SL SC | Candidate directed to be admitted to the school; fundamental rights guaranteed under Art. 12(1) of Constitution found infringed

Supreme Court of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka: Buwaneka Aluwihare PC J., and P. Padman Surasena and E.A.G.R Amarasekara, JJ., allowed proceeding in the matter of infringement under Article 12(1) of the Constitution of Sri Lanka.

In the instant case, Petitioner 1, father of Petitioner 2 who was a minor was denied admission to the Grade 1 of the Royal College Colombo, due to certain criteria set by the respondents. The petitioner therein had applied in the category which was falling in the close proximity of the school.

The counsels for the respondents, Rajiv Goonetillake, SSC, contended that the marks of the petitioner were deducted on the basis of the clarifications provided with the set criteria which showed that there were 2 other schools in the close proximity of the petitioner’s residence in consequence to which they lose 4 marks each, failing which the petitioner could not match up with the cut off marks and was not selected in the Royal College Colombo.

However the counsels for the petitioners, Viran Corea, Sarita de Fonseka and Thilini Widanagamage, pointed out that clause 7.2.4 of the clarifications of the set criteria explains that marks must be deducted only in respect of any public school to which the child of such applications could be admitted as per the criteria set out in the said clause. According to which the first school which was in close proximity to the petitioners admitted only the Buddhist students thus the marks deducted in consonance with that school should be corrected and then the marks of the petitioner would fulfill the criteria of the cut-off marks.

The Court decided that there was an infringement of the fundamental rights of the petitioner guaranteed under Article 12(1) of the Constitution and the school authorities have failed to apply the law in its correct perspective and further directed to admit the Petitioner 2 in Royal College Colombo. [Khalique Jauffer v. B.A. Abeyrathna, SC (FR) Application No. 140 of 2019, decided on 01-11-2019]

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