The Supreme Court yesterday issued a rule for the removal of a lawyer from the position of Attorney-at-Law after he was found guilty of forgery in attesting a deed.

The Registrar of the Kandy High Court, in terms of Section 42(4) of the Judicature Act, had communicated to the Registrar of the Supreme Court alleging that attorney-at-law Mahinda Ratnayake was sentenced by the High Court after it found him guilty of four counts on which he stood indicted. A fine of five hundred rupees had been imposed on one count, and he had been sentenced to a term of one-year rigorous imprisonment for three counts.

It was alleged that the respondent’s attorney-at-law fraudulently conspired to attest a deed in 1999 and made a false statement in attesting the said deed. It was further alleged that the respondent had acted in breach of the rules set out in Section 31 of the Notaries Ordinance. Thereby, he had conducted himself in a manner that would reasonably be regarded as disgraceful by attorneys-at-law of good repute and competency, as well as in a manner that is regarded as deplorable by fellow members of the profession. The rule had been issued for breaching Rule 60 of the Supreme Court (Conduct and Etiquette for Attorneys-at-Law) Rules, 1988, as well as Rule 61 of the said Rules, as he had conducted himself in a manner that is unworthy of an attorney-at-law.

During the Supreme Court inquiry, the respondent pleaded guilty to the charges by way of an affidavit.

The Supreme Court’s three-judge bench, comprising Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, Justice S. Thurairaja, and Mahinda Samayawardana, held that the rule made against the respondent is absolute. Accordingly, the Supreme Court issued a rule ordering the respondent lawyer’s name to be struck off the Roll of Attorneys-at-Law.