- Railway guards and drivers join GMOA-led strike
- Teachers on sick leave campaign
A 24-hour strike led by the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) with the participation of a number of trade unions attached to the health, education and railway services is to be launched today.
GMOA Secretary Dr. Naveen De Soyza told a media briefing that about 160 trade unions would support them to protest against the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine and added that some 30 trade unions will hold demonstrations today.
The GMOA has demanded that the Government immediately nationalise the controversial private medical school. The union also called on the Government to refrain from entering into trade agreements with foreign countries including the Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) without proper protective measures in place to safeguard the interests of local professionals.
Accordingly, all state medical officers, including ayurvedic doctors and dental and veterinary surgeons, are to engage in trade union action refraining from normal duties from 8.00 a.m. tomorrow to 8.00 a.m. on Saturday.
However, he said several hospitals, including the Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children, Castle Street Hospital for Women, De Soysa Hospital for Women in Colombo, Sirimavo Bandaranaike Specialised Children’s’ Hospital in Kandy, National Cancer Hospital in Maharagama and all kidney and emergency treatment units would be open for patients despite the strike. Ceylon Teacher’s Union (CTU) Secretary Joseph Stalin said the union is to participate in the strike through a sick leave campaign, while railway guards and drivers will also refrain from performing their duties today.
Case against Padeniya for going against court order on SAITM
A Contempt of Court action was filed yesterday in the Court of Appeal against Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) President Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya.
Two civil society activists, the Convener of the National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) Prof. Sarath Wijesuriya and the co-convener of the Puravesi Balaya Social Movement Gamini Viyangoda filed the cases seeking the Court’s constitutional jurisdiction against Dr. Padeniya for claiming that he had undermined the Court of Appeal judgment dated 31 January 2017, which directed the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) to register MBBS graduates of the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) provisionally as medical practitioners in terms of the Medical Ordinance. The activists claimed that the GMOA, the trade union led by Dr. Padeniya, has openly criticised the judgment given by the Appeal Court, demanding an annulment or setting aside of the said judgment. They further highlighted that the GMOA has also called for a national front and trade union action against SAITM following the Court decision in ordering SAITM medical graduates to be registered with the SLMC. Outlining a number of incidents where the GMOA had organised trade union action against SAITM, the petitioners further stated that at such a rally held at the Fort Railway Station on 7 April 2017, Dr. Padeniya delivered a speech in which he made malicious statements in regard to the court process, the judgment and the conduct of the Court and the Attorney General with regard to the issue of the SAITM medical faculty.
The petitioners stated that the contemptuous statements and comments demonstrate the blatant hatred of the respondent and publication of the same in the speech indubitably disturbs the Court process and hampers and undermines the authority of the Court of Appeal in respect to the administration of justice, especially in view of the fact that the speech was published and telecast by several media organisation and has been uttered by the respondent at a public meeting held under the topic of ‘Abolish the SAITM’ on 4 April 2017.
The petitioners are pleading that Dr. Padeniya be charged on the offence of Contempt of the Court of Appeal under Article 105 (3) of the country’s Constitution. They are further seeking an interim order restraining and preventing the GMOA President from committing, making or publishing further contemptuous statements or articles scandalising the Court of Appeal until the conclusion of this case.
They further urged to impose a sentence on the respondent as provided for in Article 105(3) of the Constitution.