Home Sri Lankan Cases Naomi Michelle Cokeman v AG and Others

Supreme Court
S.E. Wanasundera PC J, Anil Gooneratne J, Nalin Perera J,
Key words
Article 11; Article 12(1); Article 13(1); Section 291B of the Penal Code
Cases referred to
  1. Premaratne and Somawathie Vs. Somapala S.C. Application 68/86; S.C Minutes 11.05.1988
  2. Goonawardena Vs. Perera 1983 Vol 2 FRD 426
  3. Corea Vs. The Queen 55 NLR at 464
  4. Channa Peiris and Others Vs. A.G 1994(1) SLR 51
J.C. Weliamuna P.C. with Pulasthi Hewanna and Thishya Weragoda Instructed by Vishva de Livera Tennakoon for the Petitioner Parinda Ranasinghe S.D.S.G. with Lakmali Karunanayake, S.S.C. for the Respondents
Counsel who appeared
Date of Decision
Judgement by Name of Judge/s
Gooneratne J
Noteworthy information relating to the case

FR Application allowed.

Other information

Naomi Michelle Cokeman v AG and Others

SCFR 136/2014

Facts of the case

The petitioner had a a tattoo on her upper right arm of Lord Buddha seated on a lotus flower of Buddhist path. Upon her arrival to Sri Lankan on 21 April 2014, she was ‘arbitrarily arrested, detained’ and she ‘complains of degrading treatment, culminating in her arbitrary, irrational, capricious and ultra vires deportation’. The respondent police officer stated that ‘many civilians present in the vicinity too became aware (of the petitioner’s tattoo). The people gathered at the scene were disturbed or otherwise agitated’ and that the respondent states he ‘perceived an imminent disturbance of peace by the public.’

Findings related to FoRB

Discrimination: economic, political, criminal justice.


(1) The court held that in ‘the ‘B’ Report itself it is stated that the Petitioner had no intention to outrage such feelings. A charge relating to Section 291 B of the Penal Code cannot be maintained i.e “outraging the religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs”. There is no acceptable evidence placed before this court that there was a possibility of public outcry, though the police attempt to say so in their statements recorded… As stated above bona fides or mala fides of the arresting officer is irrelevant in deciding whether Article 13(1) has been violated’.