Legal Services and Laws of Sri Lanka


SLR-1981 Vol.1-P250

SLR - 1981 Vol.1, Page No - 250

LAND REFORM COMMISSION

v.

GRAND CENTRAL LIMITED
SUPREME COURT

SAMARAKOON, C. J.

ISMAIL, J., WEERARATNE, J., SHARVANANDA, J.,

AND WANASUNDERA, J.

S. C. APPEALS NO. 36/81 and 37/81

C. A. (LA) NO. 20/81

D. C. COLOMBO 14125/L

JULY 27, 28, 29, 30 AND

AUGUST 3, 1981.
Constitutional Law-Fundamental right to practise Profession - Right of AttorneyGeneralandStateCounseltoappearin
private capacity -Article 14(1) (g) of Constitution - Section 41 of Judicature Act No. 2 of 1978

The right to be heard in a Court is a right conferred on the party to the proceeding. It is notarightconferredonthe
attorney-at-Law, It is open to an attorney-at-law to appear for the party litigant and to exercise his client's righttobe
heard on his behalf. 'entitlement' follows and is dependent on the 'right' of the party. Theyaretwodifferentconcepts.
Although the Attorney-General and the Legal Officers of his Departmenthbeengrantedpermissiontoengageinprivate
practice such arrangements between employer and employee cannot affect the issue if in fact there arelegalconstraintson
Attorney-General engaging in private practice.

The Attorney-General is the Chief Legal Officer and adviser to the State and then to the sovereign and is inthatsensean
officer of the public. The Attorney-General this country is the Leader of the BarandthehighestLegalOfficerofthe
State. As Attorney-General he has a duty to the Court, to the Stateandtothesubjecttobewhollydetached,wholly
independent and to act impartially with the sole object of establish the truth. That image will certainly be tarnished ifhe
takes part in private litigation arising out of private disputes. No Attorney-General can serve both theStateandprivate
litigant.

Cases referred to:
(1) In the matter of a Proctor of the Supreme Court (1927) 30 N L R 65, 70

(2) 0' Toole v. Scott [1965] 2 All ER 240, 243

(3) Collin v. Hicks [1831] 2 B & Ad. 1290

(4) Simus v. Moore [1970] 3 All ER 1,3

(5) Le mesurier v. Layard (1898) 3 N L R 227, 230
Appeal from judgment of the Court of Appeal.

C. Thiagalingam Q.C. with K M. M. B. Kulatunga Acting Solicitor General and S. Ratnapala State Counsel for defendant-
petitioner-petitioners.

H. W. Jayewardene Q.C. with H. L. de Silva, Romesh de Silva, and Lakshman Per for Plaintiff-respondent.

A. C. de Zoysa with George Candappa and Siva Rajaratnam (on notice) for Bar Association of Sri Lanka.

September 16, 1981.

SAMARAKOON, C. J.
Mr. Siva Pasupati the Attorney-General of Sri Lanka, appeared . in this case at itshearingintheCourtofAppealand
marked his appearance as private Counsel for the Land Reform Commission (hereinafter referred to as theDefendant)andnot
in his official capacity as Attorney-General of the country. Two State Counsel appeared with himandtheirappearancetoo
was marked in the same manner by Mr. Pasupati. Mr. Pasupati was denied a right of audience by the CourtofAppealasthat
Court was of the opinion that he could only appear in his official capacity and not inhisprivatecapacity.Hehasnot
chosen to complain to this Court, or assert any right claimed by him either by wayofapplicationoraffidavit,although
this Court enrolled him and he now holds the exalted positions of Attorney-General of Sri Lanka and Leader of theSriLanka
Bar. Therein lies a tragedy. Instead, his client, the Defendant, has sought to appeal to this Court, ostensibly ontheplea
that it has been denied the services of Counsel of its choice, and now appearing by Senior Queen's Counsel hassubmittedas
his only argument that Mr. Pasupati has been denied his fundamental right of practising his profession, that he hadaright
to appear as plain Attorney-at-Law and be granted the right of audience by the Court of Appeal and that the CourtofAppeal
in denying him the right of audience infringed the fundamental right of Mr. Pasupati as a lawyer conferred on him byArticle
14(1)(g) of the 1978 Constitution and it also committed a breach of Section 41 of the Judicature Act No. 2 -of1978.Itis
the hand of Esau but the voice of Jacob. But perhaps I should begin at the beginning

On 21. 1. 1981 Grand Central Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as the plaintiff) instituted proceedings in the District Courtof
Colombo against the defendant praying for an order directing the defendant to hand over to the Plaintiff the landsdescribed
in the schedule to the plaint and for an interim injunction restraining theDefendantanditsservantsandagentsfrom
interfering with the Plaintiff's right of management of the said lands. ThelearnedAdditionalDistrictJudgeissuedan
interlocutory order coupled with an enjoining order of restraint on the Defendant. On6-2-81theDefendantappliedinter
alia for a discharge of the enjoining order which application was refused by the District Court by its order of 20-1-81.The
Defendant then appealed against that refusal to the Court of Appeal. It filed two applications - one for leave toappealto
the Court of Appeal (No. 20/81) and another to revise the order of refusal (No. 21/81). When theseapplicationsweretaken
up for hearing Mr. H. W. Jayewardene, Q.C. marked his appearance with his Juniors for the PlaintiffandMr.SivaPasupati
marked his appearance with his Juniors for the Defendant. To a pointed question by Mr. Jayewardene, Mr. Siva Pasupatistated
that he and his Juniors (who were all State Attorneys) were appearing in their privatecapacitiesasAttorneys-at-Lawand
not in their official capacities of Attorney-General and State Attorney respectively. Thereupon CounselforPlaintifftook
objection to the Attorney-General appearing in his private capacity statingthathecouldonlyappearinhisofficial
capacity as Attorney-General. It is not clear whether the objection included the State Attorneys butthatdoesnotmatter
now because the order of the Court of Appeal refers only to the Attorney-General. It held thattheAttorney-Generalcannot
appear for a litigant in his private capacity and can only enter an appearance, ifatall,inhisofficialcapacityas
Attorney-General. He could therefore not be heard on behalf of the Defendant in his private capacity as Attorney-at-Law.The
Defendant sought permission from the Court of Appeal to appeal to this Court which application onwasrefused.ThisCourt
has granted the Defendant special leave to appeal to this Court in both cases. The appeals in S.C. No. 36/81andNo.37/81
were taken together for hearing and this order of mine covers both appeals.

At the outset I desire to deal with a minor bone of contention. Mention has been made to the Court of Appeal by Mr.Pasupati
suggesting that Mr. Pasupati and his Juniors were not appearing at their own volition but were doing so on thedirectionof
the President of the Republic. There is no express record of it in the Court of Appeal record. However I findthefollowing
statement in the written submissions of the Defendant filed in the Court of Appeal:-

"The Court has been informed from the Bar that the Attorney-General is appearing in his private capacity inaccordancewith
a direction of the Head of State and Executive, His Excellency the President".
The Plaintiff has referred to this in his written submissions presented to this Court and statesthattheAttorney-General
referred to this direction in the course of his submissions before the Court of Appeal. (Para 4 of writtensubmissions).He
adds that this statement of the Attorney-General was objected to and the Attorney General "was told by Court not to referto
it but at a later stage persisted in doing so though objected to" (para 6). Theobjectionisofnoconsequenceinthis
appeal. All that matters is that Mr. Pasupati did mention a direction stated to have been given to him by the HeadofState
to appear for the Defendant. Rana singhe, J. has referred to this statement in his judgment andtheimpressioncreatedin
his mind appears to be that it was mentioned to support the propriety of his appearing in the way hedid.Perera,J.also
refers to this statement although he expressed the view that Mr. Pasupati "did not seem to rely heavily onsuchdirection".
Neither of them appear to have been prejudiced in any way by this statement. The Plaintiff allegesthatthatstatementof
the Attorney General was "calculated to cause prejudice" to the objection raised by thePlaintiffandthattheAttorney-
General made the statement I from the Bar which he was not entitled to do.DuringthehearingbeforeusMr.Kulatunga,
Junior Counsel for the Defendant who holds the post of Deputy Solicitor-General in the Attorney-General's Department,stated
that the Attorney-General marked his appearance in the manner hedidinconsequenceofsomethingtoldtohimbyMr.
Menikdiwela, Secretary to the President. In the course of his argument Counsel for the defendant statedthattherewasin
existence an administrative order by the Cabinet that the Attorney-General should notappearforStateCorporations,and
that when the Attorney-General received a directive (through the Land Reform Commission) from the President directing himto
appear for the Defendant he was, placed inadilemma.CounselsubmittedthatiftheAttorney-Generaldisobeyedsuch
directive he risked instant removal. Placed as he was in this dilemma he solved itbymarkinghisappearanceasprivate
Counsel. If the Attorney General found himself in this impasse it was his duty to bring it to thenoticeofthePresident
and to advise him as to the proper course of action. He is the Chief Legal Adviser to the State.Itisextremelyunlikely
that the President would have acted contrary to the directive of his own Cabinet nor is there anything in therecordorin
the statements made from the Bar to show that the President directed the Attorney-General to appear as privateCounsel.How
the Attorney-General came to mark his appearance as private Counsel remains a mystery.Howeveritisimmaterialtothis
Court, or to any Court for that matter, to know the identity of the person high or low, who has directed a StateOfficerto
appear as private Counsel in private litigation. In an original Court Counsel is only requiredtostatethenameofthe
instructing Attorney whose proxy is on record. This is not a requirement in theCourtofAppealorSupremeCourt.Name
dropping in Court is therefore unprecedented and uncalled for. I will leave it at that.

I will for the purpose of this case proceed on the basis that the Attorney-General (irrespective of who presentlyholdsthe
office) has marked his appearance as plain Attorney-at-Law (and not in his official capacity as Attorney-General)instructed
by an Attorney who is also an employee of the Defendant. At the outset I asked Counsel for the Defendant whatrighthehad
to espouse the cause of the Attorney-General by way of appeal. HestatedthattheDefendanthadbeendeprivedofthe
services of the Counsel of his choice. I cannot see any substance in this complaint. The Defendant's right to berepresented
by Counsel has not been denied. He could well have retained other Counsel. Anyway asthematterfordecisionisoneof
importance I shall proceed to record my decision.

Counsel for the Defendant submitted that there was nothing wrong in appearing for the Land Reform Commission becauseitwas
an organ of State. It might in corporate language be loosely described as a "wholly owned subsidiary oftheTreasury",but
still it is a juristic person entitled in law to retain its own Counsel even from the private Bar.Besides,ifitwasan
organ or agency of Government the Attorney-General could have,andwouldhave,markedhisappearanceinhisofficial
capacity. There would then have been no dilemma as he claims there was. I do not think any further commentisnecessaryas
that argument was also intended to demonstrate that there was no conflict of interests.

It is claimed that a fundamental right of the Attorney-General was infringed bythisrefusaloftherightofaudience.
Article 14(1) (g) of the Constitution of the Republic (1978) is called in aid. It reads thus-
"14(1) Every citizen is entitled to-
(g) the freedom to engage himself or in association with others in any lawfuloccupation,profession,trade,businessor
enterprise "
This Article gives a citizen the freedom to engage by himself or in association with others "in any lawfulprofession".The
profession we are concerned with is the legal profession. The Attorney General has been admitted and enrolledinthelegal
profession. He has acquired that freedom and nobody can deny his general right to practise that profession as an Attorney-at-
Law. The only restrictions are those that are prescribed by law in relation totheprofessionalandotherqualifications
"necessary for practising" that profession. (Vide Article 15(5) of the Constitution (1978)).

For instance rules for that profession are made under Article 136(1) (g) and (h) fortheadmission,enrolment,suspension
and removal of Attorneys-at-Law and for their attire when attending Court. These have the force ofwrittenlaw.TheState
cannot permit unqualified persons to handle the affairs of a citizen in Court and in legalmatters.Hencetheselawsand
rules. (Vide also the provisions of section.40 and section 42 of the Judicature Act No. 2 of 1978). The refusalofaright
of audience in any particular case does not meanadenialofthefundamentalrighttoengagehimselfinthelegal
profession. The ruling in this case is that he cannot appear as an Attorney-at-Law inhisprivatecapacityandtherefore
cannot practise ass a private Attorney. His right to practise his profession as the Chief Law Officer oftheStateinall
Courts in the Island has not been denied. Indeed it has been conceded in no uncertain terms.

Counsel for the Defendant then referred us to the provisions of section 41 of the Judicature Act No.2of1978.Itreads
thus-

"41. (1) Every Attorney-at-Law shall be entitled to assist and advise clients and to appear, plead or act in everycourtor
other institution established by law for the administration of justice and every person who is a party to orhasorclaims
to have the right to be heard in any proceeding in any suchcourtorothersuchinstitutionshallbeentitledtobe
represented by an Attorney-at-Law.
(2) Every person who is a party to any proceeding before any person or tribunal exercising quasi-judicialpowersandevery
person who has or claims to have the right to be heard before any such person or tribunal shallunlessotherwiseexpressly
provided by law be entitled, to be represented by an attorney at- Law".

Counsel claimed that the section conferred a right on the Attorney-at-Law which cannot be denied by a Court and canonlybe
denied if he was removed or suspended by the Supreme Court. The "right to be heard" is a right conferred on the party tothe
proceeding in Court. It is not a right conferred on the Attorney-at-Law. It is open to an Attorney-at-Law to appearforthe
party litigant and to exercise his client's right to be heard on his behalf. The "entitlement" follows andisdependenton
the "right" of the party. They are two different concepts. "The practice of the law is not a business open toallwhowish
to engage in itit isapersonalrightorprivilegelimitedtoselectedpersonsofgoodcharacterwithspecial
qualifications duly ascertained and certifiedit is in the nature of a franchisefromtheState...................."per
Jayewardene, A. J. in the matter of a Proctor of the Supreme Court.(1) In the circumstances I holdthattheprovisionsof
section 41 of the Judicature Act have not been contravened.

Counsel for the Defendant contended that although a Court had the fundamental right to controlitsproceedingsithadno
power to deny the right of audience to an Attorney-at-Law. He conceded thataCourtcoulddenythatrightincaseof
improper conduct in Court. He relied on the provisions of sections 40, 43 and 44 of the Judicature Act. Section40empowers
the Supreme Court to enrol Attorneys-at-Law. Section 43 and section 44 deal with disciplinary enquirieswhenmisconductis
alleged against any Attorney-at-law. These do not in my opinion affect the inherent power ofaCourttocontrolitsown
proceedings. In exercising that power "subject to usage or statutory power Courts orTribunalsmayexerciseadiscretion
whether they will allow anyand what persons, to act as advocates before them". per Lord Pearson in O. Toole vs. Scott.(2)

In the case of Collier vs. Hicks (3) the Plaintiff, who was an Attorney, attempted to appearfortheinformerinacase
before two justices hearing the case. He was told by the justices that he could not appear for the informer asAttorneyand
Advocate as it was not their practice to allow such appearance. When the Plaintiff persisted in his attempt to takepartin
the proceedings he was, by order of the justices, expelled from the premises into the Street. He complained oftrespassfor
assaulting and turning him out of the police office. The Court of King's Bench inappealheldthatnooneisentitled,
without permission of the magistrates, and as a matter of right, to attend and take part as an Advocate. LordTenterden,C.
J. said:

"This was undoubtedly an open Court and the public had a right to be present as in other Courts butwhetheranypersons,
and who shall be allowed to take part in proceedings, must depend on thediscretionoftheMagistrates,wholikeother
Judges must have the power to regulate their own proceedings."

Littledale J. stated thus:
" The plaintiff, indeed is an attorney of one of the Superior Courts, but he can derive no right from that charactertoact
as an advocate in a proceeding before a magistrate. It seems tome,asmagistrateshavearighttoregulatetheirown
proceedings, they must, consequently, have authority to decide whether advocates shallnotbepermittedtopleadbefore
them, though in cases of difficulty it may be desirable and advisable that the liberty should be granted"

Parker J. stated the general rule thus:
"No person has a right to act as an advocate without the leave of the Court, whichmustofnecessityhavethepowerof
regulating its own proceedings in all cases where they are not already regulated by ancient usage."

Lord Pearson's statement of the principle was accepted and repeated by Lord Parker C. J. in Simus vs. Moore (4)whostated:
"Justices have always had an inherent power to regulate the procedure in their courts in the interests of justice and afair
and expeditious trial." Our Courts in Sri Lanka have always had that power and I know of no laworrulewhichtakesaway
that power. I therefore hold that the Court of Appeal had the power to refuse the right of audiencetoanyAttorney-at-Law
for good reason..

I now turn to the main question. Has the Attorney-General the right of audience when he appearsasprivateCounselfora
client while he holds the post of Attorney-General? The office of Attorney-General has alonghistory.Itisthelineal
descendant of the "Advocate Fiscal" which existed under Dutch rule in this country. It continued as such underBritishrule
until 1833 when it was renamed "King's Advocate". He performed functions similar to the functions performed by theAttorney-
General in England. (18 C. L. Rec. CV). By Ordinance 1 of 1883 this designation waschangedto"Attorney-General"andhe
represented the Crown in all civil and criminal matters. In the year 1898 Bonser, C. J. referred to the post in these terms:-
"The present Attorney-General is the lineal successor of the old Advocate Fiscal, and just as inolddaysactionsagainst
the Government were brought against the Advocate Fiscal as representing the local 'Fisc' or Treasury,sotheymaynowbe
brought against the Attorney-General". Le Mesurier vs. Layard (5)

Then came the first Constitution -TheCeylon(Constitution)Order-in-Council1946(Chapter376).Byvirtueofthe
provisions of section 60 the appointment and transfer of the Attorney-General was made by the Governor-General.Thisoffice
was excluded from the purview of the Public ServiceCommission.In1972camethefirstRepublicanConstitutionwhich
provided that the Attorney-General shall be appointed by the President. It isthesameinthe1978Constitution.(Vide
Article 54). The office of the Attorney-General is, as recognised by the Constitution, an exaltedone.Thereisnodoubt
that there was a stage, many years ago, when the Attorney-General engaged in privatepractice.Thiswasthepracticein
England and was therefore adopted in this Country. The list of cases submitted by the Defendant ranging from1880andending
in 1915 bear testimony to this. Since 1915 the Attorney General has not engagedinprivatepractice.Thishasbeenthe
tradition built up over 60 years. No doubt it followed the English rule which was laid down by a Treasury Minute of June29,
1894, forbidding the Attorney-General to engage in private practice and made at the instanceofthethenPrimeMinister.
This was a salutary rule in the interests of the administration of justice and justice itself. We have been informed thatby
a government fiat of 23rd July, 1980, the Attorney-General and theLegalOfficersofhisDepartmenthavebeengranted
permission to engage in private practice. But such arrangements between employer and employee cannot affect the issueifin
fact there are legal constraints on the Attorney-General engaging in private practice.

Counsel for the Defendant readily and quite correctly conceded that there is such constraint in thefieldofcriminallaw
and practice. His powers in this field are vast. They extend even to quasi judicial functions. He is empowered to enterinto
and take over any criminal prosecution in the Island whether they be initiated by private plaintorbyStateOfficer.He
alone can enter a nolle prosequi in a criminal case. I need not labour the point. The Attorney-Generalengaginginprivate
practice in criminal cases is unthinkable.

What of the civil law? All actions by or against the State must be instituted by oragainsttheAttorney-General(section
456 Civil Procedure Code Chapter 101). All process issued against the State must be served on theAttorney-General(section
457 Civil Procedure Code ). HehasthepowertoundertakethedefenceinactionsagainstMinisters,Parliamentary
Secretaries and Public Officers (section 463 Civil Procedure Code). Special powers are given to him towatchtheinterests
of wards of Court such as persons of unsound mind (section 556(2), section 572(2), section 575(1)) and manors(section589,
section 591, section 592(2) Civil . Procedure Code). He is the Chief Legal Officer and Adviser to the Stateandtherebyto
the Sovereign and is in that sense an officer of the public. He is the watch-dogofpublicrightsandcanintervenein
private litigation if public rights are in any way to be affected.Heisvestedwithpowerinrespectofallpublic
charitable Trusts and actions alleging breach of any charitable Trust can only bebroughtbytheAttorney-Generalorby
others with his permission (section 101 of Trust Ordinance Chapter 87). He it is who advises the StateandtheSpeakeron
every Bill that is to be presented to Parliament

(Article 77 of the 1978 Constitution). Counsel for the Parliament brought to our notice certain factsconnectedwiththis
duty which demonstrates the evils of the Attorney-General appearing in civil cases. This case was instituted in theDistrict
Court of Colombo on the 21st January, 1981, (Document DP1) and an interlocutor, order coupled withanenjoiningorderwas
issued by the Court on 31.1.81 (Document DP2). The Defendant made application on 6. 2. 81 praying for the dissolution ofthe
enjoining order (Document DP3) which application was dismissed by the Court on 20. 2.81(DocumentDP5).Applicationfor
leave to appeal and for revision of that order were filed in the Court of Appeal on 23. 2. 81. The Bill toamend-theLand
Reform Commission Law was presented to the Supreme Court on 18. 2. 81 (Document DP1D) and notice in terms of Article134of
the Constitution was issued on the Attorney-General on 19. 2. 81 (Document DP9). The Bill vas taken up forConsiderationby
the Supreme Court on 24. 2. 81 and Mr. Siva Pasupati as the Attorney General, himself appeared and tenderedhisopinionto
the Supreme Court. The Plaintiff was also represented by Counsel who made submissions which wentcountertothoseofthe
Attorney-General. The Supreme Court tendered its advice to the President and Speaker on the same day.TheCourtofAppeal
heard the applications beginning on3. 3. 81. At that time the Bills had not been passed by Parliament. No doubtlongbefore
18.2.81 the Attorney-General would have, acting under powers conferred byArticle77oftheConstitution,tenderedhis
advice to the State on the provisions of the Bill. It is relevant at this stage to take note of the position taken up byhis
client before the Court of Appeal set out in its written submissions-

"In view of the fact that the plaintiff-respondent has now resiled from the agreement to sell the said lands as evidencedby
the Plaintiff-Respondent's present action and conduct, the Government has taken steps to enact amendments to the LandReform
Law as was contemplated in 1976, which would have the effect of vesting the Plaintiff-Respondent's estate Lands,inOctober
1975. The Bill for enacting the necessary amendments has been certified by the Cabinet of MinistersunderArticle'122of
the Constitution as being urgent in the national interest and the Registrar of the Supreme Court hasservednoticeonthe
Attorney-General that the said Bill would be considered by the Supreme Court, in terms of Article 122oftheConstitution,
on the 24th of February, 1981. The Defendant-Petitioner annexes hereto marked 'DP. 9' a true copyofthesaidnoticeand
marked 'DP. 10', a true copy of the said Bill which was forwarded with the said notice."

"In the premises, the Defendant-Petitioner states that irreparable loss and damage willbecausedifthesaidEnjoining
Order dated 30th January 1981 and the Order of the learned District Judge made on the20thFebruary,1981,affirmingthe
said Enjoining Order are allowed to stand."

What is the effect of these? They expose the Attorney-General to the charge that he was partisan and biased when hetendered
his advice on the Bill and when !-,e made submissions on the Bill to the Supreme Court. There is anappearanceofconflict
between his duty to Court, his duty to the State and the legislature, and his duty to the client. Theage-oldconceptthat
the Attorney-General is impartial and decides equally between Stateandsubjectwouldhavebeensuspect.Theeventual
sufferer must necessarily be the administration of justice and justice itself.

In the course of the argument Counsel for the Defendant was asked what would the Attorney-General do if, whenappearingfor
one of -the claimants in a partition case, hediscoveredinthecourseofthecaseorinthecourseofreceiving
instructions that the State had a claim to the lands claimed by his client. His answer was thattheAttorney-Generalwould
immediately cease his appearance for the client, advise the State on the basis of the knowledge so gainedbyhimandthen
appear for, the State. This contention cannot be accepted. It would be improper for him to jettison his client inthatway.
Unless he has his client's express consent, he would be acting in breach of the confidence reposed in him andalsocontrary
to the provisions of section 125 of Evidence Ordinance which expressly forbids any Attorney-at-Law to disclose anyknowledge
acquired by him in the course of his professional employment. In short he willbeguiltyofprofessionalmisconductand
malpractice the consequences of which are serious in the extreme.

Counsel for the Defendant made another submission which I mention only becauseitwasmade.HesaidthattheAttorney
General appears in his official capacity when he is nominative, that is when he is a party, and secondly whenheisserved
with notice as required by law and in all other instances, eg. when he takesoverthedefenceofaMinisterorPublic
Servant, he does not appear in his official capacity but as plain Attorney-at-Law. I cannot agree. He cannot shed hisoffice
as and when the circumstances suit him. 'The law does not permit the Attorney-General to play Jekyll and Hyde. Hehadtaken
his oath of office as required by the provisions of the Constitution. Once an Attorney-GeneralalwaystheAttorney-General
until he relinquishes office.

The Attorney-General of his Country is the leader of the Bar and the highest Legal Officer of the State. AsAttorney-General
he has a duty to Court, to the State and to the subject to be wholly detached, whollyindependentandtoactimpartially
with the sole object of establishing the truth. It is far that reason that all Courts in this Island requesttheappearance
of the Attorney General as amicus curiae when the Court requires assistance, which assistance has in thepastbeenreadily
given. That image will certainly be tarnished if he takes part in private litigationarisingoutofprivatedisputes.I
cannot but agree with the judgment of the Court of Appeal that there are constraintsontheAttorney-Generalengagingin
private practice in the civil law as well as the criminal law. It is regrettable that the State has sought to act counterto
tradition, (prudence and propriety) in granting the Attorney General and his law officerstherightofprivatepractice.
Justice is the loser thereby. No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one and love the other-orhewill
hold to one and dispose the other. No Attorney-General can serve both State and private litigant. I would dismiss theappeal
with costs. I desire to record our appreciation of the valuable assistance given to us by Counsel for allpartiesandmore
especially to Counsel for the Bar Association who gave also of their valuable time.

ISMAIL, J. - I agree

WEERARATNE, J. - I agree

SHARVANANDA, J.- I agree

WANASUNDERA, J.I agree
Appeal dismissed.


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