Supreme Court holds Vavuniya pass system violates fundemental rights in CPA sponsored case – 5th September 2003

Supreme Court today (5th September) upheld the challenge to the
pass system that was in operation in Vavuniya since 1993. The Petitioner,
Peter Vadivel, a refugee from the Sithamparapuram Refugee Camp,
petitioned the Supreme Court that his fundamental rights were violated
by the requirement to obtain travel passes to travel to Colombo.

respondent took up the position that the pass system was implemented
in the interest of National Security, reasonable and necessary in
the situation that the country was in. The court upheld the contention
that the petitioners fundamental right to movement under Article
14(1)(h) of the Constitution was violated and awarded compensation
and costs at a sum of Rs. 30,000 awardable by the State.

Sumanthiran with Ms P.S. Bandaranayake, Ms Renuka Senanayake, K
Pirabaharan appeared for the Petitioner. Ms Indika Demuni de Silva,
State Counsel appeared for the respondents.

Centre for Policy Alternatives sponsored the case in addition to
carrying out the necessary legal research.

Rohan Edrisinha
Director – Legal

Centre for Policy Alternatives

The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) was formed in 1996 in the firm belief that there is an urgent need to strengthen institution- and capacity-building for good governance and conflict transformation in Sri Lanka and that non-partisan civil society groups have an important and constructive contribution to make to this process. Focusing primarily on issues of governance and conflict resolution, CPA is committed to programmes of research and advocacy through which public policy is critiqued, alternatives identified and disseminated.