Don't bar opposition right to protest – Dr. Mahanamahewa

Ceylontoday, 2015-04-25 02:00:00
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BY Ruwan Laknath Jayakody
Obtaining injunctions to prevent peaceful opposition protests and demonstrations violate the freedom of speech, expression, assembly and association guaranteed in Article 14 (1) (a) (b) (c) of the Constitution and constitutes an affront to good governance and democracy, Attorney-at-Law,
Dr. Prathiba Mahanamahewa said.

Equal treatment must be meted out to all and the government must provide opportunities for reasonable criticism rather than objecting to and restricting the participation of people and airing of their objections, which are hallmarks of good governance necessary in a democracy, he added.

Although these rights are not absolute ones, as when roads are obstructed by protesting demonstrators, any departure from the aforementioned situations would result in a slide towards an authoritarian State, he remarked.
The freedom of information is also brought into question when such peaceful protests and demonstrations are outlawed, he said.

"A bad precedent was set in 2013, by the Indian Supreme Court when it gave an injunction against a trade union action. In the past, when the Jathika Hela Urumaya conducted continuous satyagrahas and held rallies, no Court action was taken against them. Why do it now? " he asked.


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