Jan 22, Colombo: Supreme Court Judge A.H.M.D. Nawas today (Jan. 22) refused to consider a fundamental rights petition filed by the parents of a 21-day-old infant who died of the Covid-19 virus.
Justice Nawaz told the court that he did not want to consider the fundamental rights petition for personal reasons.
Justice Nawas made this announcement when the petition was taken up before a full bench comprising justices Priyantha Jayawardena, LTTE Dehideniya, Yasantha Kodagoda and AHMD Nawaz today (22).
Accordingly, the Supreme Court adjourned the hearing of the petition to March 29.
The petitioners stating that the manner in which the baby's body was cremated was mysterious and suspicious and the act violated their fundamental rights, have requested the court to order the authorities, including the Director of Health Services, to summon the medical records of this incident to court and conduct an investigation. The parents had filed the petition seeking compensation for the damage caused.
The petition was filed by Mohamed Farook Mohamed Fahim and Fatima Shafnas, residents of Ferguson Road, Colombo 15.
Dr. Asela Gunawardena, Director General of Health Services, Dr. G. Wijesuriya, Director, Lady Ridgeway Children's Hospital, Pavithra Devi Wanniarachchi, Minister of Health, Dr. Sudarshani Fernandopulle, State Minister of Primary Health Services, Pandemics and COVID Prevention, Sanjaya Munasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Health, Dr. Amal Harsha de Silva, Secretary to the State Ministry and the Attorney General have been named as respondents.
The petitioners further state that the cremation of the child of the petitioners is an act contrary to their religious ideology.
Professor Malik Peiris, a world-renowned microbiologist, has said that the virus does not enter groundwater from a virus infected body. As a result of this whole process, the fundamental rights of the petitioners have been violated.
Therefore, notice should be issued to the respondents, permission should be granted to hear this petition, medical reports should be submitted to the court in this case, an expert committee should be appointed to inquire into the burial of the bodies of those who died of Covid and compensation should be paid, the petitioners requested in their petition.
President’s Counsel Faizer Mustafa, Pulasthi Rupasinghe, Hafeel Faris and Shantha Jayawardena appeared for the petitioners on the instructions of Attorney-at-Law Sanjeewa Kaluarachchi.
Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle appeared for the Attorney General.