Colombo, October 21 (NIA): The Colombo District Court on Friday lifted a temporary injunction against the release of noted Sri Lankan film maker Prasanna Vithanage’s film Usaviya Nisandai (Silence in the Courts).
The controversial “docu-film” based on the sexual misconduct of a real-life District Judge, Lenin Ratnayake, will be released at major theaters in Colombo and elsewhere on Saturday, Vithanage told NIA.
But this is not the end of the case, which had been filed by Judge Ratnayake. It will be heard on January 19.
Both Director Vithanage and writer Victory Ivan, on whose investigative articles the film is based, will fight the case as they feel that corrupt and immoral judges should not be allowed to go scot free.
Silence in the Courts is an Indo-Sri Lankan collaborative effort. The Producer is Rahul Roy of the Delhi-based Aakar Films, the Editor is A.Sreekar Prasad of Chennai and the Director is Prasanna Vithanage of Colombo.
Campaigners for social justice had expressed concern over the injunction against the film.
“The film was passed by the Public Performance Board with a ‘U’ certificate long ago. It had been shown in several festivals abroad and there had been special shows in New Delhi and Colombo also. But just before it was to be released in theaters here on October 6, an injunction was obtained,” Vithanage said.
The injunction came as a result of a petition filed by retired Judge Lenin Ratnayake, the subject of the film. He sought a permanent injunction against the screening of the film on the plea that the allegations made in the film were “ baseless, unproven and unfounded” and that a public showing of the film will “cause damage to his character and the reputation of the entire judiciary.”
Vithanage, however, said that the docu-drama was based on a series of reports which appeared in the respected Sinhala language investigative periodical “Ravaya” when it was under the editorship of the veteran journalist Victor Ivan.
Ivan had attended a special showing of the film in Colombo and answered questions put by the audience. Earlier he had said that he had great difficulty in getting the judge investigated and punished because he was protected by the powers that be.
However ,the President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka ,Geoffrey Alagaratnam said that if there are such complaints against a judge, they should be brought to the notice of the Chief Justice or a police case could be filed so that a proper investigation is done before going public on it.