18 May, 2022


SC Says State Should Considering Addressing And Mitigating Police Violence, Custodial Torture And Death

The State should consider addressing and mitigating the problem of Police violence, and custodial torture and death, the Supreme Court (SC) noted in the context of deciding on a case of custodial torture. 

The case which was decided last month was Kandawalage Don Samantha Perera v. Officer-In-Charge (OIC) of the Hettipola Police Station and Others (SC FR Application 296/2014). 

The other respondents were the OIC Crimes of Police of the Hettipola Police Station, the Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General. The case was heard before President’s Counsels and Justices Priyantha Jayawardena and S. Thurairaja, and Justice L.T.B. Dehideniya.

The petitioner had claimed the infringement of his Fundamental Rights under Articles 11 {freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment}, 12(1) {right to equality before the law and equal protection of the law}, 13(1) {freedom from arbitrary arrest} and 13(2) {freedom from arbitrary detention} of the Constitution. 

Thurairaja J. in his opinion held that “The consistent pattern of Police violence, custodial torture and death as evidenced by the considerable number of Fundamental Rights petitions filed before this Court, indicates that the State should consider addressing and mitigating the problem.”

He emphasized that the violation of the right to liberty guaranteed by Articles 11 and 13 of the Constitution should be of serious concern and that the State should take more proactive steps to address the gap between the law and the practice.

Towards this end, he recommended utilizing as a starting point, Article 10 of the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the latter instrument which has not only been ratified by Sri Lanka but has also enacted enabling legislation in the form of the Convention Against Torture Act, No. 22 of 1994 as Amended. 

Article 10 of the Convention holds that “Each State Party shall ensure that education and information regarding the prohibition against torture are fully included in the training of law enforcement personnel, civil or military, medical personnel, public officials and other persons who may be involved in the custody, interrogation or treatment of any individual subjected to any form of arrest, detention or imprisonment.” and that “Each State Party shall include this prohibition in the rules or instructions issued in regard to the duties and functions of any such person”. (By Ruwan Laknath Jayakody)

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Latest comments

  • 2

    Ruwan Laknath Jayakody,
    Is there any convention of UN address using military for civil duty during non emergency time or permanent purpose? These Savage Indra and his gang was long trained by America on fighting respecting international humanitarian laws. They just can’t get it specially, if they see a Sari weaning men or woman.

    • 6


      Where are you?
      Today is the 37th remembrance day of the 1983 Pogrom against the Tamil Speaking people.

      Aren’t you celebrating the day with your mates?

    • 0

      What happened to the people’s darling POLICE spokesman ?
      For the second time, he is caught by being Rajakashe criminal gangs being that submissive to them. I thought at least thing guy would do it impartially. Today with all the truths being revealed about the POLICE criminal acts, he is now as if a dog, once defeated, seeking to hide his tail behind the rear legs.
      We are really sorry about the FATE of Ajith Rohana…. but I still believe, if a dozen of good SENIOR police officers would stand against POLICE crimes, regardless of their petty gains being taken from the politicians, to the very same manner in Bangkok or Singapore, srilanken POLICE service could be improved no doubt about that.
      It is a matter of SELF courage. and self initiative nature against the growing high crimes. If not today when ?

  • 12

    State is the problem not the police. Police just follows the order of the State President and Prime Minister. They can’t be in power for a day without torture, Violence and death.

    • 4

      The Supreme Court noted that The State should consider addressing and mitigating the problem of Police violence, and custodial torture and death.
      Read between the lines.
      The Supreme Court has said exactly what you have said, only lawfully & diplomatically.

  • 3

    The involvement of the Police in Narcotics, raises the possibility of widespread penetration of the Police by the drug dealers. The repeated killing of fishermen by the Angulana Police indicates the possibility that this Police Station has been penetrated by the drug dealers. Incineration of drugs in a transparent manner after keeping a sample for the courts, is a necessity.

  • 3

    Laws are in the Sri Lankan lawbooks for causal reading and commenting on, only. The laws do not deter those with power to abuse their power at will, breaking laws with impunity. To even discuss the matter of police brutality is probably a waste of time, as it is a core component of how the police operates. Big offenders with connections to high places are treated with silk gloves and tapped with a feather while those poor wretches who are hauled in with no connections or access to politicians are kicked around at will, bullied, spat on, trampled and humiliated in the worst possible way. Women reporting rape are often raped by the police who claim the victims are prostitutes. The problems start from the very top where impunity is condoned. For example, ministers’ sons can run over an ordinary pedestrian and kill him or her and still remain free. Drug lords are never named or booked, while smugglers are sometimes arrested when bribes are not forthcoming. Traffic cops are a legendary story also. There is no political enthusiasm to change according to clear violations of UN conventions on torture and inhuman treatment. On the contrary they are also beneficiaries of the perversely illegal system that operates as law enforcement.

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