Demolition of Dehiwala hotel: Hotel seeks Supreme Court remedy

The Soul Beach (Pvt) Ltd., a beachside hotel in Dehiwala which was at the centre of the controversy surrounding the demolition as a part of Yukthiya Operation over alleged links with narcotic leaders, has filed a Fundamental Rights petition before the Supreme Court challenging the legality of the demolition and destruction of the business premises.

The petitioners, the directors and shareholders of the beach hotel are challenging the conduct of the police and the Coast Conservation and Coastal Resource Management Department (CCCRMD) in demolishing and destroying their business premises and the subsequent arrest and detention of a shareholder of the hotel on January 01, 2024.

The petitioners are further seeking an order directing the National Police Commission to forthwith interdict and take disciplinary action against all police officers involved in the demolition and damage caused to the property.

The petitioners Chandana Sampath, Abdul Kader Muhammadu Rifa and Faris Mohamadu Ishak state that they had collectively invested over Rs. 250 million in the business and all monies invested have been obtained lawfully. The petitioners state that their company presently employs 92 persons in various departments including the kitchen department, accounts and IT, food and beverage, operation and housekeeping and security.

The petitioners state that the land bearing assessment No. 44, Campbell Place, Dehiwala, Colombo which forms a part of the business premises belongs to the Sri Lanka Railways. Sri Lanka Railways subsequently leased the aforementioned land to one Prabath.
The petitioners state that Prabath had later offered the premises to the second petitioner to open a new restaurant and bar at the location. Accordingly, the second petitioner had agreed to take possession of the said premises subject to payment of the lease rental for five years to Sri Lanka Railways for the years 2023 to 2028. Accordingly, the second petitioner had paid a sum of Rs. 2,553,000 to the Sri Lanka Railways Department in the name of A.A.P. Prabath as lease rental.

The petitioners allege that on January 01, 2024, at approximately 9.30 am, a contingent of over 100 police officers accompanied by area engineer and assistant director of the CCCRMD approached the petitioner’s business premises along with four backhoes and a group of labourers and destroyed the structure subsequently.

The petitioners have named Acting IGP Deshabandu Tennakoon and several others as respondents.
This petition has been filed through Attorney-at-Law Manjula Balasooriya.


Courtesy Daily Mirror