An Estate worker has filed a Fundamental rights petition in the Supreme Court seeking an order directing the authorities to grant registered permanent addresses to the estate community residents of all over the country.
Petitioner Jeewarathnam Sureshkumar a resident of Muwankanda Waththa in Mawathagama filed this petition concerning the Estate Workers and their families living in Sri Lanka who are considered as citizens of this country but are equally aggrieved as the Petitioner himself due to the lack of registered residential addresses allocated to their residences.
The petitioner had named the Minister of Public Administration, Home Affairs Dinesh Gunawardena, Minister of Plantation Industries Ramesh Pathirana, Minister of Water Supply and Estate Infrastructure Development Jeewan Thondaman and several others as respondents.
According to the petition, registered permanent residential addresses for estate workers play an essential role in ensuring that these individuals have access to government services and can participate in the democratic process of the country.
This petition had been filed for the purpose of addressing the denial of a registered address for the estate community of Sri Lanka including the Petitioner himself who are a significant part of the country’s labor force employed in the tea, rubber, and coconut plantations, which are the country’s primary economic sources.
The Petitioner states that, there are approximately 300 families residing in the said Muwankanda Estate and that none of these households have a permanent postal address, hence, the citizens residing in the said estate do not receive letters and postal items personally to their houses or their name, and all mail is collectively received by the public address; “Muwankanda Waththa, Mawathagama” which is common to all the families residing in the estate.
The Petitioner states that, the people who reside in this estate have no permanent residential address for their houses, and that the letters received by the people residing in the said estate are received by the Main Post Office of Mawathagama, and the Post Office delivers these letters in bulk to the Muwankanda Sub-Post Office, where these letters in bulk are then delivered to the Superintendent of the Muwankanda Estate, who then arranges these letters to be delivered through an unreliable agent to the persons residing in the said estate to whom the particular letters are addressed.
The Petitioner states that the Janatha Estates Development Board (JEDB) managed nearly 277 plantations and about 400, 000 people reside in those plantations, all of whom do not possess a residential address.
The petitioner is further seeking a declaration that the respondents have violated the Petitioner’s Fundamental Rights that are guaranteed under the Article 12(1), 12(2) and 14(h) of the Constitution.
This petition had been filed through Senior Counsel Lakshan Dias and Attorney-at-Law Kasuni Herath.(Lakmal Sooriyagoda)
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