Ilankai Tamil Sangam

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

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TRO Court Appeal of Freezing of Funds


Status of Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) freezing of TRO Funds 

On Thursday 16 November 2006 TRO filed a petition with the High Court of the Western Province, Holden in Colombo requesting that the Judge vacate the ex parte order of 4 September 2006 that froze TRO’s bank accounts. 

The case was taken up before the High Court on Monday 20 November 2006.  Prior to any arguments being heard, the Attorney General’s Department, representing the Central Bank, raised an objection and submitted that the High Court had no jurisdiction to hear the petition by TRO seeking to “vacate or vary” the order.

President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva, who is leading TRO’s legal team, argued that as there is no specific provision for an appeal against or for the setting aside of the order in the Act under which TRO’s funds were frozen, TRO could invoke the inherent power of the Court to vacate or to vary the order.  This was based, Mr. De Silva argued, in Natural Law and the laws of the country.

The Court ordered that the parties, the Attorney General and TRO, file written submissions on this point of law within one week and return to court on Wednesday 26 November 2006. 

TRO’s full petition to the High Court requested that:

[i]    that the order made ex parte be vacated;

[ii]   in the alternative, that the order made ex parte be varied, by permitting the respondent to utilize the funds in the bank accounts restrained by the Court’s order,  subject to the supervision of a competent person or persons  appointed by Court;

[iii]  for an interim order, permitting the respondent to utilize the funds in the bank accounts restrained by the Court’s order,  subject to the supervision of a competent person or persons appointed by Court;

The petition was accompanied by documentary evidence countering the allegations made by the Central Bank in its ex parte petition on 4 September 2006. 

History of the Case:

28 August 2006: TRO learns that its bank accounts have been “frozen”

4 September 2006: Ex parte hearing in High Court. CBSL petitions for an extension of the freeze for 6 months.  Petition was granted by the court without TRO having the opportunity to respond to the petition.  Approximately Rs. 80,000,000 frozen.

18 October 2006:  TRO, after filing a request with the court, receives a copy of the Central Bank’s 4 September petition and supporting documentation.  TRO has to date still not received any formal notice from the court or the Attorney General’s Department regarding this case.

16 November 2006: TRO files petition and supporting documentation with High Court.

20 November 2006: Case is to be heard in court but Attorney Generals Department raises objections to the High Court’s jurisdiction.  Both parties asked to submit arguments on the point of law and return to court.

26 November 2006: Next court date.

TRO Legal Team:

Mr. Romesh De Silva           President’s Counsel

Mr. Desmond Fernando      President’s Counsel

Mr. A.P. Niles                       Attorney

Mr. K. Ratnavale                  Attorney

Mr. Gammi Senanayakke     Attorney


Arjunan Ethirveerasingam
Project Manager TRO (Colombo)
Media Spokesperson
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