He did not bow down and we bow to his memory
Speech made by Nihal Jayamanne PC, President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka at the Bar Council meeting held on August 28 at the Bar Council Auditorium at a special reference to K.C. Kamalasabeyson PC – former Attorney General.
This morning The Bar Association of Sri Lanka remembers and honours the memory of a good and honest gentleman K.C. Kamalasabeyson PC, the former Attorney-General of Sri Lanka.
The constitution of the BASL reserves a special place to two gentlemen of the Official Bar. The Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General.
The Solicitor General is the Receiving Officer at the Election of the President and the Secretary of the BASL.
The Attorney-General traditionally presides over the proceedings of the Annual Convocation and inducts each year the newly elected President of the BASL.
Mr. Kamalasabeyson had presided over eight convocations during his long and illustrious career as the Attorney General of this country.
I myself had the honour of being inducted by him in 2006 and 2007.
Kamal and I were good friends for the last 40 years. Our friendship started at Law College where we were both Advocate Students. He was junior to me. I passed out in 1970 and he was in the last Batch of Advocates who passed out, before the fusion of the profession. In 1969 I contested the post of President of the Law Students Union and Kamal worked for me as did all the law students at that time from Trincomalee.
I won that election against N.R. Fernando, now Dr. Ranjith Fernando, a leading lawyer in the Court of Criminal Appeals.
After I became the President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka my friendship with Kamal was revitalized as we had to meet often as the heads of the unofficial and the official Bars.
We instinctively understood each other and there was a rare bond between us and that relationship helped to solve many problems.
We worked together and discussed issues of mutual concern in confidence to safeguard the integrity of the Bar and that of the process of Administration of Justice.
He and I always acted with dignity and upheld the great traditions of the Bar. At ceremonial sittings of the Supreme Court when both of us had to make speeches, we always consulted each other so as to avoid repetition.
It was important in this sad age of deteriorating standards for both of us to act sternly and diplomatically to contain the downward slide. And both of us achieved it.
Kamalasabeyson took over the office of the Attorney General at a difficult period in the history of our country. The invasion of politics and politicians into our everyday life which started in the early 1970s had grown to alarming proportions during the period of his office.
All issues were complicated and defiled by the sickening and the frightening miasma of politics.
We pay homage to Kamalasabeyson for he withstood with courage and dignity this overpowering force.
He did not bow down and we bow to the memory of that man who stood straight to the last.
I take the liberty of repeating a portion of my oration made at the funeral of my good friend Kamal.“It is not necessary for me to praise Kamal nor is it necessary for me to speak of his achievements. No doubt others will. Suffice it to state that Kamal was a very successful human being. My only regret is that this good man’s life was taken away so soon at the intellectually young age of 58 years. He could have contributed immensely to the progress of our country in so many ways, if his life was spared by destiny for at least a decade more. But then remember and have solace in the knowledge that –
The condiment in life is death.”
Gone, Gone, Gone… forever gone.
From what is,
To what never was,
But yet is,
And forever and ever shall be.
May his athma merge with that of the eternal.