Death of suspects in police custody: IGP appears before Supreme Court | Sri Lanka News

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Chandana Wickremaratne today appeared before the Supreme Court to explain as to why he failed to comply with an order made by the Supreme Court to formulate guidelines to police officers to prevent encounter deaths while suspects are in police custody.

In a judgment dated February 3, 2023, the Supreme had ordered the IGP to formulate, issue and implement, guidelines to the police, elaborating the steps that should be taken by each officer to avoid ‘encounter deaths’. The IGP had been ordered to submit this report to court on March 24.

Additional Solicitor General Nerin Pulle appearing for the IGP informed the Court that the Police Department has formulated this guideline to prevent encounter deaths in the future. The Supreme Court three-judge-bench comprised Justices Buwaneka Aluwihare, Gamini Amarasekara and Arjuna Obeysekara.

In a judgment dated February 3, 2023, the Supreme had ordered the IGP to formulate a guideline and report to court on March 24. However, when the matter was called before the Supreme Court, the Police Department failed to submit a report as per the Supreme Court earlier judgment.

Accordingly, the Supreme Court ordered the IGP to appear in Court to explain as he failed to comply with the Supreme Court order.

In this case Mohammed Rashid Fathima Sharmila on behalf of her deceased husband, Mohammed Nizar Mohammed Irfan, had filed a Fundamental Rights petition against law enforcement authorities.

The petitioner alleged that her deceased husband was apprehended in 2008 by four policemen attached to Slave Island police along with three other police officers and was shot dead in the following morning by the 3rd Respondent police officer. It is alleged by the 3rd Respondent that the shot was fired when exercising his right of private defence against an alleged violent attempt by the deceased to escape the charge of the police officers accompanying him on a search for concealed weapons.

On February 3, 2023, the Supreme Court ordered the State to pay Rs.250, 000 as compensation to the Petitioner. In addition, ordered three policemen to pay Rs.25,000 each to the Petitioner. Further, court ordered the 4th and 5th Respondent to pay Rs. 200,000 each to the petitioner and all payments by the respondents are to be paid personally. (Lakmal Sooriyagoda)

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