May 19, 2005

Court backs interim committee and status quo

Mr. Raveen Wickramaratne former Assistant Secretary of the suspended Sri Lanka Cricket filed action in the court of appeal in case No. 658/2005 challenging the regulations made under section 41 read with section 33 of the sports law act No. 25 of 1973 and also sought interim relief to suspend the said regulations until the final determination of such case.

Upon a preliminary objection taken by Mr. C R de Silva President's Counsel, Solicitor General the court indicated that they were inclined to dismiss the application. Thereafter the petitioner sought to withdraw the application and the said application pro-forma dismissed on 28/04/2005.

Mr. Raveen Wickramratne filed another application in case No. CA 688/2005 on the same grounds and seeking same relief as of case No.658/2005. However in addition to the Minister of Sports & Youth Affairs and the Secretary, the Interim Committee appointed by the Minister as respondents to the said action. When the petitioner sought to support this application before the court of appeal on 03.05.05 for interim relief the counsel appearing for Minister of Sports & Youth Affairs and the Interim Committee objected to it.

On 03.05.05 the Interim Committee took over the control of the Head Quarters of Sri Lanka Cricket to carryout their mandate under the law. The Interim Committee by virtue of their appointment of section 33 under the said sports law was mandated and was obliged to continue the functions of suspended Sri Lanka Cricket. Accordingly as a necessary step in meeting such obligations the Interim Committee took over the management of the Sri Lanka Cricket Head Quarters in the afternoon of 03.05.05.

When the court of appeal case resumed arguments on the Interim order on 04.05.05 Mr. Raveen Wickramaratne the petitioner of case CA 688/2005 complained to court that the members of the Interim Committee has illegally taken over the immoveable property of Sri Lanka Cricket and sought an order from court directing the respondents to maintain status quo as at 03.05.05 morning. However the court having heard the submissions made by the counsel for the petitioner, the Minister and the Interim Committee refused to grant such an order but ordered that all parties should maintain status quo as at 11.30 am of 04.05.05 Accordingly the Interim Committee continued to function at the Sri Lanka Cricket Head quarters and continued the functions of suspended Sri Lanka Cricket.

The court reserved order on the Interim relief that is to decide whether to suspend the regulations made by the Hon. Minister of Sports & Youth Affairs by gazette notification of 1389/24 dated 21.04.05. The court reserved judgment and postponed the case to 19.05.05.

Their Lordships Justice Sripavan and Justice Basnayake delivered order refusing to grant Interim relief as prayed for in court of appeal application 688/05 by Mr. Raveen Wickramaratne but made order that as per the order made on 04.05.05 both parties should maintain status quo as at 04.05.05until the final determination of the said application. Court also issued notice on the respondents and the notice returnable on 08.07.05 on which date the court may grant a date for objections by the respondents. Mr. Faiz Mustafa President's Counsel with Uditha Egalahewa instructed by D G Arulpragasam appeared for the Interim Committee and Mr. C R De Silva Solicitor General P C with Mr. Neril Pulle appeared for the Minister

Interim Committee is pleased to announce that the members of the committee is lawfully in control of the functions of suspended Sri Lanka Cricket and will continue to exercise the mandate given to them under the law.

We sincerely hope that all cricket-loving citizens of the country as well as in the International bodies will assist us in performing our functions under the law.

We are also pleased to announce that ICC has recognized the functioning of the Interim Committee and we have the blessing of many other International organizations as well.