V. W. Kularatne - J.P. U.M.

One year has passed since the demise of Mr. Vincent Wimaladharma Kularatne - a senior and leading lawyer, constitutional expert, legislator, educationist, and exemplary politician who engaged in politics on principles, a versatile speaker and writer and last not the least a patriotic who loved his motherland more than anything.

Late Mr. Kularatne was very much involved in the Education field of Sri Lanka and relentlessly fought for the rights of rural students. He was a member of the Board of Regents of Vidyalankara University and in 1974 was a member of the Royal Commission appointed by H.E. President William Gopallawa to inquire into the affairs of the Peradeniya University. But the most controversial and historical involvement was the one-man Vidyalankara Ragging Commission.

The report was a bombshell whereby 12 students were expelled and 3 others were suspended and most importantly four officials were penalised for not taking action to prevent the ragging for the first time in the history.

The newspapers were screaming with headlines and the Observer poster read "SEX ORGIES IN CAMPUS". The Minister of Education stated in Parliament that the Universities Act will be radically modified considering the far reaching recommendations of Kularatne Commission. Unfortunately it was not fully implemented otherwise we would have not heard about cruel ragging incidents which took place in universities later on and existing still.

In the education field he worked very closely with Dr. Premadasa Udagama, Mr. Bogoda Premaratne, Prof. Stanely Kalpage etc.

Mr. Kularatne was attracted by the policies of late Mr. S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, and entered active politics when the late Mr. T. B. Ilangaratne contested the Kandy electorate. Very soon he became an integral part of the SLFP and by the time late Mrs. Bandaranaike become the Prime Minister he was one of the advisors. He became the President of the SLFP Lawyers’ Association and the Senior Vice President of the SLFP. Late Mrs. Bandaranaike has so much faith in him that she would not release any statement to the media without Mr. Kularatne’s approval and all statements were prepared at Mr. Kularatne’s office.

When the Group of 13 led by Maithripala Senanayaka and Anura Bandaranaike broke away from the SLFP and with the assistance of J.R. sealed the party head office and were thriving to gain the ‘hand’ symbol and boasting to be the official SLFP, Mr. Kularatne along with late Hector Kobbekaduwa, T. B. Ilangaratne and Vijaya Kumaranatunge fearlessly stood by Mrs. Bandaranaike and won the legal battle.

During the post 1977 period when the UNP led government’s horror and terror was unleashed in full force against the opposition Mr. Kularatne fearlessly and leaving his own life at stake took upon the challenge of being the Chief Organiser of Kelaniya (dominated mainly by Cyril Mathew) and also led many election battles including the Katana and Mahara elections where late Vijaya Kumaranatunge was the unfortunate candidate on both occasions.

The Katana Election was won by the UNP purely on thuggery and the Mahara Election just because of the Presidential immune which J.R used fully to defeat his opponents time and again.

When late Hector Kobbekaduwa contested the Presidential election once again there were certain elements within the party sabotaging the election campaign and funds were not forthcoming. Mr. Kularatne along with Vijaya Kumaranatunge utilising their own funds led the campaign even visiting Jaffna where Kobbekaduwa obtained a massive voting leaving J.R. behind him despite an eminent Tamil politician contesting the election.

It was one instance in the recent history where the Tamils of the North showed their faith and confidence in a politician from the South.

Throughout his political career he never gained anything from the party but always spent his own money for the party and being a fine orator with an unwavering memory Mr. Kularatne was one of the main speakers in both SLFP and SLMP platforms.

He was associated with late Mr. Hector Kobbekaduwa in formulating the Land Reform Law which is hailed as the most progressive piece of legislation introduced so far in the history of Sri Lanka.

`95 Vice President of Sinhala Tharuna Sanvidhanaya

`95 Member of the Penal of Lawyers of Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation

`95 Chairman of many Committees appointed to look into the affairs of Business Establishment taken over under the Business Acquisition Act.

`95 Vice President of Soviet Sri Lanka Friendship League and President of the Soviet Sri Lanka Lawyers’ Friendship League.

Apart from the above activities he had an interest and has very close relationship with renowned authors and writers such as late Gunadasa Liyanage, late Karunasena Jayalath, late Sugathapala de Silva (being a school mate) Gunadasa Amarasekera, Kumaradasa Jayasekera and many others.

Mr. Kularatne wrote many articles to the newspapers on many subjects including University Education, Constitutional crisis etc., which are worth preserving and would be of immense importance to anyone who is interested in those subjects.

V. W. Kularatne Associates