The Supreme Court june (27 ) ordered the former North Central Province Chief Minister Peshala Jayaratne to personally pay Rs. 250,000 as compensation to a school principal.
This is for violating his Fundamental Rights in transferring him for having handed over a sheaf of betel leaves to the former Chief Minister in a wrong way at a welcome.
The Supreme Court three-judge-Bench comprising Justice Eva Wanasundara, Justice Sisira de Abrew and Justice Nalin Perera made this order following a fundamental rights petition filed by R.P. Karunaratne Bandara, a former principal of Nivanththaka Chethiya Maha Vidyalaya in Anuradhapura.
The Supreme Court also issued an order directing the state to pay Rs.50,000 to the petitioner as legal costs.
The Supreme Court further issued an order directing the Provincial Education Director to transfer the petitioner back to Nivanththaka Chethiya Maha Vidyalaya in Anuradhapura within two months.
The petitioner was serving as the principal of the Pahala Halmillewa Dutugemunu Maha Vidyalaya by letter dated 28.05.2015 issued by Provincial Education Director (Anuradhapura). He was transferred as the principal of Nivanththaka Chethiya Maha Vidyalaya in Anuradhapura with immediate effect on exigencies of service.
The petitioner stated that he assumed duties as the principal of Nivanththaka Chethiya Maha Vidyalaya and discharged the functions to the satisfaction of the Education Authorities, parents, teachers and students.
The petitioner stated on September 6, 2016, he was informed over the telephone by the Secretary to the school development committee that the Chief Minister will be attending the school on September 9 at 9:30 am for a ceremony to lay the foundation stone in order to commence the work relating to the proposed new school building. He stated that it was a sudden decision taken by the respondents and he was given only two days notice to make all the required preparations for the said ceremony of laying the foundation stone by the Chief Minister.
In the heat of the events, the petitioner had handed over a sheaf of beetle leaves to the Chief Minister to cordially welcome him. However due to an inadvertent oversight said bundle had been turned the wrong way around which mistake was brought in to his attention subsequently.
He further stated that the Chief Minister made quite cynical comments when addressing the gathering alleging that there were school principals who do not know as to how the bundle of beetle leaves should be handed to a guest and alleged that he failed to get sufficient number of parents for his meeting.
The petitioner was informed by the Provincial Education Director requesting him to come to the Chief Ministry of the North Central Province. He stated that he went to the Chief Ministry and he was informed that he would be transferred to a different school with immediate effect on the orders given by the Chief Minister. The reason given for the alleged transfer is the unhappiness of the Chief Minister with regard to the events that transpired at Nivanthaka Chethiya Maha Vidyalaya. Subsequently, he was informed that he has been transferred to Rambewa Maha Vidyalaya in Anuradhapura.
He sought a declaration the respondents have violated his fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 12(1) and 14(1)(g) of the constitution.