Cases referred to
Counsel who appeared
Elmore Perera for the petitioner
Rajiv Goonetilake for AG
FR Application dismissed.
The Petitioner complained that her fundamental right to equality guaranteed has been infringed by the Principal, Girls’ High School Kandy by refusing admission of her daughter to Grade 01 of the school. She further claimed that Respondent failed to give regard to clause 3.2 of the Instructions issued by the Ministry of Education regarding the admission of Children to Grade one in Government Schools for the year 2018 which states that due consideration should be given to the proportion of children belonging to different religions at the time of vesting the school to the government.
FoRB violation – Conscience (i.e. having or adopting a religion of one’s choice); Discrimination
(1) ‘If religion was to be the sole criteria for eligibility, the circular could have made it a separate category. The fact that it isn’t, means that religion must be viewed within the framework of the overarching eligibility criteria. The religious quota is a special factor for consideration—and not a separate tier of admission. It does not make eligible an otherwise ineligible applicant. This is the reason for proportionately dividing remaining slots apportioned to a religion among other categories—to facilitate the intake of eligible candidates in other categories.’ (2) ‘In the present case, the School has conducted their admission process based on the proportion of children belonging to different denominations that existed at the time of vesting the school to the government… The Court cannot necessarily fault them for adopting the said criterion since it is not repugnant to the statutory requirements.’ (3) The court held that it ‘cannot conclude that the Respondents acted with an insidious discriminatory purpose when they refused to admit the Petitioner’s daughter. Every similarly circumstanced candidate in the non Roman Catholic category has been treated in the similar manner’.