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SC disallows hearing SLT employees’ FR petition

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The Supreme Court yesterday (15) decided to dismiss two Fundamental Rights petitions filed against the restructuring of the Sri Lanka Telecom without hearing them. J. B. Gurusinghe, President of Sri Lanka Telecommunications Employees’ Union

and Secretary H.K. Hettiarachchi and Indika Priyadarshana, President of Sri Lanka Telecom Samagi Sewaka Sangamaya had submitted these two petitions.

These petitions were dismissed on the unanimous decision of the three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court after a lengthy consideration of the preliminary objections presented on behalf of several respondents, including the Attorney General, and the arguments of the stakeholders in favour of it and against it.

The order was issued by a Supreme Court Bench consisting of Justices Murdu Fernando, Kumuduni Wickremasinghe and Priyantha Fernando. When these petitions were taken up for hearing yesterday (15), Deputy Solicitor General Rajeev Gunathilake, representing the Attorney General, presented some preliminary objectionsregarding the petitions.

He stated that the allegation raised by the petitioners that the restructuring of the Telecom company will threaten national security is an illusion. He also pointed out that many powerful countries in the world, including Britain, have privatised telecommunication institutions. Also, he submitted a preliminary objection that the petition of these petitioners has overrun the prescribed time.

He stated that the Cabinet announced the restructuring of the Telecom Company last March and this was also announced in the Budget speech made by the Finance Minister. In spite of this, the petitioners have submitted these petitions after exceeding the prescribed period, he said.

He also mentioned that the matters of this restructuring are currently in the preliminary stage and have not yet reached the final stage. The Deputy Solicitor General pointed out that even though the petitioners claimed that the restructuring of SLT would cause prejudice to its subscribers and shareholders, it was wrong. He presented the facts that this is a programme that will benefit everyone and be a winner for everyone.

He also emphasized that if there is opposition to such restructuring opportunities, the investments for that purpose may be avoided and those investments may flow to other countries.The Deputy Solicitor General asked the court to dismiss the petitions as they have no legal basis.

Jayampathi Wickramaratne, the President’s Counsel who appeared for the petitioner, stated that the restructuring process should be done in a proper manner. He also stated that he objects to the sale process if done without transparency.

President’s Counsel Sanjeewa Jayawardene and President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva also presented the facts on behalf of the respondents.After considering the facts, the court refused to allow the hearing of the petition.

On behalf of the President, 34 including the Attorney General, the Cabinet including the Prime Minister, Sri Lanka Telecom, its Chairman, and the Chief Executive Officer of the Colombo Stock Exchange were the respondents in the petitions.

Friday, June 16, 2023 – 01:19











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