Unforeseen hand tarnishing Lankan - Russian ties? | Daily News

Unforeseen hand tarnishing Lankan - Russian ties?

It is not recently that Sri Lanka started to have trouble. All problems started several decades ago. The Western and European elements influenced by the LTTE terrorists started to hunt Sri Lanka when the humanitarian operation was about to finish. After finishing the humanitarian operation in 2009, a group of wolves started to hunt Sri Lanka regularly during the UN Human Rights Commission sessions. They have been hunting us using direct and indirect ‘techniques’ since May 18, 2009.

Sri Lankans have a very strong and completely steadfast friendship with Russia and China who protected us no matter how hard the wolves tried to hunt us. Those two friends stood by like giants, protecting us, and supported us all the time, especially at the UNHRC. Both our best friends China and Russia have the ‘Veto Power’.

But the Court order on the Russian Aeroflot Flight to detain the plane in Sri Lanka without allowing it to fly back to Russia with 191 passengers and 13 crew members as usual disturbed the friendship with Russia. The Russian Foreign Ministry had called our High Commissioner and expressed its concerns over the issue. The Court announced that according to the application made by the Counsels of all the parties, this matter is fixed for inquiry based on the application of the first Defendant on 08.O6.2022.

Court proceedings

During the court proceedings, the Counsel for the second Defendant said ‘Your Honour the second Defendant have brought to the notice of the Honourable Attorney General that yesterday a fiscal officer of Your Honour’s Court has walked into the Bandaranaike International Airport between 12.15 p.m.- 2.30 p.m. accompanied an Attorney-at-Law and submitted a copy of the Order issued by Your Honour’s Court and the second Defendant should immediately take steps not to permit Flight SU 289 to take off from the Bandaranaike International Airport. At that time Your Honour, 191 passengers and 13 crew members were on board Flight SU 289 which belongs to the first Defendant. Your Honour air navigation in Sri Lanka is regulated in terms of the Civil Aviation Act No. 14 of 2000 and Chapter 3 deals, who is authorized to give orders pertaining to take off and landing and rounding of aircraft. Therefore, Your Honour the said matters set out in Chapter 3 of the Civil Aviation Act No. 14 of 2000 fall within the category of acts of stage. The second Defendant is a servant of Airport and Aviation Services Sri Lanka Private Limited which is a straight forward Company which manages airport in Sri Lanka. We wish to bring to Your Honour’s notice the said enjoining order is not against the Director General of Civil Aviation who is authorized to issue directions in terms of the Act No. 14 of 2000. Anyhow in terms of Section 24 of the Interpretation Ordinance with utmost respect to Your Honour’s Court, Your Honour’s Court is prohibited from issuing any orders for specific performance at this stage which includes the Director General of Civil’ Aviation Authority. Your Honour therefore, I seek a clarification from Your Honour’s Court whether the said enjoining order has enjoined or prohibited the second Defendant or any officer of the state taking steps in terms of the Civil Aviation Act No.14 of 2000’.

During the Court proceedings, the Counsel for the Plaintiff said ‘With the greatest of respect Sir, if my learned friend is seeking a clarification of whether there is an enjoining order against the second Defendant I have no objection to that application but what my learned friend is asking is now put on record is something else, is that is clearly what is asking if there is an enjoining order against the second Defendant or not that is evident of the face of the record and that clarification can be given sir. If it is a clarification that there is no order against the second Defendant an enjoining order my learned friend can ask for that. Counsel for the second Defendant further states thus: I seek Your Honour to make a suitable order with regard to the enjoining order delivered with the Attorney-at-Law by the fiscal officer of Your Honour’s Court around 12.15 p.m. and giving instruction if the second Defendant permits the aircraft to take off it will amount Contempt of Court.

Court declared that according to the submissions of both counsels, there is no any enjoining order related to the enjoining order issued in this case with regard to the second Defendant.

Counsel for the first Defendant said ‘Your Honour sees the first Defendant according to the plaint has its office in Russia. Papers have not yet been served on the first Defendant. However, the first Defendant operated the fly with 253 passengers who came into Colombo. There is an acknowledgment made that no enjoining order was issued against the second Defendant. There was no enjoining order.

Moscow – Colombo flights

However, the enjoining order has been made for the first Defendant. It has not yet been served. This was made by this Court June 2. A few, within a couple of hours thereafter, the aircraft 191 passengers were prevented from leaving and the first Defendant was therefore compelled to house all these passengers in a hotel. Take for the tickets where on the flight they were sent to a hotel and this is all because of this surreptitious operation that had been enforced by the Plaintiff when Your Honour’s Court has not given any order against the second defendant. They had to use this order to illegally enforce through putting pressure on the second Defendant. Your Honour sees I am in Court Your Honour because this has already caused a very serious national embarrassment because of the international media and where the State has given an assurance to Russia that its aircraft can fly to Sri Lanka. There is a State guarantee. There is a fundamental matter because of Your Honour’s jurisdiction. I am talking about fundamental matters because we have come to a Court without having any right to see the intervention of Your Court because there is no jurisdiction. Your Honour sees they have come to Commercial High Court and pleaded specifically that Your Honour and I am reading the High Court of the Provinces Special Provisions Act No.10 of 1996. (reads) I am making these submissions not relying on any new material that ex-facie the matters that are pleaded in the Plaint the copy which I had. Your Honour sees with utmost respect my submission that parties cannot be in agreement as this is a contract between two parties, one in Ireland and one in Russia and originally entered into in 2002. For 20 years it has been going on. This aircraft flies from Moscow to Colombo passing many countries. Your Honour I am not diverting against that due Your Honour. I am only stating with utmost respect that there is a patent that has jurisdiction to even entertain this matter. Now my application Your Honour is pending filing of formal objections to be permitted to release the aircraft on the submission of the security of the bank guarantee to Court further value that has been categorically pleaded in the Plaint filed before Your Honour’s Court as a money recovery action for the sum of 250,000 dollars I will secure that amount and the aircraft specifically.

Counsel for the second Defendant stated ‘I confirm that he has clarified from the Director General Civil Aviation by a WhatsApp message and I was informed that the first Defendant Company has a valid insurance cover with regard to the subject aircraft and it is sufficient for the purposes set out in the Civil Aviation Act No. 14 of 2010. The second Defendant reserves the right to file objections if required.

Court declared further, it is clarified that there is no Enjoining Order and any type of Interim Injunction sought against the second Defendant as supposed to what is being claimed against the first Defendant. Further, the Registrar is directed to issue a certified copy to the Attorney General without cost and with cost to the other parties.

Additional Solicitor General Sumathi Dharmawardena PC., with Senior Deputy Solicitor General M. Gopallawa and Deputy Solicitor General Rajiw Gunathilaka with State Counsel S. Soyza instructed by State Attorney Ms. Sepalika Thiranagarna appeared for the second Defendant.

Avindra Rodrigo PC., with Aruna De Silva instructed by M/s F.J. & G. De Saram for the Plaintiff. Dr. Lasantha Hettiarachchi with Suren Gnanarath, Himath Silva & Ms. Minaliaputhanthri with Ms. Rashmi Dias instructed by D.L. & F. De Saram for the first Defendant. Representative of the first Defendant was also present in Court. Sergey Evgenievich Losev, the Regional Manager for India and Sri Lanka of the first Defendant was present in Court.


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