The Supreme Court yesterday (17) granted leave to proceed with a fundamental rights petition filed by a man for detaining him for three days in prison custody despite the Court of Appeal having ordered his release from the case.
The petitioner, Bandula Sudathsiri Perera, a resident of Homagama challenged the delay for three days on the part of prison authorities to release him from prison after the Court of Appeal acquitted him from murder charges.
The Supreme Court three-judge-bench comprising Justices S. Thurairaja, Shiran Goonaratne and Janak de Silva granted leave to proceed with the petition in terms of Article 12(1) of the Constitution for violating the right to equality before the law.
The petitioner stated he was convicted by Homagama High Court for allegedly committing a murder and imposed death sentence on June 5, 2019.
The petitioner said following the conviction he was jailed in Welikada prison and subsequently transferred to the Agunokolepelessa prison.
The Petitioner said he filed an appeal before the Court of Appeal against the conviction and sentence.
He said the Court of Appeal acquitted him from murder charges and directed the respondents to release him from custody.
The petitioner said the Court of Appeal registrar on the day of the delivery of the judgment itself had formally issued the release order to the respondents to release the petitioner from custody.
He said his brother came from Homagama to fetch him from Agunokolepelessa prison.
The petitioner stated that on February 24 he made inquiries from the Superitendent of Prison in Agunokolepelessa as to why he is not released from the prison and subsequently he was informed that he is not acquitted from the case, but in fact his conviction was affirmed.
He claimed that the respondents detained him for three days in an unlawful manner and he was finally released in February 2022.
The petitioner stated that many inmates once they are released by the courts are continued to be kept in custody even for months. He further said the respondents have failed to implement a mechanism to release prisoners immediately after the pronouncement of judgment.
The petitioner maintained that failure to release him by the prison authorities constitutes a violation of his right to equality before the law.
The petition was fixed for argument on May 27 next year. Counsel Harishke Samaranayake appeared for the petitioner.