Death of V. W. Kularatne

Mr. V. W. Kularatne, the well-known lawyer and one-time leading member of the SLFP and SLMP, passed away yesterday after a long illness. The funeral will be held at 3 p.m. today (Sunday) at the General Cemetery, Borella.

Kularatne entered the legal profession in 1962 after a short career in the Meteorological Department.

While working as a public servant, he followed lectures at the Law College and took his oaths in 1963. Within a year of beginning practice he was offered a partnership in a law practice establishing the firm Murugesu and Kularatne which he left after six years to practice on his own.

A well-known SLFP figure, he served as a senior vice president of that party and as president of the SLFP Lawyers Association and was also a leading campaigner for Hector Kobbekaduwa in his presidential election campaign.

In 1983, Kularatne with Messrs. T. B. Ilangaratne, Vijaya Kumaratunga, Chandrika Kumaratunga, Ossie Abeygoonasekera, Y. P. de Silva and others formed the SLMP quitting the SLFP of which he had been a long-standing and senior member.

Kularatne was a leading lawyer who resisted the demand by the breakaway faction of the Anura Bandaranaike and Maitripala Senanayake faction for the SLFP held symbol and party office and he appeared for the Sirima Bandaranaike-led SLFP in the courts and won the battle.

He also served in a commission of inquiry appointed by Governor General William Gopallawa to inquire into unrest at the Peradeniya University and was also a one-man commissioner to inquire into ragging at the Vidyalankara University.

His 1975 report to the governor general recommended banning ragging in the universities and enforcement of better security measure with wide powers to the Board of Regents. Twelve undergraduates were expelled from the university as a result of his findings and three more suspended. Four officials were penalised for their failure to take appropriate action against the ragging.

Education Minister Badi-Ud-Din Mahmud announced that the Universities Act of 1972 will be radically modified in light of the far reaching recommendations of the Kularatne Commission. Kularatne was also associated in the drafting of the Land Reform Law and headed the Board of Review of the acquisition of business undertakings by the government.