A woman who made a false complaint to the Supreme Court targeting a female lawyer over her professional conduct was ordered to pay a fine of Rs.300, 000 by the Supreme Court.
The respondent Banduala Jayasinghe, a resident of Colombo 7 was sentenced to two years of rigorous imprisonment suspended for five years for making false representations to the Supreme Court knowing them to be false and thereby attempting to mislead the Court amounts to Contempt of Court.
Supreme Court three-judge-bench comprising Justice Buwaneka Aluwihare, Justice Preethi Padman Surasena and Justice Murdu Fernando observed that the respondent had attempted to mislead the Court amounting to Contempt of Court as it is a direct interference with the administration of justice.
The respondent was further directed to tender a written apology to Attorney-at-Law Ms Niduk Perera concerning the false or baseless allegations made against her.
Justice Preethi Padman Surasena while agreeing with two other judges, delivered a separate judgment sentencing the woman to three years rigorous imprisonment.
However, the respondent would be subjected to suspended imprisonment by the majority decision of Supreme Court three-judge-bench.
On January 21, 2014, respondent Bandumali Jayasinghe by way of a letter addressed to the Chief Justice made a complaint against Attorney-at-Law Ms Niduk Perera.
The respondent alleged that her ex-husband had filed an action on February 1, 2008, seeking a divorce from her. On 15th May 2008, Niduk Perera had tendered a proxy for and on behalf of her and had also filed an answer claiming that instructions had been given by her to do so.
Bandumali Jayasinghe had asserted in the complaint that she did not know the divorce action. The respondent further said she had never met Niduk Perera nor had she ever retained the services of Niduk Perera in a divorce action.
She further alleged that Niduk Perera had tendered a forged proxy on her behalf and had filed an answer without her instructions. The respondent alleged that Nidul Perera had also permitted her ex-husband to obtain an ex-parte decree in his favour.
The Professional Purposes Committee of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka had held an extensive inquiry into the complaint made by the respondent and reported to the Supreme Court their findings by their report dated 27th January 2015.
The Committee observed that it was unable to come to a finding of any professional misconduct or breach of professional etiquette on the part of Attorney -at- Law Niduk Perera and that it could neither accept Bandumali Jayasinghe as a truthful witness nor believe in her assertions.
The Committee also recommended to the Supreme Court that no further action should be taken against Niduk Perera and that action should be taken to issue a Rule on Bandumali Jayasinghe to show cause as to why she should not be dealt with for contempt of court.
Accordingly, contempt of court action was instituted against the respondent woman to show cause as to why she should not be dealt with for an offence of contempt of the Supreme Court, punishable under Article 105 (3) of the Constitution, for intentionally or willfully making false statements to the Supreme Court However, on 15th November 2014, Bandumali Jayasinghe on the advice of her legal representatives, had withdrawn the complaint she made to the Supreme Court against Niduk Perera.
The Supreme Court observed that it was evident that the Attorney-at-Law Ms Niduk Perera had discharged her professional duties diligently and in the best interest of the Respondent, Bandumali Jayasinghe.