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Is it a giant leap backwards in the name of patriarchy?

Petition filed challenging WDIG’s appointment


18 February 2021 02:57 am - 20     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}



154 years after the Sri Lanka Police was established, an Acting Woman Deputy Inspector General (WDIG) took office last October. DIG Bimshani Jasin Arachchi was thus appointed to the post following a progressive career in the Police. Her appointment was seen as a step in the right direction in achieving gender inclusivity in a largely male-dominated profession. However, four months after she resumed duties, a Fundamental Rights petition has been filed by 33 Senior Superintendents of Police (SSPs), challenging her appointment to the post of Acting WDIG.


An illustrious career
Bimshani Jasin Arachchi is a graduate of the Ruhuna University and holds a Masters in Human Rights from the University of Colombo. 

Having joined the police force as a Sub-Inspector in 1997, Jasin Arachchi subsequently passed the Assistant Superintendent of Police examination in 2001.  However, she had received her official appointment in 2007. She was then appointed as a Superintendent of Police in 2013 and a Senior Superintendent of Police in 2017. She also worked in the Criminal Investigation Department and before being appointed Acting WDIG, she was also the Director of the Children and Women Abuse Prevention Bureau.


Petitioners’ demands 
The Petition, filed by Ruwan Gunasekara, Director, Legal Division and 32 other SSPs states that the decision made by the National Police Commission to appoint Bimshani Jasin Arachchi to the post of Acting Woman Deputy Inspector General is illegal and gravely prejudicial and that it has been done in an illegal, unlawful and an arbitrary manner, in complete disregard of the existing laws.

The petitioner male senior police officers have stated that the appointment of Ms Jasin Arachchi has caused serious and irreversible damage to their careers in the Police Department. They have stated that at the point of the said appointment there was no cadre position available within Sri Lanka Police by the rank Acting WDIG and as such the said promotion (although made in an acting capacity) is ex-facie violative and ultra-vires of their own approved scheme of recruitment and promotion.

It further states that the Petitioners are advised to state the Right to Equality and equal protection of the law which postulates freedom from arbitrary decision-making and capricious action as guaranteed by Article 12(1) of the Constitution as well as the Right to Employment as envisaged under Article 14(1)(g) of the Constitution which says “the freedom to engage by himself or in association with others in any lawful occupation, profession, trade, business or enterprise;”, have both been infringed by the impugned action which forms the subject matter of the application. The petitioners asked for a declaration that the letter of appointment issued to Ms Jasin Arachchi be made null and void.

The Petitioners called to issue an interim order staying the decision of the Chairman and Secretary of the Police Commission to antedate the appointment of Ms Jasin Arachchi to the rank of Woman Assistant Superintendent of Police (WASP) to the subsequent ranks of Woman Superintendent of Police (WSP) and Woman Senior Superintendent of Police (WSSP) until the final determination of the application.

The Petitioners also called to issue an interim order directing the Respondents and/or any one or more of them or their successors and/or their servants and/or agents thereof to remove Ms Jasin Arachchi from the post of acting WDIG and/or rescind their decision to appoint her to the post of acting WDIG of Sri Lanka Police.


Petition fixed for May
Senior counsel and fundamental rights lawyer Chrishmal Warnasuriya who appeared for Ms Jasin Arachchi said that when looking into the details, Ms Jasin Arachchi is the most senior police officer. “The petition states that there are no criteria in place for women to be appointed to the post of DIG which we dispute. After SSP, there is no classification of male and female and we understand that anybody could be appointed to that position. But from September to March, several male DIGs have been appointed but they are junior to her.” Interim relief has been sought which the court did not grant but the respondent’s party is filing papers in objection. The Petition is fixed for support on May 18, 2021.


A discriminatory approach
“The Police Dept has different cadre for men and women, which in itself is discriminatory,” opined lawyer and human rights advocate Ambika Satkunanathan.

“Secondly, the fact that the cadre positions for women don’t go above SSP shows the department believes that women are not fit to serve in the positions of DIG or IGP and lead the dept. This illustrates the existence of deep-rooted patriarchy and sexism within the institution. Do you think persons who believe women cannot hold certain positions of power within the department treat women complainants, such as women victims of violence, respectfully, as equals and be responsive to their specific needs?” 


  Comments - 20

  • Selvendran Thursday, 18 February 2021 04:41 AM

    The question that needs to be asked is “How many Police Officers who joined the force at the level of a Sub Inspector ever reached the top rank of Deputy Inspector General within 21 years in the last 72 years of Police history “ ? None.

    Parakrama Siriwardena Thursday, 18 February 2021 06:10 AM

    To cut a long story short, we Sri Lankan's are still proud that 60 years ago, the world's first Women Prime Minister was a Sri Lankan, and she was a global figure. We have had a female as our President elected by the people with the highest percentage of votes so far. So what is the big fuss if she has the seniority. If there is no cadre for a Women DIG lets create it because it is very justifiable if we are to seen as a country complying to the principle of gender balance and equality. Sri Lanka can be proud if we have an IGP someday.

    mohamed Sulaiman Thursday, 18 February 2021 06:13 AM

    Mr, Ruwan Gunasekara and the rest of the Idiots who are opposing the Appointment of a deserving and qualified offcial in the police dept,you guys must be ashamed of yourself,Firstly whats wrong in a woman heading a deparment with so much experience with a unblemish track record,I dont see how you guys can waste so much time being petty and act like barbarians,can imagine how your home front must be feel sorry for the women in the house.Guys give it a break.Look at the bright side and live a equal life for a better future,THANK you.

    Nestley Meerwald Thursday, 18 February 2021 07:00 AM

    Now is the right time for the Minister of Defence to reorganise the "top brass " of the Police.

    Sam Thursday, 18 February 2021 11:03 AM

    Ruwan Gunesekera is a nut case. He should be demoted to a constable whose duty should be guarding a nut house !

    Mm Thursday, 18 February 2021 01:22 PM

    Shame on you male police officers! SHAME ON YOU! Pure jelousy

    MAN Thursday, 18 February 2021 06:38 PM

    Jelousy and male domination. Throw this case in the bin and demote the SSP's.

    G J Ismail Friday, 19 February 2021 10:49 AM

    So where is gender equality? If a woman can be a CEO /Chairman /Minister / PM

    SL maiden Friday, 19 February 2021 01:07 PM

    Ruwan Gunesekera, you are out of line!

    Sivakumar Thursday, 18 February 2021 01:46 PM

    Male chauvimist pigs

    Kingsley Wijesinhe Thursday, 18 February 2021 06:34 PM

    Can't comment without knowing all the facts of the case. Is this appointment of a woman, however deserving, to a non-existent position, a cynical nod to political correctness on the part of the police Commission?

    Grace Thursday, 18 February 2021 11:22 PM

    It is said women are more prone to jealousy but certain male police officers are otherwise. Jealousy distroys once inner peace

    S.Sriranjan Friday, 19 February 2021 07:16 AM

    Actually Top Post in any Departement has no Gender! Either Man or Woman could hold the Post! While the Country was under the Woman Presidency, we called President!

    J.N. Friday, 19 February 2021 10:02 AM

    Only grouse that the petitioners have against the first woman WDIG is that she happens to be a woman. They do not comment on the efficiency and the educational qualifications she possess to rise up the ladder which most of the petitioners lack. How many male DIGs are there who are occupying these places due to political patronage. The petitioners will one day petition that their own mothers be stripped from their motherhood because they happen to be women.

    Weisser Friday, 19 February 2021 12:44 PM

    This is a male dominated society. They compile songs about their mothers, Vote in a female PM who was brain dead, voted in a female President and yet they can't handle a woman in office who is more qualified than them. Disgraceful.

    Chandra Fernando Friday, 19 February 2021 01:04 PM

    It is a shame and cowardly act that some male officers have gone into such an act of sexism. Ms Jasin Arachchi seems very qualified for this job. In a country where Sri Lanka gave the world's first woman leader, it is preposterous that such a thing is tolerated by the citizens of this country. It is also quite shocking that there are only a handful of women in Parliament. Shame on all those who have a say in this matter.

    Elakiri Sunday, 21 February 2021 10:28 AM

    We must not let western feminist ideologies enter Sri Lanka

    Tata Vasiya Sunday, 21 February 2021 10:42 AM

    Instead of asking for reverting her to her substantive position, these men should ask for removal of gender discriminatory rules in the police dept. Irrespective of gender, any one who qualifies for promotion should be able to become any high rank including the position of the IGP

    Kevin Monday, 22 February 2021 05:59 AM

    SHame given Sri Lanka had the first female head of state in the world, and second country in the world to have a female president. Hope things continue to improve and not go backwards.

    gamarala Monday, 22 February 2021 10:09 AM

    It appears this lady is well qualified for the promotion. As usual, the men object. Disgraceful.

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