidate must be under 42
    2. he or she must be a graduate 3. Must have the longest period of service. 4. A very good knowledge of English 5. This candidate shouldn’t have gone on any other foreign schol.

    Then a Muslim woman topped the list. This was a shock to the administration. They dilly dallied with the application and hence application was not sent.

    In the following year, this particular candidate was selected to go on various short term study courses to ensure that she will not be selected for the post graduate studies. Of course the candidate refused knowing what the admin was up to
    Please note that it was the admin and not the politician who were trying to sabotage.

    Next year when the application was called, the same person topped the list and then reluctantly the candidate had to speak to the Minister and explain the case. This candidate did not want to approach the Minister but she was compelled to do so. Then she was awarded the scholarship.

    Here is a case where the top public servants were racists.

    • 1

      Its true the entire university academic structure of Sri Lanka is racially profiled corrupted setting that is brutally malfunctioning and poor in wisdom within.

  • 2

    I was an academic at Univ of Peradeniya. I was hounded out by the university admin an council at the behest of the Dean. The Dean had a personal vandata he used the university machinery.

    I have a lot of respect for the Univ of Peradeniya as an instituition of learning and wisdom. The administrators are idiots who are gullible to racist manipulation.

    The same happening in Colombo!

  • 5

    In extension we can say this race and religion based recruitment is what has sent the Sri Lankan public service including education and judiciary to the dogs.

  • 0

    To Husani Hussain:

    Reply to Hussain
    Well, I was more surprised the way you become the Registrar of of Colombo at that time.

    More can say about the way you made as the Reg. by Prof. Hettiarachchi.

    Keerthi Tennakoon/CHR

    //I am not surprised by the decision of the then Vice Chancellor. I was the Registrar of Colombo when she assumed duties as Vice Chancellor and I have been discriminated by her many a time. I am not surprised by her actions. Husni Hussain Former Registrar University of Colombo//

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