|Upul Jayasuriya, Attorney-at-Law and senior human rights lawyer, was elected as the new President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka,
in what lawyers called a ‘historic’ margin of victory.
■Jayasuriya defeats main opponent Tirantha Waraliyadda PC by more than 1,700 votes
Jayasuriya beat his main contender Tirantha Waraliyadda PC, the senior criminal lawyer, by a margin of over 1,700 votes, BASL sources said. Former BASL President Wijeyadasa Rajapakse won the election in 2012 with 1297 votes in total, while Waraliyadda who also contested the last election received 676.
Attorney-at-Law R.R.S. Thangarajah, who has regularly contested for the presidency, was also in the fray.
Some 11,000 registered members of the Bar were eligible to vote at the election for the BASL presidency that was held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. islandwide yesterday.
The activist Lawyers Collective hailed Jayasuriya’s victory as an overwhelming endorsement of the Bar Association’s strong stand against the unconstitutional impeachment of the Chief Justice by the Government.
“Jayasuriya was in the forefront of the anti impeachment struggle of the lawyers. The results demonstrate once again that the lawyers that they would not bow down to political pressure or intimidation,” the Collective said.
Jayasuriya is a former Secretary of the BASL and an old boy of Royal College Colombo. He entered Law College in 1973 at the age of 17. He joined the Bar in 1976 at 21, as the youngest attorney at the time. He was appointed
Chairman of Sri Lanka State Trading Tractor Corporation in 1982.
He was elected as the Secretary to the Bar Association of Sri Lanka for the period 1991-1993. During this period he initiated the filing of nearly 3,000 Fundamental Rights applications through the support of the BASL before the
Supreme Court of Sri Lanka on behalf of those taken into custody in the 1989 insurrection.
He was also elected to the presidency of the Colombo Law Society in 2008