SLT-TRC-Keheliya Sued Over Blocking "Satana" Political Programme

A Peo TV customer today filed a fundamental rights violation petition before Supreme Court claiming a sum of Rs. 10 million from SLT, Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL), Minister of Mass Media and Information and the secretary for intentionally blocking the Satana political programme telecasted by Sirasa TV on November 22.  

The petition had been filed  J.A. Manju Sri Chandrasena of Yatiyanthota an attorney-at-law by profession citing the Sri Lanka Telecom Ltd., the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL), the Secretary to the Ministry of Mass Media and Information Charitha Herath, the Minister of Mass Media and Information Keheliya Rambukwella and the Attorney General as the respondents.  

The Petitioner states that he obtained the Peo-TV connection on or after 17.05.2013 and the Petitioner is very interested in watching programmes with political content and he has been watching those programmes via Peo-TV connection.

The Petitioner states that there is a famous political programme called “SATANA” which is telecast by Sirasa TV.

 The Petitioner states that Sirasa TV channel is one of channels which can be watched through Peo connection and the Petitioner further states that he watches Sirasa TV Channel by using Peo-TV connection.

The Petitioner states that this “SATANA” political programme was due to be telecast by SIRASA TV on 22nd November 2014 at 7.30 p.m. onwards.

The Petitioner states that as he is interested in watching political programmes telecast by SIRASA TV on 22.11.2014 he decided to watch the said SATANA programme by using Peo-TV connection however, it wasn’t telecasted by Sirasa TV through Peo-TV connection.

The Petitioner states that he applied a Peo-Tv connection on 17.05.2013 and got the Peo-TV connection on or after 17.05.2013 and he has duly paid all the bills on time and no arrearses.

The Petitioner states that he allocated his valuable time on 22.11.2014 at

7.30 p.m. onwards to watch that particular programme called “SATANA” telecast by Sirasa TV and sat in front of the TV with the intention of watching the said programme but he was unable to watch aforesaid programme through Peo- due to an interruption of said Sirasa TV channel.

The Petitioner states that he thereafter made attempts to contact Peo-TV provider, the 01st Respondent SLT but was unable to reach.

The Petitioner states that he attempted to find out the reason why Sirasa TV channel was not available during the time between 7.30 to 10.00 p.m. on 22.11.2014. Petitioner further states that he thereafter checked with Sirasa TV and got_confirmation that the said programme was intentionally prevented telecasting by operator of Peo-TV connection, the 01st Respondent.

The Petitioner states that the Peo-TV has unreasonal blocked- that programme on 22

The Petitioner further states that he does not have any other connection to watch Sirasa TV channel.

The Petitioner states that the 01st Respondent could not provide the service regularly and it is a breach of contractual relationship.

The Petitioner further states that the 01st Respondent is responsible to provide uninterrupted service and it is their promise and contractual obligation to do so. Therefore, intentionally non-providing and interrupting to telecast “SIRASA SATANA Programme” through Peo-TV channel is a clear violation of contractual rights of the Petitioner and fundamental rights protected by Article 14(1)(a) of the 1978 Constitution of Sri Lanka.

The Petitioner further states that as a result of intentionally interrupting SIRASA SATANA Programme by 01st Respondent has violated his right to speech which extended upto right to know information and right to express ideas protected by Article 14(1)(a) of the 1978 Constitution of Sri Lanka.

The Petitioner further states that the 02nd Respondent TRCSL has a duty to promote sustained development in the telecommunication industry by shaping the regulatory process, protecting public interest.

The Petitioner states that the actions and conduct of the 1st to 4th Respondents in interrupting Sirasa TV “SATANA” programme on 22.11.2014 between 7.30 p.m. and 10.00 p.m. on Peo-TV connection are executive and/ or administrative actions within the meaning of the 1978 constitution.

He urged the Court to declare that the 1st Respondent to 4th Respondents have infringed the fundamental rights guaranteed by the article 14(1)A of the constitution and grant compensation against 1st to 4th Respondents or any o0ne or more of them, in a sum of 10 Million.

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