Former Attorney General Kamalasabayson - a multifaceted personality

Mr. K. C. Kamalasabayson, President’s Counsel and former Attorney-General who passed away one year ago (12th August 2007) was a towering figure whose name will be writ large in the annals of Sri Lanka’s legal history. His profound scholarship, his brilliance as an Attorney-General and his significant service in the spheres of legal, social, cultural and religious activities and above all his high moral character marked him out as one of the greatest Sri Lankan’s of modern times.

In fact, late Mr. Kamalasabayson was one of the most remarkable Attorneys-General who had discharged his responsibilities with unsurpassed distinction and unsullied honour. Further, he was indeed one of the most polished, persuasive and hard working Attorneys-General whose methodical and meticulous preparation of the work entrusted to him was an exercise in unbounded patience total dedication and also maximum assistance to the Bench.

When he walked into the court he knew his brief like the back of his hand and what he did not know was not worth knowing. His court craft was admirable and unmatched.

Blessed with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of energy, bubbling enthusiasm, inspiring leadership, quickness of thought, unyielding determination, dedication, high degree of discipline and profound commitment, he attained eminence as a civil lawyer.

Indeed Mr. Kamalasabayson was in every sensed of the term a Himalayan personality lofty, serene and unshakeable withstanding storms and blizzards with total and natural equanimity. Further, no field by human endeavours was left untouched by the swaying amplitude of his imagination.

Mr. Kamalasabayson’s greatness was unique. He always maintained humane qualities like simplicity, humility and humanity and willing to seek out and accept solutions. Wherever they could be found.

Mr. Kamalsabayson hailed from an illustrious family in Trincomalee and his brother late Mr. Kamalanathan was a leading criminal lawyer during his time and the remarkable success of his brother at the Bar influences Mr. Kamalasabayson to embark on a legal career.

On completion of his secondary education at S. Thomas College, Mt. Lavinia, he entered the Sri Lanka Law College and passed out as an Advocate with first class Honours in November 1971. He apprenticed under Mr. G. F. Sethukavalar and Mr. E. Balanadarajah and enrolled as an Advocate in June 1972. He joined the Attorney General’s Department as a State Counsel on 1st August 1974. Further he obtained his Masters of Laws (Public Law) at the University of Colombo and L.L.M in International Business Law from the University of London.

Mr. Kamalsabayson, on account of his hard work and efficiency was appointed as State Counsel, Senior State Counsel, Deputy Solicitor General and thereafter as Additional Solicitor General on March 1, 1996 and Solicitor General in 1998. In 1999 he was appointed as Attorney General. He appeared for the State in several extradition cases including the late Manik Sandrasagara and Benwell Case.

Furthermore, he was a visiting Lecturer and Examiner in the Sri Lanka Law College and also a visiting lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Colombo.

The most notable characteristics of Mr. Kamalasabayson as Attorney General have been the thoroughness and great stability and agility of mind. He was always friendly and fought clean. Judges felt safe with him since they knew that he would never mislead them to score a point. Had a clear legal mind and never strayed with irrelevancies. He was a friend, philosopher and guide to members of the younger generation.

He was a shining symbol of all that is best and noblest. Above all, he was a man of God who did all his work with devotion and ceaselessly strove to live in the presence of God and surrender to His will.

Mr. Kamalasabayson was always of the view that noble means, noble ideas noble actions would certainly have noble consequences.

If is very often said that "behind the success of every man there is a women." His wife Ramani was a source of encouragement and a tower of strength in all his endeavours.

She found happiness only in his happiness.

Further, the Incorporated Council of Legal Education should be commended for the generous gesture on their part for having agreed to grant an annual award in memory of the late Mr. K. C. Kamalasabayson, for an essay which exemplifies critical scholarship in the area of Public Law. The award consists of a cash price of Rs. 25,000/- and a gold medal which is made on 12th August 2008 to coincide with his death anniversary.

Mr. Kamalasabayson retired as Attorney-General in April 2007 after a distinguished career in the Attorney-General’s Department spanning a period of more than three decades. During the latter part of his career he appeared in a large number of cases predominantly in the areas of constitutional and Administrative Law.


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