SL SC | Court states no jurisdiction to hear other issues when preliminary objection on time bar upheld; Dismisses application of violation of fundamental rights

Supreme Court of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka: A Bench of Jayantha Jayasuriya, PC, CJ., L.T.B. Dehideniya and S. Thurairaja, JJ., dismissed an application filed by the petitioner stating that his fundamental rights enshrined under Articles 12(1), 12(2), 14(1) (g) and 17 were violated by non – promotion and/or non – absorption and failure to give permanent appointment in the Sri Lanka Engineering Service Class II Grade II from the Sri Lanka Technical Services. However, leave to proceed was granted by the Court for the alleged infringement of Article 12(1) of the Constitution.

The petitioner had joined as a Technical Officer (Electrical) Grade III of Middle-Level Technical Service (MLTS) in the Local Government Service on the 01-10-1985. On 07-03-1991 he was absorbed into the Provincial Public Service and posted to the Balapitiya Pradeshiya Sabha. During this period the Ceylon Electricity Board was privatized and the services of the Petitioner were terminated aggrieved by which he had filed Fundamental Rights Application after which a settlement was reached and Court had directed reinstatement with due seniority and back wages. He was then posted to the Municipal Council of Galle. In 1994 the Petitioner was absorbed into the Sri Lanka Technical Services (SLTS) from the Middle-Level Technical Service in the Local Government. On the 24-08-1995 his services were made permanent. On 12-03-1997 he was promoted as a Technical Officer (Electrical) Grade II. Thereafter in 1999 he was promoted to Grade II A. In December 1999 he was absorbed into SLTS Grade I and in 2002 he was promoted to the special grade. Petitioner was performing his duties in the Southern Provincial Council, he was appointed as an acting engineer to cover up the position of an electrical engineer. Since then he was writing to the authorities to make him permanent in the said position. The Petitioner claims that, as per Circular No. 31 dated 5-8-1997, he was entitled to be appointed as an Engineer Class II Grade II from 4-10-2000.

The respondents had contended three main objections which were that the application was time-barred, necessary parties were not before the court and claim that discontinuing his allowance paid during the acting appointment (cover-up duties) was a violation of his Fundamental Rights was inaccurate and contrary to the Supreme Court rules 44(1) (d).

The Court while dismissing the application stated that since the preliminary objection on time bar is upheld, the court has no jurisdiction to hear the other issues raised by the Petitioner. [P.U.P.K. De Silva v. Public Service Commission, 2020 SCC OnLine SL SC 4, decided on 31-07-2020]

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