Legal Services and Laws of Sri Lanka
SLR - 2000 Vol.1, Page No - 172
SARATH AMUNUGAMA AND OTHERS
KARU JAYASURIYA, CHAIRMAN,
UNITED NATIONAL PARTY AND OTHERS
AMERASINGHE, ACTG. CJ.,
BANDARANAYAKE, J. AND
SC SPL.(E) NO. 4/99 WITH
SC SPL.(E) NO. 5/99
SC SPL.(E) NO. 6/99
SC SPL.(E) NO. 7/99
SC SPL.(E) NO. 8/99
26th AND 27th JANUARY, 2000
Expulsion of members of a recognized political party who are Members of Parliament -Article 99(13)(a) of theConstitution-
Validity of the expulsion - Procedural justice -Audi alteram partem rule.
Five petitioners (whose cases were heard together) were Members of Parliament representing the UnitedNationalPartywhich
is a recognized political party. They were summarily expelled from the membership of the Party on a decision oftheWorking
Committee of the Party. The immediate ground of expulsion was that the petitioners had met PresidentChandrikaBandaranaike
Kumaratunga and assured her of winning the Presidential Election 1999 when in fact the United NationalPartyhadnominated
its leader Ranil Wickremasinghe as a candidate at that Election. Two moreallegationsmadeespeciallyagainstpetitioner
Amunugama were (1) announcing to the national media about the formation of a national government without a mandatefromthe
Party and (2) that he had told the BBC that he would leave the UNP if the Party failed to respond to his nationalgovernment
No explanations were called for from the petitioners, no charge sheetswereservedandnoinquirywasheldgivingan
adequate opportunity to the petitioners todefendthemselves.TheWorkingCommitteetookthedecisionforimmediate
expulsion on the basis that the petitioners' conduct adversely affected the election campaign, much damage had beendoneto
the Party and an urgent decision had to be taken to protect the welfare of the Party and to ensure the unity of its members.
1. There was no mandatory requirement that disciplinary proceedings shall onlybeconductedbyaDisciplinaryCommittee
(other than the Party Working Commitee) appointed by the Party Working. Committee.
2. There was no justification for the failure of the respondents to observe the principles of natural justice andgrantthe
petitioners a hearing before they were expelled. The expulsions of the petitioners were, therefore, invalid.
Per Amerasinghe, Actg. CJ.
"I am of the view thattherespondentshavefailedtoestablishthattheexpulsionsfellwithinthecategoryof
extraordinary, urgent circumstances recognized by courts of law."
Cases referred :
1. Gamini Dissanayake v. M.C.M. Kaleel and Others (1993) 2 Sri LR 135, 155-164, 186
2. Stevenson v. United Road Transport Union (1997) 2 ALL E. R. 941, 951
3. Lau Liat Mena v. Disciplinary Committee (1968) A.C. 391
4. Board of Trustees of Maradana Mosque v. Badi-ud-din Mahmud, Minister of Education (1967) 1 A.C. 13(1966) 68 N.L.R. 217
5. Hanson v. Church Commissioners for England (1978) Q.B. 823, 838
6. R v. Thames Magistrates' Court, ex p. Polemis (1974) 1 W.L.R. 1371, 1375, 1378.
7. R v. Pharmaceutical Services Committee ex. p. Gordon D. Conway Ltd the Times, November 7. 1970.
8. Morris v. Lawrence (1977) R.T.R. 205
9. Russet v. Duke of Norfolk (1949) 1 ALL E.R. 109,118
10. R. v. Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex p. Doody (1994) 1 A.C. 531, 560, 563
11. Premaratne v. Srimani Athulathmudali and others S. C. (SPL) 1 /96 S.C. Determination of 27 February 1996
12. Ridge v. Baldwin (1964) A.C. 40
13. A.G. v. Ryan (1980) A.C. 718
14. Abbott v. Sullivan (1952) 1 K.B. 189,198
15. Cooper v. Wandsworth Board of Works (1863) 14 C.B. (N.S.) 180
16. R v. Chancellor of the University of Cambridge (1723) 1 Str. 557, 567
17. R v. Justices of West Riding of Yokshire, ex p. Thornton (1837) 7 Ad. on E. 583, 589
18. R v. Wilson (1835) 2 ad. on E. 817, 826
19. Wood v. Wood (1874) L. R. 9 Ex 190,196
20. Board of Education v. Rice (1911) A. C. 179, 182
21. R v. Leman Street Police Station Inspector, ex p. Venicof (1920) 3 K.B. 72
22. Nakkuda Ali v. Jayaratne (1950) 51 NLR 457(1951) A.C. 66
23. Hounslow L.B.C. v. Twickenharn Garden Developments (1971) Ch. 233, 258
24. R v. Aston University Senate ex p. Roffey (1969) Q. B. 538, 552
25. John v. Rees (1970) Ch. 345, 382. 402
26. General Medical Council v. Spackman (1943) A. C. 627, 644
27. Ramamoorthy and Rameshwaran v. Douglas Devananda and Others (1998) 2 Sri LR 278, 285
28. Anamunthundo v. Oilfield Workers Trade Union (1961) A.C. 945, 956
29. Chief Constable of Police v. Evans (1982) 1 W.L.R. 1155. 1160
30. R v. Secretary of State for the Environment, ex p. Brent L.B.C. (1982) Q.13. 593,734
31. R v. Secretary of State for Education, ex p. Prior (1994) C. R. 877
32. R v. Sussex JJ., ex p. Mc Carthy (1924) 1 K. B. 256, 259
33. Altco Ltd v. Sutherland (1971) 2 Lloyd's Rep. 515
34. Maxwell v. Department of Trade (1974) 1 Q.B. 523.540
35. Fullbrook v. Berkshire Magistrates' Courts Committee (1971) L.G.R. 75,97
36. Scott v. Aberdeen Corporation (1976) S.L.T. 141
37. Council of Civil Service Unions v. Minister for the Civil Service (1985) A.C. 374
38. Lloyd v. McMahon (1987) A.C. 625,702
39. Durayappah v. Fernando (1966) 69 NLR 265, 267 (1967) 2 A.C. 337,345
40. Pratt v. Wanganui Education Board (1977) 1 N.Z.L.R. 476, 485
41. Earl v. Stater & Wheeler (Airlyne) Ltd. (1973) 1 W.L.R. 51
42. Tilak Karunaratne v. Mrs Sirimavo Bandaranaike and Others (1993) Sri L.R. 90
APPLICATION in terms of Article 99(13)(a) of the Constitution challenging expulsion from the United National Party.
E. D. Wickremanayake with Gomin Dayasiri, Nigel Hatch and U. Abdul Najeem for the petitioners in Nos. 4 - 7/99.
D.S. Wijesinghe, P.C. with Asoka Somaratne, Dr. Jayamapthy Wickremaratne and C. Samaranayake for the petitioner in No. 8/99.
Tilak Marapana, P.C. with Dulinda Weerasuriya, Nalin Ladduwahetty, Jayantha Fernando, Anuja Premaratne, DhammikaJayanetthi
and Janaka Marapana for 1st to 4th respondents in Nos. 4 and 7/99.
Shibly Aziz P.C. with Daya Pelpola, S.J. Mohideen, A. P. Niles, R. L. Perera, Ronald Perera and S. Dayaratne for the
respondents in Nos. 5 - 6/99.
Daya Pelpola with Anil Rajakaruna, Luxman Perera and Ronald Perera for respondents in No. 8/99.
3rd February, 2000
AMERASINGHE, ACTING C.J.
It was agreed by the Counsel for the petitioners in this matter that all five casesshouldbeheardtogethersincethey
essentially related to similar issues.
The fifth respondent is the Secretary-General of Parliament and has been made a party for thepurposesofnoticeonly.A
reference to "respondents" hereinafter means and includes only the 1st to 4th respondents.
The petitioners are Members of Parliament. They were members of the United National Party, a recognized politicalparty.At
the time of becoming Members of Parliament their names appeared on the nomination papers of the United National Party.Ina
letter dated the 8th of November 1999, the General Secretary of the United National Party (the secondrespondent)wroteto
each of the petitioners as follows:
"The Working Committee of the United National Partyatitsmeetingheldon21stOctober1999havingconsideredthe
Proclamation issued by H. E. the President under Art.31 (3A)(a) (i) of the Constitution declaring her intention ofappealing
to the People for a mandate to hold office by election for a further term, decidedtoopposethemandatesosought,by
nominating a candidate to contest at the said election with a view to securing the electionasPresidentofSriLankaa
member of the United National Party.
The Working Committee further resolved that the Leader of the Party Hon. RanilWickremesingheMP,shouldbetheParty's
The aforesaid decisions of the Party Working Committee were ratified at a SpecialConventionofthePartyheldon31st
October 1999 and also by the Party Parliamentary Group and received publicity in the print and electronic media.
The Working Committee at its meeting held today (8th November 1999) at 9.00 a.m.,tooknoteofthefactthatyouhave
nevertheless, without prior authority or sanction of the United National Party, attended a meeting atTempleTreeson5th
November 1999 at which were present H. E. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga (who is the rival Presidential candidate ofthe
People's Alliance) and several of her Party colleagues. At this meeting yousignifiedyourintentionandwillingnessto
support her candidature at the forthcoming election as against that of our Party candidate.Youhadalsoparticipatedin
discussion of policy issues such as formation of a national government without prior discussion within or amandateofthe
The said meeting and your presence and the statements thereat and the pledge to support her as against the Party'scandidate
received wide publicity in the daily press, the state controlled electronic media as also other electronic media.
The Working Committee notes additionally that you have acted as above despite your being a United NationalPartyMemberof
Your aforesaid conduct is a serious and flagrant violation of Party loyalty and discipline and a violation ofyourdutyto
act according to and uphold the Constitution of the United National Party.
In view of the above, the Working Committee of the Party at its said meeting held today and acting underthepowersvested
in it under Article 6.3(a) read with Article 7.15 of the Constitution of the UnitedNationalPartyresolvedthatyoube
expelled with immediate effect from membership of the Party in as much as your aforesaid conduct is a gross violation ofthe
provisions of Articles 3.3(a), (b), (c) and (d) read with Article 2.1 and 2.2 of the Constitution of the Party."
On the 6th of December 1999, three of the petitioners filed applications (E) 4/99 - (E) 7/99 in the SupremeCourtinterms
of Article 99(13)(a) of the Constitution. On the7th of December 1999, the fourth petitioner filed a similarapplication(E)
Article 99(13)(a) of the Constitution states as follows
"Where a Member of Parliament ceases by resignation, expulsion or otherwise to be a member of arecognizedpoliticalparty
or independent group on whose nomination paper (hereinafterreferredtoasthe"relevantnominationpaper")hisname
appeared at the time of his becoming such Member of Parliament, his seat shall become vacant upon the expiration of aperiod
of one month from the date of his ceasing to be such member
Provided that in the case of the expulsion of a Member of Parliament his seatshallnotbecomevacantifpriortothe
expiration of the said period of one month he applies to the Supreme Court by petition inwriting,andtheSupremeCourt
upon such application determines that such expulsion was invalid. Such petition shall be inquired intobythreeJudgesof
the Supreme Court who shall make their determination within two months of the filing ofsuchpetition.WheretheSupreme
Court determines that expulsion was valid the expulsion shall occur from the date of such determination."
The petitioners pray that the Court declares their expulsion from the membership of the United National Party invalid andof
no legal effectsets aside the order and/or decision of the Working Committee of the United NationalPartyexpellingthem
from the Partyand declares that the petitioners remain members of the United National Party.
The reliefs claimed are based, among others, on the averment that the expulsionswereincontraventionofthemandatory
provisions of the Party Constitution and/or Disciplinary Rules of the Party. The petitioners allege that:
(i) although under the Party Constitution the Working Committee mandatorilyhastoappointadisciplinarycommitteeto
inquire into allegations of misconduct or indiscipline against party members, and it is onlysuchacommitteethatcould
conduct any inquiry into any allegations of misconduct or indiscipline, no notice of the appointment of such acommiteewas
given, and in fact no such committee was appointed
(ii) they were not notified that complaints had beenmadeagainstthemand/orthatdisciplinaryproceedingshadbeen
initiated against them
(iii) no explanation was called for from the petitioners
(iv) no charge sheet was served on them
(v) the date, time and place of inquiry were not notified to the petitioners and they were not called upon to attend suchan
(vi) no inquiry was held against the petitioners.
The petitioners submitted that it was a recognized condition of the membership of the Party thatdisciplinaryactionwould
be taken in accordance with the procedures prescribed by the Party's "Guidelines."Thepetitionersstatethattheywere
expelled in contravention of the Party Guidelines. Thereforetheexpulsionswereunreasonableand/orarbitraryandin
contravention of their "legitimate expectations". Consequently, the expulsions were invalid and of no effect
The decision to expel the petitioners was taken at a meeting of the Working Committee on the 8th of November,1999.Article
6.3(a) of the U.N.P. Constitution empowers the National Executive Committee "to enforcetheConstitution,standingorders
and rules and the code of conduct of the Party, and to take any action it deems necessary for such purpose,whetherbyway
of disciplinary action including expulsion or suspension against any individual member or an office bearerorotherwise..
." Article 7.15 states that "The Party Working Committee shall have the power to exercise the powers,functionsandduties
vested in it by the National Executive Committee . . ." Admittedly in terms of paragraph 01 oftheU.N.P."Guidelinesfor
the conduct of disciplinary inquiries", "The General Secretary of the Party should write to thememberconcernedinforming
him that a complaint had been received and notifying him of the Panel of Party Members appointed by the Working Committeeto
inquire into and report through the Disciplinary Committee on the complaint." Article 7.13 of the U.N.P. Constitutionstates
that "The Party Working Committee shall appoint a Disciplinary Committee." However, in myview,therewasno"mandatory"
requirement that disciplinary proceedings shall only be conducted by a Disciplinary Committee (other than thePartyWorking
Committee) appointed by the Party Working Committee. The decision to expel the petitioners cannot be assailed ontheground
that the Working Committee lacked authority. Cf. per Fernando, J. in Gamini Dissanayake v. M.C.M. Kaleel and Others,(1).
With regard to theavermentthattherewasnoinquiry,assumingthattheWorkingCommitteeitselfconductedthe
investigation on the 8th of November 1999, such investigation did not proceed on the basis of theGuidelineswhichprovide
as follows "05.The inquiry should commence with the Panel briefly outlining to the member thenatureoftheevidencethe
Committee has available. . . The Committee should then question the complainant, if any further clarificationisnecessary,
in the presence of the member. Also, any other witnesses. The member should be given theopportunitytocross-examinethe
complainant and the witnesses.
06. Unlike a Court of Law, a panel conducting a domestic inquiry is entitled to take steps on its owninitiativetoobtain
information and documents etc. relevant to the charges. However, if the Panel intendstakingintoconsiderationanysuch
material, it must inform the member concerned during the inquiry, and give him an opportunity of explaining the same.
07. The Panel has the flexibility to adopt its own procedure on which the above-stated guidelines (text obscure) ... Whatis
important however is to provide the member a fair hearing and a fair chance to explain orcontroverttheevidenceagainst
08. The member concerned will be entitled to give evidence on his own behalfortocallrelevantwitnessesandproduce
documents. The Panel will be entitled to question the member or his witnesses to obtain any clarification.
09. It will be advisable to maintain notes of the main matters transpiring in evidenceetc.attheinquiry.Thesenotes
should be signed by the Chairman of the Panel. . ."
According to the minutes of the meeting of the Working Committee, pursuant to which the letters of expulsion were issued,as
far as the matters under consideration were concerned, what took place, was as follows
"Presidential Election 1999"
The General Secretary of the Party referred to the Presidentialelection.SinceHerExcellencythePresidentChandrika
Bandaranaike Kumaratunga had sought election for a further term of six years, the United National Party had decided thatits
party leader, Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe, should be its candidate at that election. There is a pronouncement thatonthe5th
of November 1999 eight gentlemen (who are named and include the petitioners) met the President andassuredherofwinning
the election. Their pronouncement has been conveyed to thepublicthroughtheradio,televisionandprintedmeansof
communication. The relevant newspaper reports were tabled. The conduct of these gentlemen violate Articles2(i),2(ii)and
3:3(a) (b) (c) (d) of the Party Constitution. Notice of the meeting taking place today has been given to Mr.NandaMatthew,
Mr. Susil Moonesinghe and Dr. Stanley Kalpage and they have by Fax stated that they are unable to be present.
Further, it was stated that a letter dated 03/11/99 had been sent to Mr. Sarath Amunugama requiring him to show cause whyhe
should be excused for announcing to the national media about the formation of a national governmentwithoutthepermission
of the leader of the Party and of its Working Committee.
Mr. John Amaratunga, M.P., observed that some of the people concerned wereofficialsoftheU.N.P.andmembersofits
Working Committee and that at this time the misconduct of these people wouldadverselyaffecttheelectioncampaignand
confuse the minds of voters. Because of wide publicity, much damage had been done to the Party. Moreover, he said,theyhad
violated the rules of the Party and the conditions of their .membership. An urgent decision had to be takentoprotectthe
welfare of the Party and to ensure the unity of its members. He proposed the immediate expulsion of the eight persons.
Mr. Gamini Lokuge, M.P., spoke in support of the proposal, and the members oftheWorkingCommiteeunanimouslyvotedin
favour of the proposal. Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe abstainedfromvoting.ItwasdecidedthattheSecretary-Generalof
Parliament be informed of the expulsion of five Members of Parliament.
A Committee of six persons was appointed to deal with other members who worked against the Party.
The U.N.P. Guidelines provide that where a complaint is received against a member of the Party,
"O1.The General Secretary of the Party should write to the member concerned informing him that a complaint had beenreceived
and notifying him of the names of the Panel of Party Members appointed by the Working Committee to inquireintoandreport
through the Disciplinary Committee on the complaint ...
02. The Panel should examine the complaint made, and theChairmanofthePanelshouldwritetothememberconcerned
requesting his explanation, in the first instance. A copy of the complaint should be forwarded to themember.Aperiodof
seven/ten days could be allowed for the submission of the member's explanation.
03. If the explanation submitted is unsatisfactory or unacceptable, and the Panel is of theviewthatfurtherinquiryis
necessary, a charge-sheet should then be prepared by the Panel and forwarded to the member ...
04. The Panel should notify the complainant also to be present at the inquiry."
Admittedly as far as the petitioner in Application (E) 4/ 99, Dr. Sarath Amunugama, is concerned, a letterdatedthe3rdof
November 1999 had been sent to him by the General Secretary of the U.N.P. (Mr.GaminiAtukorale,thesecondrespondent).
That letter stated as follows
"The Daily News in its publication of Monday 1st November 1999, under the headline Sarath Amunugama tells BBChewillquit
U.N.P. has stated "he will definitely leave the U.N.P. if there is noproperresponsefromthePartyforhisNational
Government concept." It is further noted that there has been no denial by you as to themakingofthisstatementorthe
accuracy of the contents of the article under reference. (Copy of the article enclosed).
You have thus acted in breach of the Party Constitution, Party Discipline and contrary to the conduct requiredofaU.N.P.
Member in Parliament and the decision of the Parliamentary Group at its meeting held on 22-10-99, that nomembermakesany
statements to the media without prior approval of the Party.
I would be grateful to have your immediate explanation and response to the aforesaid to reach me not laterthanSunday7th
On the 5th of November, 1999, Dr, Amunugama responded as follows
"Without prejudice to my rights to proffer a fuller response, I wish to inform you that you have failed to inform me towhat
provisions of the Party Constitution I have contravened or what aspect of party discipline and/or the conduct requiredofa
U.N.P. Member in Parliament that I have allegedly acted in breach of. Your said letter is accordinglyvagueandincomplete
as regards material particulars. You have also failed to afford me sufficient time to respond to yoursaidletter,andin
the circumstances as I require time to not only collate information in order to respond toyoursaidletterbutalsobe
furnished with the above mentioned information, I request that you inform me of what precise provision/s I have breachedand
send me a copy of the Party Constitution and all other documents you rely on in connection therewith, and afford me atleast
a week therefrom to respond. I also wish to reiterate that I remain a member of the U.N.P."
According to the minutes of the Working Committee, the two letters tabled related to Dr.Amunugama'sactivitiesconcerning
the formation of a national government. He had asked for clarification of the charges against him.Hehadwantedtoknow
what provisions of the Party Constitution he had violated and called for a copy of the Constitution and allotherdocuments
relied upon in support of the charge, and he asked for time to submit his defence. Sometimes "A case may be ofsouncomplex
a character and the issues may be so well known to all parties concerned that no more particular notice of any charge maybe
required." Per Buckley, L.J. in Stevenson v. United Road Transport Union,(2). The case against Dr. Amunugama was complexand
the issues were far from clear. He had a legal right to know the precise charge he had to meet. The charge shouldhavebeen
distinctly stated. He was expelled for two reasons : (1) Participation inthediscussionofpolicyissuessuchasthe
formation of a national government without prior discussion of mandate oftheParty,and(2)supportingH.E.Chandrika
Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. The sole charge in the letter to Dr. Amunugama was that he had told the BBCthathewouldleave
the U.N.P. if there was no response from the Party for his National Government concept andthathehadtherebyactedin
breach of the "Party Constitution, Party Discipline and contrary to the conduct required of aU.N.P.MemberinParliament
and the decision of the Parliamentary Group at its meeting held on 22/10/1999 that no Membermakesanystatementstothe
media without prior approval of the Party. That was somewhat different to the charge relating to thematterofanational
government as set out in the letter conveying the decision to expel him.
Even assuming that he had notice of the first charge, Dr. Amunugama had no notice of the second, and thereforeasamatter
of law, he could not have been expelled. Eg. See Lau Liat Mena v.DisciplinaryCommitee,(3),wherenoticewasgivenof
proposed action on ground X but action was taken on ground Y of which no notice, or inadequate notice,hadbeengiven.In
Board of Trustees of Maradana Mosque v. Badi-ud din mahmud, Minister of Education (4), the Privy Council held that therehad
been a breach of natural justice where the Minister told the managers of a school of one allegationagainstthemtowhich
they prepared a defence but, in his decision, made it plain that he was taking over the school in reliance on a breachofa
statutory provision of which the managers had no notice at all.
Dr. Amunugama had asked for time to respond. As a matter of law, he was entitled to sufficient time to havetheopportunity
of presenting an effective answer or defence: Hanson v. ChurchCommissionersforEngland,(5) Rv.ThamesMagistrates'
Court, ex p. Polemis( )R v. Pharmaceutical Services Committee, ex p. Gorden D. Conway Ltd.(7)Morrisv.Lawrence(8).He
received no response whatever to his letter whether on the question of time or theothermattersraisedbyhim.Inthe
circumstances, did his failure to respond to the charge made against him, namely of supporting or sponsoring theconceptof
a national government, before the meeting held on the 8th of November make him guilty ofconductwarrantingexpulsion,or
for that matter any other form of discipline, on the 8th of November? The `show- cause' letter hadbeendatedthe3rdof
November 1999. According to paragraph 02 of the U.N.P. Guidelines, a periodofseven/tendaysshouldbeallowedfora
member's explanation. In any event, if the Working Committee was on the8thofNovember1999actingasadisciplinary
committee, Dr. Amunugama was not invited to that meeting.
Mr. Nanda Matthew (the petitioner in (E) 5/99) and Mr. Susil Moonesinghe (the petitioner in (E) 7/99) were invited toattend
the meeting of the Working Commitee as Members of that Committee, but without any intimation that the agenda ofthemeeting
included disciplinary action againstthem.Theydidnotattendthemeetingduetopriorengagements.Indeed,the
disciplinary proceedings are reported in the minutes of the meeting underthecaption"PresidentialElection1999".Mr.
Wijepala Mendis and Mr. Chula Bandara, not being members of the Working Committee, were not invitedtoattendthemeeting
and did not have even a remotely possible, albeit inadequate, opportunity of defending themselves.
Both Dr. Amunugama as well as the other petitioners ought, in my view, to have had areasonableopportunityofpresenting
their cases and making representations on their own behalf. See per Tucker L.J. in Russellv.DukeNorfolk,(9).Thiswas
distinctly contemplated by the Party Guidelines. Procedural fairness generally requires that persons liabletobedirectly
affected by a decision of a person or a body of persons be given adequate notice of what is proposed so that they maybein
a position to make representations on their own behalf. This has been described as a proposition ofcommonsense.Seeper
Lord Mustill in R. u. Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex p. Doody,(10).
The petitioners' averments that no explanations were called for, no charge-sheets were served, no notice ofthedate,time
and place of inquiry were given, and that the petitioners were not called upon to attend the inquiry, werenotdisputedat
the inquiry by this Court. In fact, the petitioners had no opportunity for contradicting, correcting orexplaininganything
prejudicial to their views. They were expelled summarily.
On the face of the evidence on record. I hold that theavermentthatthePartyGuidelinesinrespectofdisciplinary
inquiries were not observed has been established.
In deciding to expel the petitioners there was a failure on the partoftherespondentstofollowtheusual,salutary
procedural steps laid down by the political party to which the petitioners belonged. The Guidelines of thePartyprescribed
a process for disciplinary action to ensure fairness, and as a condition of membership it was to be expected thattheusual
process would be duly followed.
In the absence of proof of circumstances permitting such failure, the failure to. follow theprescribedproceduresofthe
political party of the petitioners would ordinarily, makeanexpulsioninvalidsince,asfarasthepetitionersare
concerned, it is unlawful, null and void and of no force or avail in fact orin law. Premaratnev.SrimaniAthulathmudali
and Others, (11)Cf. Ridge v. Baldwin,(12)A-G., .v.Ryan,(13) PaulJackson,NaturalJustice,1979,p.194.The
respondents ought not to have condemned the petitioners without giving them an opportunityofbeingheard.intheirown
defence. Cf. Abbott v. Sullivan,(14).
The petitioners allege that their expulsions were also invalid because the respondent failed to complywiththeprinciples
of "natural Justice." "Natural Justice" is an ambiguous phrase, and consigned from time to time to the lumber room as aterm
"sadly lacking in precision". E.g. see Paul Jackson, op. cit., pp. 1-22Those who decline to accept any form ofjusticeas
natural may take their choice from a wide range of alternative phrases,including,"substantialjustice","fairplayin
action", "fair play written large and juridically". De Smith, Woolf and Jowell, JudicialReviewofAdministrativeAction,
(1995), pp. 377-378. Whatever the uncertainty inherent in the phrase, "natural justice" connotes, above all, themaximaudi
What is the fuss about natural justice and the right to a fair hearing about? The right to a hearing has been acceptedasa
basic principle in many civilizations and over many years. In Greece, the requirement of hearing both sidesbeforereaching
a conclusion formed a part of the Athenian judicial oath and is referred to by Aristophanes, Euripedes andDemosthenes.The
Greeks inscribed the precept that no man was to be judged unheard upon images in places where justice wasadministered.The
Romans too accepted the principle. Seneca in Medeareferred to the injustice of reaching a decision without a fullhearing-
Qui statuit aliquid parte inaudita altera,aequum,licetstatuerit,haudaequusfuerit andtheDigestcontaineda
prohibition on a paterfamilias killing his son without a hearing. As mightbeexpected,inSriLankatoomatterswere
adjudicated after hearing both sides: "ubhaya paksayen ma adyanta asa ganna dadekda',saystheSaddharmarathnavaliya365.
Only Rhadamanthus, the cruel judge of Hell, it seems punished before he heard.
Indeed, having regard to the widespread acceptance of that basic principle, G. Del Vecchio inJusticewentsofarasto
suggest that it belongs "rather to the common consciousness ofmankindthantojuridicalscience."Therulehasbeen
described as being of "universal application and founded on the plainest principles of justice". Per wiles, J. inCooperv.
Wandsworth Board of Works,(15). (On the historical development of the concept of "natural justice", seedeSmith,Woolf&
Jowell, op. cit. pp. 377-399H.W.R. Wade & C.F. Forsyth, Administrative Law, (1995) pp. 497-578).
As far as the law is concerned, we have in Sri Lanka in this area closely followed the commonlawwhich,fromveryearly
times, recognized the right to a fair hearing. In R. v. Chancellor of theUniversityofCambridge,(16),supportforthe
right to a hearing was based by Fortescue J. on the events in the Garden of Eden"I remember to have heard it observed bya
very learned man upon such an occasion, that even God himself did not pass sentence upon Adam, before he was calleduponto
make his defence. `Adam', says God, `where art thou'? 'Hast thou not eaten of the tree, whereof I commandedtheethatthou
shouldst not eat?' And the same question was put to Eve also".
Throughout the nineteenth century the English courts freely, and sometimes vigorously, imputed an obligation toobservethe
rule. Two dicta of Lord Denman illustrate the importance attached to the right to a fair hearing during thatera."Norule
is more invariable than that a person shall not be prejudiced in any manner without being heard."R.v.JusticesofWest
Riding of Yorkshire, ex p. Thornton,(17). "It is implied by nature justice ... that no one ought to suffer any prejudice...
without having first an opportunity of defending himself." R v. Wilson,(18).
The rule was not confined to the conduct of strictly legal tribunals but was said to be"applicabletoeverytribunalor
body of persons invested with authority to adjudicate upon matters involving civil consequencestolitigants."PerKelly,
C.B. in Wood v. Wood,(19).
The rule continued to be liberally applied in the early part of thetwentiethcentury.ThusLordLoreburninBoardof
Education v. Rice,(20), said that to "act in good faith and fairly listen to both sides ... is adutylyinguponeveryone
who decides anything."
Commencing perhaps with R v. Leman Street Police Station Inspector, exp.Venicof,(21),theaudialterampartemrule
suffered debilitation, at first, partly on account of the exigencies of unsettled wartimeconditions.Buttheclimateof
judicial opinion persisted even after hostilitieshadended.Eventually,itenteredwhathasbeendescribedasits
"twilight" years. And that era was influenced by the decision in Nakkuda Ali v. Jayaratne,(22), in which itwasdecidedby
the Privy Council that a Ceylon trader could be deprived of his tradinglicencewithoutanytrialorhearing,although
Judges of the Supreme Court of Ceylon (as Sri Lanka was then known) were, in general, firmly committed totheprincipleof
hearing the other side.
Since the House of Lords case in Ridge v. Baldwin, (supra), the courts have so energetically extendedfrontiersofnatural
justice that Megarry, J. was impelled to recommend that its principles"mustbeconfinedwithinproperlimitsandnot
allowed to run wild." Hounslow L.B.C. v. Twickenham Garden Developments,(23).
Today, in certain circumstances, natural justice may not always involvearighttoafairhearing.E.G.R.v.Aston
University Senate, exp. Roffey,(24), per Donaldson, J. and, as we shall see, the respondents in this inquiry relyuponthat
position. Yet it must be noted that the rule of law requires some form of due process designed toascertainthetruthand
that the precepts of natural justice insure that legal order will be impartially andregularlymaintained.JohnRawls,A
Theory of justice, (1972), p. 239. It must also be noted that fair proceedings aim not merely at suchinstrumentalendsas
accuracy but that they are also a constituent element of the legal and democraticprocesswhichshouldtreatindividuals
with concern and respect. De Smith, Woolf & Jowell, p. 376, note 2.
I have briefly set out the ground lying behind the issues pertaining to the matters before me, particularly the audialteram
partem rule, so that what follows may be better understood. The respondents do not deny the importanceoftherule their
case is that, in the circumstances of the matters before us, the petitioners were not entitledtoahearing,Tworeasons
were given: (1) Uselessness and (2) urgency.
I am unable to accept the submissions of learned counsel for the respondents that a hearing wouldhavebeen"useless"for
A hearing was not useless, for a hearing before the offending decision of expulsion might have assuaged thepaincausedto
the petitioners as well as their families, friends and supporters. As Megarry, V.C. observed inJohnv.Rees,(25):"Those
with any knowledge of human nature who pause to think for amoment(arenot)likelytounderestimatethefeelingsof
resentment of those who find that a decision against them has been made withouttheirbeingaffordedanyopportunityto
influence the course of events."
Wade & Forsyth, op. cit. p. 526, point out that "in principle it is vital that the procedure and the meritsshouldbekept
strictly apart, since otherwise the merits may be prejudged unfairly." The observations of LordWrightinGeneralMedical
Council v. Spackman,(26) (cited later in my judgement), are quoted in support. "If theprinciplesofnaturaljusticeare
violated in respect of any decision it is, indeed, immaterial whether the same decision would have beenarrivedatinthe
absence of the departure from the essential principles of justice. The decision must be declared to be no decision."
I should also refer to the following observations of de Smith, Woolf & Jowell at p. 500: "The Courts haverightlycautioned
against the suggestion that no prejudice has been caused to the applicant because the flawed decision wouldinevitablyhave
been the same. It is not for the Courts to substitute their opinion for that of the authority constituted bylawtodecide
the matters in question."
The respondents maintained that a fair hearing would have been futile. It wouldhavemadenodifferencetotheresult.
Numerous newspaper reports relating to events before the expulsion wereread,itwassaidbylearnedcounselforthe
respondents - to establish the guilt of the petitioners - and after the expulsion - "tothrowlight"onthepetitioner's
intentions and "corroborate" the evidence available against them when the decision to expel them was taken.Learnedcounsel
for the respondents submitted that therewasclearandsufficientevidencethatthepetitionerssupportedcandidate
President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, although the U.N.P., of which the petitioners were members, hadnominatedits
leader, Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe, to oppose President Chandrika BandaranaikeKumaratungaattheforthcomingPresidential
Election. It was pointed out that the petitioners were expelled for violating Article 3.3 of theU.N.P.Constitutionwhich
"In accepting membership a person agrees
(a) To accept the principles, policy and code of conduct of the Party.
(b) To conform to the Constitution, Rules and Standing Orders of the Party.
(c) To give all possible support to the candidates nominated by the Party and in no way to support any other person standing
against such candidates ...
(d) Not to take part in any political or other activities which conflict or might conflict with the above undertakings and
not to bring the Party into disrepute.
The respondents submitted that the crucial issue was not the question of a national government,whichthepetitionershad
stressed at the inquiry before this Court, but the fact thatthe petitioners had pledged theirsupportfor,andinfact
supported, a person who was standing against the leaderoftheU.N.P.whohadbeennominatedbytheU.N.P.Inthe
circumstances, even if the petitioners had been formally charged, noticed to appear andheard,therecouldhavebeenno
defence to the charge and there was nothing that could have altered the decision arrived at bytheWorkingCommittee.The
principles of natural justice would have been of no avail. A hearing would have been useless.
Procedural objections may be made by unmeritorious parties and relief may sometimes be refused because a fairhearingcould
have made no difference to the result. However, experience shows thatunanswerablecharges,may,iftheopportunitybe
given, be answeredinexplicable conduct may be explained. Wade & Forsyth, op. cit.,p.527 Jackson,op.cit.p.137.
Megarry, J. in John v. Rees, (supra), followed with approval by this Court in Ramamoorthy and Rameshwaran v.DouglasDevana
and others,(27), and in Gamini Dissanayake v. M.C.M. Kaleel and Others, (supra), observed as follows
"When something is obvious, it may be said, `why force everybody to gothroughthetiresomewasteoftimeinvolvedin
framing charges and giving an opportunity to be heard? The result is obvious from the start.' Those whotakethisviewdo
not, I think, do themselves justice. As everybody who has anything to do with the law well knows, thepathofthelawis
strewn with examples of open and shut cases which, somehow, were notof unanswerablechargeswhich,intheevent,were
completely answered, of inexplicable conduct which was fully explainedof fixedandunalterabledeterminationsthat,by
discussion, suffered a change."
The matters before us, could hardly be described as "open and shut" cases. I am in agreement withlearnedcounselforthe
respondents that this Court should not act in vain and waste its time by insistingonuselessformalities.Yetinthese
matters the Court was not concerned with useless formalities.
For instance, The only charge Dr. Amunugama had been called upon to answer was, as we have seen, that he had madestatements
to the press about the formation of a national government. However, he was expelled on other grounds.
Mr. Bandara, the petitioner in (E) 08/99 states that he did go to the official residenceofthePresident,butthathis
visit was brief - because he had to be in the Court of Appeal - and that his participation was limited toansweringacall
to explore the possibility of the formation of a national government rather than supporting a rival candidate.
Certain petitioners reject some of the newspaper reports as not being attributable to them. Other petitioners laystresson
the need to have a national, rather than a partisan approach, to questions of national significance.Mr.Pelpoladescribed
the national government idea as a "hoax", a "camouflage", disguising therealintentionofthepetitioners,namely,to
oppose the candidate nominated by the U.N.P. However, the stated grounds of dismissalweretwoseparatecharges,namely,
that (1) at a meeting with President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and several of her party colleagues, thepetitioners
had signified their intentions and willingness to support the President who was arivalcandidatetotheleaderofthe
U.N.P., Mr. Ranil Wickramasingheand (2) that the petitioners had "participated in discussion of policy issues suchasthe
formation of a national government without prior discussion or mandate of the Party."
What was the truth? The petitioners claim they had something to say with regard to theirmeetingtherivalcandidateand
even supporting her on the question of a national government. The flawed decisions may or may not have necessarilybeenthe
same had the petitioners been heard: Perhaps, after hearing the petitioners fairly, the respondents may haveconcludedthat
all that talk about a national government was a sham, and the result may have been the same. Yet, in my view,thatdecision
was not arrivedat fairly and must therefore be set aside.LordWrightsaidinGeneralMedicalCouncilv.Spackman,
(supra)Cf. Anamunthundo v. Oilfields Workers Trade Union,(28), "If theprinciplesofnaturaljusticeareviolatedin
respect of any decision, it is indeed immaterial whether the same decision would have been arrived at in the absenceofthe
essential principles of justice. The decision must be declared to be no decision." I must make it clear that I am not inthe
process of substituting my opinion for that of the Working Committee of the U.N.P. It is not for me todoso.E.g.seeper
Lord Hailsham in Chief Constable of Police v. Evans,(20)see alsoperLordBrightaman,1173.SeealsoJohnv.Rees,
(supra)R v. Secretary of State for the Environment ex p. Brent L.B. C.,(30)R v. Secretary of State for Education,exp.
Prior,(31) per Brooke, J.
If the petitioners deserved to be expelled, and justice had been done, in making their decision, was justice also seen tobe
done? The petitioners complain that the principles of natural justice have been violated. Natural justice isnotalwaysor
entirely about the fact or substance of fairness. It has also something to do with theappearanceoffairness.DeSmith,
Woolf & Jowell, op. cit., p. 500. Public confidence in the settlement of disputes requires that even in so called"openand
shut" cases the principles of natural justice must be observed so as to ensure not only that justice was donebutalso,to
use the time hallowed phrase used by Lord Hewart C.J. in R. v. Sussex JJ, ex p. McCarthy,(32), that it should be"manifestly
and undoubtedly be seen to be done." See also per Donaldson, J. in Altco Ltd v. Sutherland,(33).
Lord Widgery C.J. in R. v. Thames Magistrates' Court, ex p. Polemis, (supra), 1375, said: "It is againabsolutelybasicto
our system that justice must not only be done but must manifestly be seen to be done. If justice was so clearly notseento
be done, as on the afternoon in question here, it seems to me that it is no answer to the applicant to say:'Well,evenif
the case had been properly conducted, the result would have been the same.' That is mixing up doing justice with seeingthat
justice is done." Lawton L.J. in Maxwell v. Department of Trade,(34)
said: "Doing what is right may still result in unfairness if it is done in the wrong way."
The U.N.P. is a major political party. The General Secretary of the Party was quoted as stating that itwasa"disciplined
party." In the handling of these matters, it would not, in my view, have been an useless exercisetohaveadheredtothe
principles of natural justice for the sake of preserving public confidence. In discussing the justifications for requiringa
hearing even where there appears to be no answer to acharge,Jackson,op.cit.p.137,observedthat"suspicionis
inevitable that a body which refuses a hearing before acting does: so because of the lack ofevidencenotbecauseofits
Learned counsel for the petitioners pointed out that some of the newspaper reports that were produced at theinquirybefore
the Court implicated some, but not the other petitioners. Some reports attributed certain statements tocertainpetitioners
but not the others. Moreover, some of the statements were ambiguous, and others had tounderstoodinthecontextofthe
endeavour to forge a national consensus on matters of general, public concern. Further, there werereportsofthingsthat
were not told to the reporters but were supposed to have been said to other persons. In thecircumstances,afairhearing
would have been useful to ascertain the truth and to apportion blame fairly and enable the Committeetoimposeappropriate
sanctions. Indeed the petitioners in their petitions stated thatthesanctionofexpulsionwas"excessiveandtotally
disproportionate" to their conduct.
The respondents case was that the petitioners were all in this thing together, acting collectively with one purpose inmind,
namely to oppose the U.N.P. candidate and support his rival at the election. There was a repudiationoftheconditionsof
their membership. Their conduct was tantamount to crossing the floor of the House and joining the ranks oftheotherside.
Their statements and conduct reduced the petitioners to being caught as it were in flagrant delicto and therewastherefore
no need for further inquiry.
The petitioners may have been guiltyofgravemisconduct butasStephensonJ.pointedoutinbrookv.Berkshire
Magistrates' Courts Committee,(35), "There are, after all, degrees of grave misconduct and explanations ifnotexcusesfor
In Ridge v. Baldwin, (supra) it had been decided by the trial judge that the Chief Constable had no right to be heard bythe
Watch Committee since "out of the Chief Constable's own mouth at the Central Criminal Court, for the purposes ofhistrial,
for all the world as well as the Watch Committee to hear, the plaintiff convicted himself of unfitness to hold the officeof
Chief Constable." The House of Lords, reversed the trial judge on this point because, even if the Chief Constablecouldnot
have hoped in the disciplinary proceedings to persuade the Watch Committee that he ought to be allowedtocontinueinhis
position, the committee had open to it a number of courses and, if they had heard the Chief Constable,mighthavefollowed
the most lenient course."
In the matters before me, in my view, the hearing would not have been a useless formality, for the WorkingCommitteehada
choice of sanction. It was quite unlike Scott v. Aberdeen Corporation,(36), where there was a statutory duty todismissthe
person. In that case Scott argued that the Corporation, although under a statutory duty to dismiss him, had an obligationto
give him a hearing before doing so. Lord Aronside at p. 147 in rejectingthatclaim,said:"Itcannotbeadenialof
,natural justice' to refuse a man the right to attempt to persuade those entrusted withtheadministrationofsubstantive
law to breach the law which it is their duty to uphold."
The respondents submitted that the rules of natural justice were in the circumstancesofthecaseexcludedbypractical
considerations. The election campaign was on and it was imperative that the cohesiveness of the partywassafeguarded.The
petitioners were not only expressing their open support for the rivalcandidate,theywerealsoattemptingtopersuade
others at grass rootsleveltovoteagainsttheparty.ImmediateactionwascalledforUrgencyhas,incertain
circumstances, been regarded as permitting a departure from the need to give a hearing before action is taken. Forinstance,
the right to a fair hearing may have to yield to overriding considerations of national security.CouncilofCivilService
Unions v. Minister for the Civil Service,(37). The right may also havetoyieldtoconsiderationsofpublichealthor
safety. Obviously, a hearing cannot be held about whether a firebrigade,inthecourseofafire,shoulddestroya
building. De Smith, Woolf & Jowell, op. cit.,. p. 375. A public authority may need to seize and destroy bad meat exposedfor
sale or to order the removal to hospital of a person with an infectious disease without a hearing. Ingeneral,whetherthe
need for urgent action outweighs the importance of notifying and hearing an affected party is a matter on which opinionsmay
differ. However, having regard to the decisions in which urgency has been held to be a defence, (E.g. see de Smith,Woolf&
Jowell, op. cit. pp. 482 - 488, Wade & Forsyth, op. cit., 519 - 520 and 570 et seq.) I am of the viewthattherespondents
have failed to establish that the expulsion fell within the category of extraordinary,urgentcircumstancesrecognizedby
courts of law.
The content of fair procedures is flexible. As Lord Bridge has put it: "theso-calledrulesofnaturaljusticearenot
engraved on tablets of stone." Lloyd v. McMahon,(38). "The principles of fairness are not to beappliedbyroteinevery
situation. What fairness demands depends on the context of the decision". Lord Mustill in R v. SecretaryofStateforthe
Home Department, exp. Doody ,(supra).Admittedly,theopportunityofafairhearingmayhavebeenlimitedinthe
circumstances. For instance, the time for responding to a charge sheet, or making submissions may havehadtobereduced.
Yet, the petitioners were entitled to be told what they werechargedwithandaffordedsomeopportunityofexplaining
themselves. The petitioners were Members of Parliament and expulsion could have led to losing their seats. Theverygravity
of the matter required that at least a limited hearing was given to the petitioners before adecisionwastakentoexpel
Lord Upjohn in Durayappah v. Fernando,(39), observed that ". . . while greaturgencymayrightlylimitsuchopportunity
timeously, perhaps severely, there can never be a denial of thatopportunityiftheprinciplesofnaturaljusticeare
applicable." Although the need to act swiftly may modify or limit what natural justice requires, it must nottobethought
'that because rough, swift or imperfect justice only is available that there ought to be nojustice':Prattv.Wanganui
Education Board, (40) per Somers, J.": Jackson op. cit., p. 136.
The summary dismissals were intrinsically unfair even though they may have been fully justified off Early Slater andWheeler
(Airlyne) Ltd.,(14). In my view, there was no justification for the failure of the respondents to observe theprinciplesof
natural justice and grant the petitioners a hearing before they were expelled. I therefore determine that theexpulsionsof
the petitioners were void and of no force or effect in law and therefore, for the purposesofArticle99(13)(a)ofthe
Mr. Aziz submitted that, if the Court determines that the expulsions were invalid becauseofthefailuretoobservethe
rules of natural justice, it was obliged to decide whether on the merits the expulsions were valid. He relied principallyon
certain observations of Fernando, J. in Gamini Dissanayake v. Kaleel and Others, (supra). In that case, it was admittedthat
the petitioners were neither informed of the allegations and the evidence against them, nor afforded anopportunity(i)to
submit an explanation (ii) to be heard in their defence or (iii) to make any submissions on the lawandthefacts,asto
whether misconduct warranting disciplinary action had been proved, and, if so, whether a lesser penaltythanexpulsionwas
necessary. Therefore there was a violation of the audi alteram partem rule.
However, Fernando, J. at p. 198 stated as follows: "Our jurisdiction under Article99(13)(a)isnotaformofjudicial
review, or even appeal, but rather an original jurisdiction analagous to an action for a declaration, thoughitisclearly
not a re-hearing. Are we concerned only with the decision-making process, or must we also lookatthedecisionitselfto
decide whether the expulsion was valid or invalid . . . Had these proceedings been purely by way of judicial review itmay
well be that we would have to shut our eyes to the merits of the decision, and look only at the decision making process..
." Fernando, J. went on to hold that the expulsion of six of the petitioners was invalid but that theexpulsionoftwoof
them was valid. In the same case, the majority held that the expulsions of all the petitioners were valid.
Kulatunga, J. (with whom Wadugodapitiya, J. agreed) stated at p. 242 that "since the petitioners hadnotbeenpreparedto
submit themselves to the party councils, then, there is no force in their complaint that the Working Committee had failedto
give them a hearing. I hold that the Working Committeeactedfairlyandreasonablyintakingdisciplinaryproceedings
against the petitioners in the way it did.
Kulatunga, J. went into the merits of the case and concluded at p. 246 that "the remedyofexpulsionbefitsthemischief
unleashed by the petitioners".
However, Kulatunga, J. seems to suggest that it is not in every case that the Court should go into the merits. At p. 234His
Lordship said: "The right of a M.P. to relief under Article 99(13)(a) is a legal right and forms part ofhisconstitutional
rights as a M.P. If his complaint is that he has been expelled from the membership of his party in breachoftherulesof
natural justice, he will ordinarily be entitled to relief,, and this Court may notdeterminesuchexpulsiontobevalid
unless there are overwhelming reasonswarrantingsuchdecision.Suchdecisionwouldbecompetentonlyinthemost
exceptional circumstances permitted by law and in furtherance of the public good the need for which should be beyonddoubt."
If there is any doubt about such matters, "the expulsion will be struck down."
In Tilak Karunanaratne v. Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike and Others,(42), the petitioner, a Member ofParliament,wasexpelled
from his party on a decision of the Executive Commit tee of the party to whichherefusedtosubmit.Hechallengedhis
expulsion in terms of Article 99(13)(a) of the Constitution.Dheeraratne,J.atp.115statedthat,inviewofthe
conclusion His Lordship had reached, namely that "thepetitioner'simpugnedstatementsarejustified"inthathewas
exercising his Constitutional rights of freedom of speechandassociation,itwas"unnecessary"todealwithcertain
questions, including a "failure to observe principles of natural justice in the decisionmakingprocess."Dheeraratne,J.
(Wijetunga, J. agreeing) held that the expulsion of the petitioner was invalid. DheeraratneJ.saidatpp.101-102that
Article 99(13) (a) conferred an original jurisdiction on the Court empowering it to go into the merits and shield Membersof
Parliament from being "unlawfully and/or capriciously"expelledfromtheirparties.HisLordshipdidnotacceptthe
submission of learned counsel, Mr. H.L. de Silva, P.C., thatinvestigationsbytheCourtshouldberestrictedtothe
question whether proper procedures had been followed, lestjudgesmightfindthemselveswanderingintothe"political
thicket", and cited with approval the observations ofFernando,J.quotedaboveinDissanayakeonthatquestion.In
Karunanayake, (supra), Ramanathan, J. at p. 117, rejected the proposition that the business of the Court in theexerciseof
its jurisdiction under Article 99(13)(a) of the Constitution extends to deciding whetheranexpulsionisrightorwrong
after deciding whether a fair procedure had been followed.
In Ramamoorthy's case, (supra), the Court (G.P.S. de Silva, C.J., Wijetunga and Shirani Bandaranayake, JJ.) did not referto
the observations of Fernando, J. in Dissanayake, but held that the expulsions were invalid, without going into the meritsof
the decision that was challenged, quoting with approval the observations of Kulatunga, J. in Dissanayake referredtoabove.
The Court at p. 287 held that the "weighty, considerations" in Dissanayake did notexistinthematterbeforethemand
therefore "strict compliance with the audi aleram partern rule was a precondition to a valid expulsion from the party."
In Premaratne v. Srimani Athulathmudali and Others, (supra), the Court (Amerasinghe,Wadugodapitiya,andS.N.Silva,JJ)
held that the expulsion was invalid and did not proceed to decide on the reasonableness or rationality of the decision.
Assuming without deciding that I may go into the quality of the decision, I would not do so in this case for atleastthree
reasons: (1) The evidence is incompletethe respondents have not furnished the Courtwiththeevidencerelatingtothe
radio and television broadcasts they relied on for their decisionNor were the reports saidtohavebeentabledatthe
meeting of the Working Committee identified, if they were among the reports tabled at this inquiry (2)unlikeDissanayake
(see pp. 142 and 242) the facts in the matters before me are in dispute(3) thereareno"weightyconsiderations"which
compel me to advance beyond the realm of procedural justice, and therefore I should follow the course of action suggestedby
Kulatunga, J. in Dissanayake and taken by the Court in Ramarnoorthy. I hold the decision toexpelthepetitionersinvalid
for want of procedural propriety.
For the purposes of Article 99(13) (a) of the Constitution, for the reasons giveninmyjudgment,Ideterminethatthe
expulsions by the respondents of Sarath Amunugama, Nanda Mathew, Wijayapala Mendis, Susil Kumar Moonesinghe and R.M.R.Chula
Bandara were invalid.
In all the circumstances, I make no order as to costs.
BANDARANATAKE, J. - I agree.
ISMAIL, J. - I agree.
Expulsions of the petitioners from the party determined invalid.