6 July, 2022

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Appeal Court Quashes Jaffna Magistrate M. Ganesharajah’s Attempt To Wrongfully Punish “Uthayan” Editor For Contempt

The Appeal Court today (19.06.2013), granted relief in writ application CA (Writ) 180/2012, filed by Thevanayagam Premananth, Editor of Uthayan Newspaper against the Jaffna Magistrate, Manikkavasagar Ganesharajah. The Writ application was taken up before Justice S. Sriskandaraja, President of the Appeal Court and Justice Malini Gunaratne. K. Kanag-Isvaran, PC with Viran Corea, Lakshmanan Jeyakumar and Niran Anketell appearing for the Petitioner (Editor).

Thevanayagam Premananth, Editor of Uthayan

Court was informed by the petition, that the Editor had received credible information of an apology tendered in Open Court on 27.06.2012 by the respondent Magistrate, to M. A. Sumanthiran, senior Attorney-at-Law and Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Member of Parliament, after he had pointed out that certain comments made by the Magistrate from the Bench condemning a speech made by him in Parliament, was inappropriate as it was covered by Parliamentary Privilege. After confirming the accuracy of the story, the Editor had caused its publication in the Uthayan newspaper edition of 28th June. The caption of the article in Tamil read: “Sumanthiran MP pointed out yesterday that the Court has no authority to criticise matters spoken of in Parliament”. The petitioner complained to the Appeal Court, that consequently, he was sent a letter that very evening through the Registrar of the Jaffna Magistrate’s Court, that he must appear before the Jaffna Magistrate in Open Court the very next day (29th June). The letter did not bear any case number but indicated that it was to give explanation regarding the news report.   When the Editor appeared in Open Court with his lawyer, the Magistrate had berated him and he was told to tender an apology, claiming that he never tendered an apology. The Editor replied that if he was ordered to do so, he would consider it his duty to comply. On being prevailed upon, the petitioner then stated to Court that he was tendering an apology ‘as ordered by Court’. However, the Magistrate, dissatisfied with this apology, directed the Editor to turn around, face the public, and apologise as though of his own free will, stating that he was apologising of his accord, and not to state that he was ordered by Court to do so. The Editor, who could not do so honestly, had then turned around, faced the public and said, “We published a news item yesterday. However, the Learned Magistrate now says that he did not apologise to Mr. Sumanthiran. Therefore, I am apologising.”

The Magistrate had then instructed the Editor to disclose the source of the initial information, which he refused due to his obligation to protect confidential sources of information. This obligation is recognised in Article 5 of the Code of Professional Practice (Code of Ethics) of the Editors Guild of Sri Lanka, which was adopted by the Press Complaints Commission of Sri Lanka. The Magistrate had thereafter fixed the matter for 9th July and instructed the Editor to disclose his source and to show cause why he should not be charged for contempt of court on that date. It was urged to the Appeal Court, that for the reasons set out in the petition, the actions of the Magistrate were illegal, ultra vires and without jurisdiction, and that unless a stay order were granted, the petitioner would face grave harm and damage. After hearing counsel, the Appeal Court issued interim relief, preventing M. Ganesharaja, the Jaffna Magistrate from taking any steps to deal with the Editor on the basis that he had acted in contempt or to issue warrant for the arrest him till the Appeal Court case is concluded.

The Magistrate was issued notice by the Appeal Court and initially came to court with the Attorney General’s Department backing him. However he did not attend court to defend his actions when the case was taken up for final hearing today.

The Appeal Court considered the facts and the applicable law and ruled that the petitioner is entitled to the relief he has sought. A writ of certiorari was issued, quashing the Magistrate’s order to try the editor for contempt.

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Latest comments

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    This magistrate had apologised to an attorney also an MP, for wrong statements made by him,but wanted this to be kept a secret.
    How can an apology in open court remain a secret – it is not possible.
    If a newspaper reports the incident,he should accept it.
    But threatening the editor with punishment for “contempt” is disgraceful.
    The editor’s “apologies” were clever!
    The Appeal Court has delivered justice.
    The Judicial Service Commission should take note of this matter,and discipline and/or transfer this magistrate.

    • 0
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      What’s the point transferring him — so that he can do the same elsewhere?

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        David Blacker:
        One can but presume that you are asking a rhetorical question because if you aren’t you should not pose it in CT but send a communication to the government that you so assiduously defend and because of whom this kind of thing happens.
        The fact that the Uthayan editor ultimately received justice is cold comfort when one considers the fact that he was treated in a blatantly prejudicial and ILLEGAL manner and put to all kinds of unnecessary expense in this process.
        Who is responsible for this state of affairs? The people that you and pandankarayas like you continuously support, that’s who.

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      The particular Magistrate was transferred long ago!!

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    Ganesharaja is a close relation of President J.R.Jayewardene. Ganesharaja’s father’s brother Dr Chelvatamby Perumal Pillai’s son Dr Ravi Pillai (Heart Surgeon, John Radcliff Hospital at Oxford University) is married to Dr. R.P.Jayewardene’s (younger brother of J.R. Jayewardene)daughter

    • 0
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      Ithin?

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        Manel Akke,

        what do you think about the future of our country ?

        I m fed up seeing that there is nothing like progress there in terms of crimes control in sl.

        President is well aware of all these and not to have taken any step sofar.. is not comprehesible.

        Drug dealer, serien killer, Duminda Silva´s comeback how can the people digest all these ?
        ——————————————————————
        Duminda returns to Parliament
        June 19, 2013, 10:10 pm

        Colombo District UPFA Parliamentarian Duminda R. Silva attended Parliament sittings yesterday after a lapse of eighteen months.

        The MP was injured in a shooting incident on Oct. 08, 2011, during the local government polls and received treatment here and abroad.

        Leader of the House Irrigation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, first moved a motion to grant three months’ leave for MP Silva on March 09, 2012. Since then the House has granted leave to the MP every three months.

        MP Silva, speaking with media personnel in the Parliament corridors, said that it was a miracle that he had survived after receiving two gunshot injuries to his head. He thanked both local and foreign doctors for treating him. The MP said that he would continue to serve people of the Colombo District. (SI)

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          I don’t mind getting a Bullet proof head similar to the one that Duminda has.

          Might have to contact Soora Saradiel……or a Magistrate or a DIG or a Govt.Parliamentarian.

          Never herd anywhere in the world Getting paid leave for One and a Half Years……with Mathaka Nea…

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    According to what is stated here, the complainant for this Contempt is the Magistrate himself. With my limited knowledge, I believe it is unethical for the Complainant (Magistrate) to sit on judgement in this instance. Has our Rule of Law concept turned on its head? This shows the deterioration of all aspects of our society. Although the government is keen in introducing a Code of Ethics for the Media, it is absolutely necessary to have Codes of Ethics for Politicians and the Judiciary before any other.

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      There is no complainant in a case of contempt. A magistrate or judge can rule someone in contempt in a case he is presiding over. The editor has simply appealed the ruling.

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    According to what is stated here, the complainant for this Contempt is the Magistrate himself. With my limited knowledge, I believe it is unethical for the Complainant (Magistrate) to sit on judgement in this instance. He should have referred it to another Judge (Magistrate) and not take up that case. Has our Rule of Law concept turned on its head? This shows the deterioration of all aspects of our society.

    Although the government is keen in introducing a Code of Ethics for the Media, it is absolutely necessary to have Codes of Ethics for Politicians, the Judiciary and the Police before any other. We have sunk to such a level already. One District Judge is already on bail for a bribery charge, a DIG is in custody for murder and extortion. Many provincial politicians face charges for murder, rape, assault, cheating, etc. This shows the governments inability to curtail those.

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    M.A. Sumanthiran is making everyone who supports democracy and the rule of law proud. This man is the future of a unified and restored Sri Lanka!

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    Why hide the truths?

    “It was urged to the Appeal Court, that for the reasons set out in the petition, the actions of the Magistrate were illegal, ultra vires and without jurisdiction,…”

    This point was raised in the Jaffna Magistrate Court itself by Shantha Abimanasingham P.C who appeared for the Editor of Uthayan.

    The Judgement of the Appeal Court is also based on this!

    Further, the Affidavits of Shantha Abimanasingham P.C. and Attorney at Law K. Kuruparan were attached in the Writ Petition.

    Why not publish the full text of the writ Petition so that the people get the real picture?

    Uthayan Tamil daily (20th June, 2013) has published the full text in Tamil!!

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    court of appeal decision is wrong how can court of appeal issue writ on Magistrate who is not handling the case According to legal circle from Jaffna the case is handled by District judge Anandarajah and sent by him for Attorney General’s instructions.Why Sriskandarajah wants another demotion by the president.What president of srilanka did is the correct thing not to promote Sriskandarajah.

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      “how can court of appeal issue writ on Magistrate who is not handling the case According to legal circle from Jaffna the case is handled by District judge Anandarajah and sent by him for Attorney General’s instructions.”

      Dear deerasinghe,

      You are wrong. The legal circle from Jaffna that gave you the information has not given you the complete information on this matter. Do not trust the legal circle from Jaffna that you have mentioned!!

  • 0
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    SOME ONE IS PRAISING SUMANTHIRAN,SHANTHA ABIMANASINGHAM,kURUPARAN WHO ARE L.T.T.E PROXIES(BRUTAL KILLERS)TRYING TO SAFE GUARD rULE OF LAW WHAT A JOKE.GO TO HELL.

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      I think Sumanthiran is advancing and advocating for the rule of law. I don’t see what is untrue in that statement. Just take a look at a lot of his speeches and initiatives. He has advocated for the preservation of an independent judiciary and against attacks on the media as well as attacks on Muslims. You should take care in accusing people of being LTTE. I am no fan of the LTTE, but it is wrongheaded Sri Lankan policies after independence in 1948 that created the LTTE. Of course, I don’t agree with their tactics and I don’t agree with Prabhakaran’s Marxism, but I can tell you right know that the policies of the Sri Lankan govt. created the LTTE. That is what happens when you oppress people… Now, you have Tamils who are working within the system and some are voices for the most positive of changes to benefit all Sri Lankans and all you want to do is label them as LTTE? You should be ashamed. Why not welcome their voices in the system instead?

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      shras!

      What you mean by “LTTE PROXIES”? Do you any valid evidence for your accusation? Or you just write something or trying to get some concession?

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    Even the other court of appeal judges criticize the orders of sriskandarajah on noticing the select committee and issuing writ on impeachment.It is well known.Ms shantha aBIMANASINGHAM kURUPARAN ARE WITH tAMIL NATIONAL FRONT OF mR kAJENDRAKUMAR PONNAMPALA WHO ARE WORKING AGAINST THE COUNTRY AND gOVERNMENT.mR sRISKANDARAJAH JUST SUPPORTING THEM THROUGH HIS ILLEGAL ORDERS.president of sri lanka should consider this and not to promote sriskandrajah who doesn’t even know the basic law of writ.

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      sras

      “Ms shantha aBIMANASINGHAM kURUPARAN ARE WITH tAMIL NATIONAL FRONT OF mR kAJENDRAKUMAR PONNAMPALA WHO ARE WORKING AGAINST THE COUNTRY AND gOVERNMENT.”

      Do you have any evidence for your accusation? Even if they are with Tamil National Front as accused by you, they are far more better than the people who receive millions of Rupees and favours and jump from one party to another and get engaged in underhand work!!

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    Mr,Sriskandarajah’s order of writ on select committee was criticized by fellow brother judges of court of appeal.aT LAST SHIRANI GONE,GOD SAKE WELL DONE PRESIDENT RAJAPKSE YOU HAVE TAUGHT THE LESSON TO mR sRISKANDARAJAH.all illegal orders of srikandarajah

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    what I meant is that one who believes that there is reason for Contempt, should not hear that “Contempt of Court” case. So the Magistrate has faulted here.

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    Mr Bandith please correctly understand the facts Magistrate has transferred the case immediately to District judge anandarajah with the permission of judicial service commission ask the high court bar association of Jaffna no one can fool the people all the time.sriskandarajah only trying to safeguard the bribe taker former cj shirani bandaranayke.who are well with L.T.T.E PROXIES LIKE SUMANTHIRAN AND SHANTHA AND KURUPARAN.WITHOUT KNOWING THE FACTS NO ONE SHOULD TALK.

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    Magistrate immediately transferred the case to District judge Anandarajah,and send the case to Attorney general’s instructions mr sriskandarajah trying to safeguard bribe takers shiraniL.T.T.E PROXIES SUMANTHIRAN SHANTHA AND KURUPARAN.

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    aTTORNEY GENERAL MAY APPEAL AGAINST THE ORDER OF MR SRISKANDARAJAH(WHO IS NOT DESERVED TO BE PROMOTED TO SUPREME COURT).KURUPARAN IS ANOTHER BABY WHO FILE THE CASE OF LAND GRABING WITH LOTS OF MISTAKES.PREMANATH IS FORMER L.T.T.E.r and saravanapavan mp is a liar considered by the people of jaffna you ask about the uthayan paper every one will tell reporting is full of lies in the uthayan paper .falsely criticising miltary, false propaganda and so on same way uthayan did to the magistrate.

  • 0
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    poor sriskandarajah is an opportunist he invited president mra to his son’s wedding but cj has not attended.we didn’t see former cj shirani who is darling of sriskandarajah.what a drama.

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    no apology was made BY mAGISTRATE why mr sriskandarajh did the wrong thing because of that manjulathilakaratne .shirani. wiswanathan who was high court commissioner of Jaffna still extension is not granted are suffering god no the truth and punished these people for their sin.manjula(RAPIST)MAGISTRATE juedson(who attempted to murder innocent muslim people when he was magistrate mannar are safeguarded by shirani and sriskandarajah.why don’t you speak about all these truths.where is the protest of shantha abimanasingha and kuruparan and maniwannan who are L.T.T.E.PROXIES IN SUPPORT OF MAGISTARTE JUDESON WHO HAS BEEN TRANSFERRED TO KALMUNAI. SHANTHA WHERE IS YOUR FAMOUS PROTEST AGAINST IMPEECHMENT AND AGAINST MINISTER RISHAD BADUIDEEN ARE YOU UNDER FEAR OR OPPORTUNITIST PLEASE TELL US ALL GONE.PLEASE SPEAK THE TRUTH.

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    now only I realised why president rajapakse demOted mr srikandarajah and sacked the shirani most oF the sinhalese believe shirani has taken bribe and all illegal transfers of magistrates.luckily judiciary has escaped from L.T.T.E PROXIES WELL DONE RAJAPAKSE.

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    premnath and saravanapawan liars and thieves of shabra finance through which they have taken blood money from innocent tamil people.It is well known.

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    So Dog eat Dog issue in Jaffna and the Sinhala Court to the rescue.

    How it would have been under NPC ???????????????????????????????????
    High caste exploiting low caste once again ???????????

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    What does the court records show? If the magistrate apologised to Sumanthiran, it would have been recorded. The magistrate instead of threatening and humiliating the editor could have send him a letter stating the facts. Or he could have made mention of that in open court. He did neither.

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    [Edited out]

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    Mr Thanga your comments clearly shows that magistrate has not made any appology.8 affidavits has been filed in appeal court by lawyers of high court bar associationof Jaffna in support of Magistrate why court of appeal did not consider this. is there any bias on the part of sriskandarajh or he just gave order on behalf of liar prmananth and uthayan.

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    rishad is waiting for revenge.rishad is saying who went against him are no more.juedson was transfered.Rishad was very happy when he heard about the transfer of juedson.shirani was sacked without pension.shantha shut her mouth.it is a big victory for rishad.uthayan supported juedson and shirani.

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    This is very serious. Uthayan had already reported in its 16.4.13 issue (page 13) that that they had defeated Judge Ganesharajah. But the judgment was given only 2 days ago. It is reported that Jaffna Lawyers leader was telling her friends that Justice Sriskandarajah would not go against Mr Sumanthiran because they were very good friends. Justice Sriskandarajah shouldn’t have heard this case. Another Shirani Bandaranayake ?.

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    now we see how thes fools sriskandarjah and shirani gave judgements and demoted and sacked by president rajapakse

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    uthayan has been already punished with assaults by unidentified persons in jaffna and kilinochchi.

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    there is no secret regarding sriskandarajah’s coonections with p.sivasithamparam MP TAMIL UNITED LIBERATION FRONT.HE HAS RECOMMENDED MR SRISKAMDARAJAH TO HIGH COURT. who is part of tna.sumnthiran is talking about rule of law and independence.it is a joke when he get the fevourable judgement from sriskandarajah as shantha say sriskandarajah is friend of sumanthiran and he will not go against sumanthiran.how it can be a independent and impartial judgement.kuruparan is another joker talk about land grabbing and goes to international forum and discredit the Government these people are culprits of go against the country Sinhalese people know this.why these people are not punisheD and sacked.sriskandarajah should wait til the UNP government to come and promote.

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    mr sriskandarajah why don’t you resighn from the post it is not proper the judge should have any political connections particularly you have connections with L.T.T.E PROXIES WE SINHALESE LOSE OUR RESPECT IN YOU.WE HAD HIGH REGARDS EARLIER ON SRISKANDARAJAH BUT IT IS DEAD AND GONE.

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    don’t attack my uncle sriskandarajah he said because he went against presidet and noticing select committee and issue writ he has not been
    promoted.but now he has corrected himself and ivited presdet rajapakse for his son’s wedding.somebody said eventhough presidet came for the wedding he will not promote sriskandarajah.sriskandarajah worry about that and no sleep at all.please don’t attack sriskandarajah

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    code of ethics for media should be there otherwise papers like uthayan will misuse the independent of media and tarnish the image of the country.

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