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Legal Proceedings Initiated under Online Safety Act

In the first application filed before the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court under the newly enacted Online Safety Act, the respondent parties raised objections challenging the maintainability of the application.

On April 4, the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court issued a conditional order preventing the respondent parties from communicating alleged false information against former Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission (PUCSL) Janaka Ratnayake.

The court issued this conditional order in favor of the petitioner Janaka Ratnayake in terms of Section 24 (1) and Section 24 (2) of the Online Safety Act No. 09 of 2024 and directed that the order be communicated to the respondents Gayathri Bimba, Prof. Janaka Rajapaksa, Oshala Herath, Yasalal Perera (Talk with Lal), Kalpa Gunarathne (Meemasso TV), and Jamuni Kamantha Thushara by electronic means as provided for in Section 24 (4) of the Act.

Defense counsel who appeared on behalf of the respondents informed the Court that they are expecting to raise objections challenging the maintainability of the application on the ground of lack of jurisdiction.

The matter was fixed for May 2 by Colombo Additional Magistrate Tharanga Mahawatte.

In his application, Janaka Ratnayake alleged that the respondents had circulated or attempted to circulate private information. The petitioner further alleged that he was a “targeted individual” and that one or more of the several respondents named in the petition were intentionally harassing the petitioner by communicating false statements. An application was made on behalf of the petitioner to prevent the circulation of the said information under Section 24 of the Online Safety Act No. 09 of 2024.

President’s Counsel Kalinga Indatissa with Counsel Vishwa de Livera Tennekoon, Neranjan Iriyagolla, Rashmini Indatissa, Naveen Jayamanne instructed by Mithun Diasz appeared for the petitioner.

President’s Counsel Saliya Pieris, Nalinda Indatissa PC, Senior Counsel Chaminda Athukorala, and Hafeel Farisz appeared for the respondents.

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