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HRCSL files contempt case against power cuts during exams

Colombo (LNW): The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) has filed a Contempt of Court case before the Supreme Court against the Secretary to the Ministry of Power and Energy, the Chairman of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), and the Chairman of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) over the provision of uninterrupted electricity during the GCE A/L exam period.

The complaint submitted by the Human Rights Commission to the Supreme Court against the power and energy officials alleging that they insulted the authority of the Human Rights Commission by failing to implement the directive of the HRCSL to provide electricity continuously during the period of the A Level examination was referred today to Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya for further inquiry.

The authorities of the relevant institutions have agreed to provide continuous electricity supply from January 25 until the end of the GCE A/L examination on February 17 at a discussion held at the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission.

The HRCSL alleged that the respondents have violated the provisions of the settlement arrived at before the commission with regard to the continuous supply of power during the relevant period.

Issuing a statement, the Commission alleges that notwithstanding the settlement arrived by the above parties to provide uninterrupted electricity for the A/L students during the period of the examination, the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) willfully and maliciously disregarded the settlement and continued with the power cuts.

The HRCSL notes that the Chairman of the Ceylon Electricity Board is guilty of the offence of contempt under the provisions of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka Act No. 21 of 1996.

“The Commission treats the said blatant disregard of the CEB to provide an uninterrupted electricity supply during the examination period is a gross violation of a child’s right to education,” the statement said adding that the settlement was to prevent the power cut only during the period of the A/L examination.

The HRCSL alleges that the CEB disregarded the assurance and proceeded with the power cuts despite having admitted before the Commission that there are meaningful ways to provide electricity, and settling on that basis.

The Commission said the unbecoming and outrageous behavior of the State Officials of the CEB as an intentional affront to justice and contempt of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka.

“In this backdrop, the certificate of contempt has been duly signed by the Commission and forwarded to the Supreme Court and a case of Contempt of Court has been filed before the Supreme Court in this regard which will be taken up in the due course and relevant parties will be heard with the main view of providing a relief to the A/L candidates.”

The Commission reiterates the position that the sole purpose of this intervention is only to ensure the rights of Citizens and in particular that of the A/L Candidates are duly honored and the Commission assures its continuous efforts in upholding the rule of law of the country and Fundamental Rights of its citizens.

The Commission said it will closely observe the developments in this regard.

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