Public interest litigant Nagananda Kodituwakku who was banned from practicing as a lawyer for three years by the Supreme Court yesterday.
The three-member bench, Chief Justice Nalin Perera, Justices Sisira De Abrew and Prasanna Jayawardena issued the order against Kodituwakku over a defamation case filed in 2015. Kodituwakku was charged with contempt of court after he behaved in an unruly manner before former Appeals Court President Judge Vijith Malalgoda
Delivery the ruling Chief Justice Nalin Perera said: “We note that the misconduct the Respondent is charged with and has been found guilty of, arise from acting in a manner which is contemptuous of the Court of Appeal. This is a grave offence which calls for appropriate punishment. This Court must keep in mind its duty to protect the dignity of the Courts when determining the appropriate punishment which is to be imposed.
“At the same time, we should take into account the fact that the Respondent has made the aforesaid apology, expressed his regret for his misconduct and withdrawn the false allegations which he had made. However, the fact remains that the Respondent did so only at the very end of these proceedings.
“Taking these factors into account, we hereby suspend the Respondent from practice in terms of section 42 (2) of the Judicature Act No.2 of 1978, as amended, for a period of 03 years from today.”
We publish below the ruling in full:
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF THE DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF SRI LANKA
In the matter of a Rule in terms of Section 42(2) of the Judicature Act No. 2 of 1978, against Nagananda Kodituwakku, Attorney-at-Law
Complainant: Justice Vijith Malalgoda ,Judge in the Supreme Court
Respondent: Nagananda Kodituwakku, Attorney-at-Law, 99, Subadrarama Road, Nugegoda
Hon. H.N.J. Perera, CJ
Hon. Sisira J. De Abrew, J
Hon. Prasanna Jayawardena, PC, J
Rohan Sahabandu PC with Chamath Fernando for the BASL.
Nagananda Kodituwakku, Attorney-at-Law the Respondent is present in person.
Dappula de Livera , PC, SG with Ms. Viveka Siriwardena, DSG for the Hon. AG.
Argued on; 14.05.2018, 15.05.2018, 06.06.2018, 04.07.2018 28.11.2018, 13.12.2018, 12.03.2019, 13,03.2019
Decided on; 18.03.2019
H.N.J. Perera, CJ
The Rule issued to the Respondent states, inter alia, that on, 21st May 2015, the Respondent appeared in the Court of Appeal and:
“(a) by the contemptuous submissions you had made without any basis whatsoever brought the Court into ridicule and caused the erosion of public trust and confidence reposed in the judicial system and the overall damaging effect of your submissions could be considered an instance of contempt of court which makes you ex-facie liable to be dealt with according to the law,
(b) By reason of the aforesaid conduct which cannot be countenanced you have conducted yourself in a manner which would reasonably be regarded as disgraceful or dishonourable of Attorneys-at-law of good repute and competency and have thus committed a breach of Rule No. 60 of the Supreme Court (Conduct of and Etiquette for Attorneys-at-Law) Rules 1988 made under Article 136 of the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, and,
(c) by reason of the aforesaid acts and conduct, you have conducted yourself in a manner which is inexcusable and such as to be regarded as deplorable by your fellows in the profession and have thus committed a breach of Rule 60 of the said rules,
(d) by reason of the aforesaid acts and conduct, you have conducted yourself in a manner unworthy of an Attorney-at-Law and have thus committed a breach of Rule No. 61 of the said rule.”.
The respondent initially pleaded not guilty to the Rule issued to him and the matter proceeded to inquiry during the course of which evidence was led. However, at the stage of making oral submissions, the Respondent made the following statement in open Court on 13th March 2019:
“I do hereby tender my regret and unqualified and unreserved apology to the President of the Court of Appeal, to the then President of the Court of Appeal Hon Justice V.K. Malalgoda, PC in open Court and the other Hon. Judges of the Court of Appeal for my statement made and my conduct on 21st May 2015.
Further, I do hereby state I wish to make the same apology to Hon Justice V.K. Malalgoda, PC in open Court and also in writing to the present President of the Court of Appeal.”.
Accordingly, this matter was again taken up today and the Respondent stated the aforesaid apology and expression of regret in open Court. At the same time, the Respondent apologised and expressed his regret to Hon. Justice V.K. Malalgoda,PC, who was present in Court today upon being informed that the Respondent wishes to tender an apology. The Respondent also expressly and unconditionally withdrew the allegations he had made against that Honourable Judge and the Court of Appeal.
In our view, the aforesaid apology and expression of regret which the Respondent has voiced in open Court on two separate occasions, amounts to an unqualified admission by the Respondent that he committed the misconduct he is charged with. The fact that the Respondent has withdrawn the allegations he made in the course of committing the said acts of misconduct, establishes that the Respondent admits the said allegations were unfounded and baseless.
In these circumstances, we find the Respondent guilty of committing the breaches of Rules 60 and Rule 61 of the Supreme Court (Conduct of and Etiquette for Attorneys-at-Law) Rules 1988 made under Article 136 of the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, as set out in the Rule issued to the Respondent.
We are now required to consider the punishment which should be imposed.
We note that the misconduct the Respondent is charged with and has been found guilty of, arise from acting in a manner which is contemptuous of the Court of Appeal. This is a grave offence which calls for appropriate punishment. This Court must keep in mind its duty to protect the dignity of the Courts when determining the appropriate punishment which is to be imposed.
At the same time, we should take into account the fact that the Respondent has made the aforesaid apology, expressed his regret for his misconduct and withdrawn the false allegations which he had made. However, the fact remains that the Respondent did so only at the very end of these proceedings.
Taking these factors into account, we hereby suspend the Respondent from practice in terms of section 42 (2) of the Judicature Act No.2 of 1978, as amended, for a period of 03 years from today.
A copy of this Order is to be forwarded to the Hon. President of the Court of Appeal. Further, the Registrar of this Court is directed to take the required steps for the notification of this Order as required.
Sisira J. De. Abrew, J – Judge of the Supreme Court
Prasanna Jayawardena, PC,J -Judge of the Supreme Court
Nagananda Kodituwakku Barred From Practising Law – Nagananda’s Response To Supreme Court Charges Against Him
Ad / March 19, 2019
” This Court must keep in mind its duty to protect the dignity of the Courts when determining the appropriate punishment which is to be imposed.”
CJ ‘Comply and complain’.
Analyst / March 19, 2019
Ah ! We thought of Nagananda as a future saviour of this rotten country.
Could this be a Whitch Hunt? to prevent him from contesting???
Anything is possible in this so called Buddha land in the name of Lord Buddha.
Do we have any descent educated men to steer clear from the cursed politicians ? and the cursed people of this island nation to a Land to be proud of??
NAK / March 19, 2019
Those lawyers who smashed chairs on the bar table to protest the courts decision were perhaps lucky to escape without as much as a slap on the knuckles!!
Gratiaen Hewa / March 19, 2019
We are shocked & feeling extremely distressed over this sad news. Hope Mr. Nagananda could submit an appeal requesting to grant status quo reducing the order of punishment on mitigating circumstances considering his honesty and integrity.
Ajith / March 19, 2019
In this country, you can insult the constitution, insult the law, insult the justice if you are a powerful politician. Even you can throw out illegally a chief justice with fake or fabricated evidence but if you speak for the people or nation you can’t even make a small mistake. I am not sure whether he is barred from contesting election.
WalaGembaRaja / March 19, 2019
This country is a failed state. Our judicial system is a JOKE. These corrupt judges are politicized, dictatorial, prejudiced and selective in persecuting those who challenge them. Everyone of these corrupt judges need to be thrown out. Ideally their heads must roll by introducing the guillotine by ushering a people friendly revolution. Unfortunately, revolution is the sometimes the way forward as in the case of current France with the “gilets jaunes” (Yellow Vest) when governments fail to deliver. We need something similar in this this country to make progress. If anyone would question or criticize our courts or the judges, they use this high handed tactic as a witch-hunt to silence their opponents. They are able to steam roll over their opponents because they have the backing from their political masters and agents who control the strings of these puppets. The entire judicial system is our “deep state” apparatus. Our country needs a true people friendly revolution to put an end to this menace. A revolution that must be a blood bath because these criminals don’t understand what honesty, ethics, peace and decency mean.
Lex Regal / March 19, 2019
This is another ruling that shows the CJ’s small minded and biased approach to the so-called ;rule of law’ in this country.
Fancy a Supreme Court panel of three or four judges headed by the CJ passing judgement on a charge of ‘bringing the Court into ridicule and causing the erosion of public trust and confidence in the judicial system’ leveled against a senior lawyer cum civil society leader’s pointing to corrupt behaviour of another judge of the same court!
We are supposed to take such openly corrupt decisions as the effect of wheels of justice turning.
This is more like a show trial of the infamous Nuremberg trials after the second war, when the accused had been prejudged with no chance of honest justice. Honestly speaking, a trained monkey will be better suited for the job.
The only good thing is that the ‘six months curse’ will be over soon when this man is due to retire in a month or two, introducing the possibility of a more decent, more intelligent judge taking over our legal system.
Over to you, Mr Sirisena.
ananda Markalanda / March 19, 2019
No one person has fought for Rule of Law in Sri Lanka
ananda Markalanda / March 19, 2019
The true story of one man’s fight against greed, corruption, and insatiable ambition of many for private gain .He reveals why passion and integrity are rare in the corridors of swing-state politics. When Nagananda Kodituwakku “reported for duty” in Sri Lanka from UK, he had knowledge that he was wading into a corrupt and repugnant political scene. Still, he persevered. As evident from the cases he fought and his willingness to oppose one of the most feared men in politics and reveal the truth—even against his own safety—led to his being falsely accused and framed for a charge he never committed. intently Now, with his conviction in question and motions for a new trial before him, he will represent himself as a Citizen.-
K.Anaga / March 19, 2019
“This court should keep in mind its duty to protect the dignity of the courts…………”
well said. But what about the dignity of the litigants who has to wait indefinitely to receive the verdict after the case is concluded. Don’t they have their dignity?
The judges should remember that while they’ look down’ from their Bench at the litigants, they are being judged by the litigants,’ not necessarily by looking’ up to them’ Dignity and Decorum is a two way traffic.
Sarrij / March 21, 2019
Kangaroo court in a Banana Republic.
Good Sense / March 19, 2019
Well Naga has apologised for his conduct, perhaps being indicated that harsher penalties would be in store for him had he not done so. It could well have been a permanent disenrollment and possibly a direction to the Court of Appeal to impose a penalty for contempt of court. In the circumstances a three year ban is inevitable but it could have been more. My appeal to Naga, is to reserve some strength for greater causes instead of letting it go indiscriminately. Naga can do a lot. I do pray and hope that at the appropriate juncture the ban would be lifted well before three years.
Sarrij / March 20, 2019
Time is right for him to contest the Presidential election with a pledge to reform the “FAKE” judicial system.
Mallaiyuran / March 20, 2019
Gnanam is serving 6 (19) years for contempt of Court. He was used as a scapegoat to hide and seek Ekneligoda’s kidnapping, Torture (and Murder?) by Rapist Army. His wife is getting raw deal from Sinhala Jury Only Courts. How come Nagananda is getting butterfly treatment for the same office? Gnanam is Only Buddhist Activist. But Nagananda claims he is Sinhala Buddhist activist. He said he was appearing for client, sounded like a Money Launderer. So they should put Nagananda for twelve years with him.
If Nagananda wants to get out with Gnanam in 6 years, he may do so, provided Sinhala_Man and Champawati would volunteer to share the rest of the time – At least 3 Years-3 Years. That is how the Champawati’s & Sinhala_Man’s Sinhala Buddhism can be honored and protected.
Sinhala_Man / March 23, 2019
What have I got to do with all this?
Something quite different puzzles me. When is this Chief Justice going to retire? When he was appointed, it was said that he would have to retire soon since he was going be 65 in February 2019. This is his Wikipedia entry:
I’m not trying to get rid of him. He’s not much older than me, and he was educated in the same little school as me – at Gurutalawa. I returned to the school as a teacher, after two years at Mt. Lavinia. I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t a good teacher at that time (let me hope that I improved later). I met one of his class-mates at a funeral, and the guy was sure that Nalin Perera was born in May 1954. He claimed to remember it from school days.
What looks strange to me is that nobody has either explained or raised the issue. Even if it was May, shouldn’t they be looking for a new Chief Justice by now?
Mallung, I’m sorry; I don’t know who this Gnanam is. Unless it’s terribly important, please don’t explain, either.
I’ve never met Nagananda, but he will have my support if he runs for President. If he gets 10% of the votes, it’ll be a huge achievement. I consider him more important at this juncture than Nalin Perera. Can’t you guys understand that I’m no politician?
Douglas / March 20, 2019
Mr. Naganada Kodothuwakku: I heard you telling that you are going to file a “Revision” application to the CJ requesting that the decision of SC be “Re-viewed”. I doubt any change would be made. However, please remember of that “Great Man” from South Africa , Late Mr. Nelson Mendela who “TOILED” hard in jail for 20 years, even working as a “Labourer” in a QUARRY. You are not in jail. You are out there, in good physical condition. Don’t you feel much more “BLESSED” than that man Nelson Mendela. Work hard to establish what you believed and perceived to be the CHANGE. Why you want to visit a “PUB” when there is a wide open “Battle Field” to carry on, not for that “Three Years” but a very little time ahead with the struggle you started and carry it to a a “FINISH” along with the rest who are out there for the same cause. Good to make a CHANGE in your course of action and that could be a “STRATEGICAL CHANGE”.
Buddhist / March 20, 2019
How come Gnanasara’s sivura was not removed? How can Gnanasara hold on to his profession as a Buddhist priest. Not only that he is preaching Buddhism in the Prison!
blabla / March 20, 2019
It is easy to preach. It is easy to say be a good fellow. But practicing is the most difficult thing.
When the state provides everything to live a luxurious life for this privileged category there is no need to be a bad person. They live in their own heaven on earth and preach as if all are like them have everything free and well looked after at state expense.
shokka chamopa / March 20, 2019
That is because he has a big back.
K A Sumanasekera / March 20, 2019
Is Naga a Sinahala Buddhist Activist?.
I thought some one in these columns once said that our Yahapalana Supreme Judges are mostly Born Again Christians..
Why can’t Naga be like that Gun UNP Lawyer Young Sujeeva.?.
Apparently Young Sujeeva in his own words could make LKR 25 Lakhs a week.
That is why he reckons that LKR 34 Million from the Car Permit is Peanuts Nuts for him when compared with the revenue he loses by representing the Colombo Elite as their MP and State Minster to look after them.
Naga who always takes the fight up to the Supreme Judges by himself I am sure can make a lot more than what Young Sujya could make .
I mean that is a hell of collosol amount of Dosh.
If Nag wants to be a real Sinhala Buddhist Activist to help them in real time, Naga can start a Fund to sponsor our Sinhala Buddhist Dalits’ kids in Walasmulla and Horowpathana for example, to come to the city and get a good education.
That is the only way our Dalits can break out of the Poverty Cycle.
And that beats Dr Ranil’s Free Gold Bracelets, Free WiFi , Free Digital Schools , Free Laptops and even Free Nano Cars by a country mile…-
Think about it mate, when you are having a rest for the next three months, courtesy of our Yahapalana Justice..
Analyst / March 20, 2019
Dear KA Sumanasekera
Quote: ” Naga can start a Fund for Sinhala Buddhist Dalits ‘ kids to come to the city and get a good education.”
I believe in the idioms as below.
” you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink” OR
” You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’ ear”.
I can see my point elsewhere had been noted here.
The point was the number of illiterates in the Deep South and elsewhere that the Colombites and the Suburbias don’t see or meet up , except when they go on their Jolly Good Jaunts in their SUVs while passing through the deep villages and stop by at the Road side stall and scream at them in filth (! The language they understand) while purchasing their village produce sold in their Roadside stalls.
These illiterates are needed by the Rich Colombites and Suburbias to do their dirty , unlawful jobs like Drug Peddling, Money / Gold laundering, Burgling, Murdering etc etc.
So what good educating them ? , they are good for the crooked jobs to do for our Politicians too.
The Illiterates are the rich pickings of the powerful men and women of our country to do all the illegal, unlawful jobs as mentioned above.
K A Sumanasekera / March 21, 2019
Your constant reference to our Dalit stock in the Village as” Illiterates” has some validity.
Itt is defenitly not because of their Lack of Literacy.
But it is pure Stupidity..
Otherwise how can Dr Ranil banish the Keselwatta Kid to Magamapura for political reasons, mainly to eliminate the necessity for his loyal Colombites to vote for a Premadasa .
And create a clear passage for Poodle Club Members and Royal Alumni to come to Kotte to represent Dr Ranil’s Faction. .
And still use the Kid to hold on to Power for the exclusive benefit of your Colombites and the new rich Suburbians…
The Dalits who go behind the Kid shouting Jayawewa do not realize it is all Jayaweawa for Dr Ranil and His Elite , Anglican and the Wellala Faction.
In return the Keselwatta Kid’s UNP Dalits get a free Bath Packet and a Few Ruppiahs on a regular basis, and a promise for a Fibro Cement Shack in the Bush…
Analyst / March 22, 2019
KAS !! some truth in your utterances certainly to take a point and , too to laugh my guts out .
But where do we end up? Are you happy for the future of your grandchildren? Of the future of yours and my country.??
Would it stay as our country to call as Apeh Aanduwe??
I don’t believe in 2 wrongs makes Right.It’s not in my dictionary.
We who makes our country better for everyone to live.
One do not join the Poodle Club if the one is not a Poodle fan , just as it means.
You don’t join the Drug club if you’re not into it, as same as you don’t join the money launderers , or murderers.
A lesson to learn here!! All those who joined these Clubs in doing so in return for rich pickings , by the orders of Rich and powerful have fallen off the track, but the Rich and Powerful crooks are still standing straight.
Certainly there’s always a mighty God to punish the sinners.
Until then the New Poodles will join the clubs with wagging tails.
There’s No shortage of uneducated Village Dalits to carry out orders and destroy our nation.
Watch the space.
Ad / March 20, 2019
CJ could have discharged with a warning.
namedoesnotmatter / March 20, 2019
How come former Navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda gets a court order to stop being arrested being a suspect for 11 murders. Yes he is still a suspect
In that case, if the law is claimed to be equal to all irrespective of race, religion, gender, and position then it should be applicable to all when anybody being a murder suspect maximum of 11 murders should able to be free from arrest.
What a lovely country when murderers, drug barons, kidnappers, and ransom dealers can make huge easy money.
Ayathuray Rajasingam / March 20, 2019
So what action will be taken to Mahinda Rajapakse’s Parliamentarians (who were lawyers) who abused and/or misused their privileges to humiliate the former Chief Justice Dr.(Mrs.Shirani Bandaranayake) which was almost a threat to the Chief Justice. Rest is history.
hancho pancha / March 20, 2019
Dear Mr. CJ. Are you really qualified yourself to cast the first stone at the “sinner”? The Srilanka Judiciary must be the only disgraced country in the world to have had two socially disgraced members as Chief Justices, one with pants down, literally. The people have the right to ask; do the majority of your fellow judges understand the meaning the English word: Dignity. I can name quite a few who do not. What the Bench has done is irrespective of being right or wrong delivering a debilitating blow below the belt of the country at large in the fight against stratospheric corruption smothering the poor people.
Sinhala_Man / March 21, 2019
Dear Ayathuray Rajasingam and “hancho pancha”,
You’ve both put your points across well. In the context in which we are operating, Nagananda is an important figure. Nobody seriously expects him to win the Presidency, but he symbolises for us the fight against corruption.
But then who are “us”? I’m afraid that we’re only a handful of people who have the leisure and the interest to follow all these abstract affairs. I find that very few are aware of who Naganands is, what this fight is about, or what the Three preference voting system for the President is.
Surinimala / March 20, 2019
This pathetic Chief Justice’s face in this photo looks like a wild bore’s muddy arse. No personality at all!
Sinhala_Man / March 23, 2019
Totally irrelevant, Surinimala.
But when is he going to retire?
I have nothing against the CJ. In fact, I consider him an honest and honourable man. I know too little of the law to evaluate the judgement which I found disappointing.
ananda Markalanda / March 20, 2019
It appears like a ‘trick’ by the courts to compel an apology to admit a wrong doing and get him .
Alex / March 23, 2019
I feel Mr Nagananda was dealt a harsh sentence, however all these commenters on this forum are unbelievable. The way most of you have gone after the judges are incredible as the same panel of judges when ruling against the president’s 51 day govt changeover were praising by these very commenters.
What a bunch of hypocrites. “Law has gone to the dogs only if its fair in your eyes, favouring who you like, or your political alignment”
ala / March 23, 2019
What is the punishment for the President of this country who violated the constitution? If this is the punishment given to Nagananda, the president should be stripped of his civic rights. The courts of this country is bringing shame on itself.
Sdes / March 29, 2019
Banned for 3 years??? This is just a witch hunt. They are trying to keep him away from getting a big fan base (i.e. “votes” at the next election.
Sad state of law in the country.