SLT petition alleged that its rights, guaranteed under the Constitution of Sri Lanka, were violated when the TRC sent a letter recommending the issuance of a proposed integrated transmission network license.
The petition cited TRC, Dialog Broadband Network and the Attorney General as respondents. The TRC initially raised objections on the maintainability of the application as there was no decision the said letter was only a recommendation and therefore could not be challenged by a fundamental rights application. The second objection argued that the Minister for TRC not being made party to the application made grounds for dismissal.
However, SLT argued that the reliefs sought were directed against the TRC and not against the Minister; therefore he need not be made a party to the application.
The SC said that it was essential to rule of law that every organ of the state must act within the limits of its power and carry out duties in accordance with the provisions of the constitution and the law. The Court added that it could not allow the actions of the state or public authority go unchecked.
The SC was of the view that the petitioner TRC had established a prima facie case of alleged violation of its fundamental rights by TRC and the 2nd Respondent Dialog Broadband Network (Pvt) Ltd.
The Court granted leave to proceed for the alleged violation of the SLT’s fundamental rights to equality.
Faisz Musthapha P. C. with Chanaka De Silva, Aruna Samarajeewa and Niranjan Arulpragasam instructed by G.G. Arulpragasam appeared for Sri Lanka Telecom PLC.
Romesh De Silva P. C. with Sugath Caldera and Buddhika Illangathileke instructed by Sanath Wijewardena appeared for the 1st Respondent Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka.
The Bench comprised Chief Justice K. Sripavan, Justice Upaly Abeyratne.
(By S. S. Selvanayagam – ft.lk)