ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday February 24, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 39

Three contenders vie for BASL presidency

The 8,500-plus-strong Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) will go to polls next Friday (February 29) to elect its next president and secretary. Incumbent President Nihal Jayamanne ,PC, steps down on March 31 this year after serving his two terms.Three senior lawyers -- Upul Jayasuriya, President of the Colombo Law Society, W. Dayaratne and V. Thangaraja -- are in the running to become the next president of the apex body of the country's lawyers.

Jayasuriya Dayaratne Thangarajah

Udaya Rohan de Silva and A.U.P. Ranawaka are contesting for the post of secretary. Mr. Jayasuriya, a former state counsel, has said if he is elected, he will address the hardships faced by junior lawyers and lady lawyers and work towards providing lawyers access to disciplinary inquiries of the Public Service Commission. He has also said he will campaign for lawyers’ right to sit the Sri Lanka Administrative Service examinations.

Mr. Jayasuriya has said he will demand that lawyers be granted the same facilities provided to other professionals in the government service in the import of duty-free vehicles. He has said he will seek the reintroduction of the Court monitoring committees to ensure lawyers and judges have an effective working relationship.

Mr. Dayaratne has pledged to improve infrastructure facilities for lawyers and provide easy housing and vehicle loans for them through banks. He has also said he will provide internet facilities to lawyers in the provinces. He has proposed the setting up of a committee of the BASL to study parliamentary bills which impact on the administration of justice, the independence of and the interests of the lawyers, and relate to matters of public interest. He says he will also set up a committee of reputed lawyers to deal with disputes among lawyers and state agencies or public institutions.

Mr. Thangarajah was a former candidate for the parliamentary elections for the Jaffna district as an independent candidate and is the grandson of former GA to Jaffna Yogenthra Thuraisamy. Mr. Thangarajah had been practising in Jaffna for 25 years before he began his practice in Colombo ten years ago.

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