Weerasinghe v. Rev. Pandit Dickwella Nayaka Thero
Present : Sirimane, J., Wijesundera, J., andWeeraratne, J.
J.WEERASINGHE, Appellant and REV. PANDIT DICKWELLANAYAKA THERO, Respondent
Conciliation Boards Act—Section 6—Arising of a “ dispute ” confersjurisdiction on Conciliation Board—"Dispute" arises partly in oneConciliation Board area and partly in another area—Either Boardhas jurisdiction.
ft) It is the arising of a “ dispute ” within the meaning of section6(b) of the Conciliation Boards Act No. 10 of 1958 as amendedby Act No. 12 of 1963 in a particular area that gives the ConciliationBoard of that area jurisdiction and not necessarily +he arising ofa “ cause of action A “ dispute ” can give rise to more than one“ cause of action ”, such causes arising in different areas.
"M Where a "dispute” arises partly in one Conciliation Boardarea and partly in another Conciliation Board area, either Boardwould have jurisdiction to inquire into such “dispute”.
N. D. M. Samarakoon, for the Defendant-Appellant.
P.A. D. Samarasekera, with W. P. Gunatilaka for the Plaintifl-Respondent.
S. C. 193/71—D. C. Matara 2929/M
from a judgment of the District Court of Matara.
Cur. adv. vult.
R1RIMAN E, J,—Weeraeinghe v. Rev. Pandit Dichwella Nayaka Thero
March 4, 1975. Sirimane, J.—
The plaintiff-respondent, who is the Viharadhipathi of SriSumanaramaya, Godauda, instituted this action against thedefendant-appellant, who was the Chairman of the DickwelleVillage Committee at the relevant period, claiming damages onthree causes of action namely—
that on 21.4.69 the appellant moved a resolution in the
Dickwelle Village Committee which was defamatory ofthe respondent.
that the appellant sent to the respondent a letter dated
23.4 69 (marked X) containing the said resolution andfurther defamatory statements, with copies to the PrimeMinister, The Minister of Home Affairs, The Ministerof Cultural Affa rs and The Viharadhipathies of theVihares and Temples in the Dickwella region.
That by sending the letter X to the respondent the
appellant caused the respondent pain of mind andhumiliation.
The respondent annexed to his plaint a certificate from theConciliation Board of Kottegoda. The appellant claimed thatthis certificate was invalid as the said Board had no jurisdictionand that the respondent cannot therefore maintain his action.This matter was tried as a preliminary issue and the learnedDistrict Judge held that the 1st and 2nd causes of action aroseoutside the jurisdiction of the Conciliation Board of Kottegodabut that the 3rd cause of action arose within its jurisdiction andconsequently the certificate filed was a valid one and sufficientto maintain the action on all three causes. From this decision theappellant appeals.
The relevant section in the Conciliation Boards Act No. 10 of1958 as amended by Act No. 12 of 1963, reads :
(b) Any dispute in respect of any matter that may be a causeof action arising in that Conciliation Board area for thepurpose of institution of an action in a Civil Court. ”
This would mean that (i) there must be a dispute in respectof any matter arising in the Conciliation Board Arae and (ii)such dispute may be a cause of action for the purpose ofinstitution of an action in a Civil Court. So that it is the arisingof a “ dispute ” in a particular area that gives the ConciliationBoard of that area jurisdiction and not necessarily the arisingof a “ cause of action”. It may well be that the “dispute” and
SIRIMANE, J.-—Weerasinghe v. Rev. Pandit Dickivella Nayaka Thero
the “ cause (or causes) of action ” arise in the same area, asindeed they frequently do, but it is not always necessarily soas a “ dispute ” can give rise (as in this case) to more thanone “ cause of action ” such causes arising in different areas. Thequestion therefore is not so much where the “ cause of action ”arose but where the “ dispute*’ (that may be a cause of action)arose.
It was established that the appellant resides and the VillageCommittee office (where the offending resolution was passed)was situate within the Dickwelle Conciliation Board Area andthat the respondent resides within the Kottegoda ConciliationBoard area. In the case of Chandra de Silva vs. Ambawatte(71 N.L-R. 348) Samerawickrame, J., stated that “Aunilateral act, however, even if it is a wrongful one, cannotbe considered to be a dispute. A dispute involves acontroversy between two parties at least and importsconflicting acts and statements by them ”. If in the instantcase the respondent had ignored the acts of the appellantno dispute would have arisen. It is because the respondent deniedthe various allegations and statements and resented them thata “ dispute ” arose. It was therefore the attitude of the respondentthat would be decisive as to whether a dispute arose or not andsince the respondent was resident within the KottegodaConciliation Board area the “ dispute ” would arise in that area,once the respondent contradicted, denied or resented theallegations and statements made by the appellant. Even other-wise both, the allegations and statements made by the appellanton the one hand, and the contradiction, denialand resentment of the respondent on the other hand takentogether constitute the dispute that arose, and in this view of thematter the said dispute therefore arose partly in the DickwelleConciliation Board area and partly in the Kottegoda ConciliationBoard area. In a case where a dispute arises in more than oneConciliation Board area I am of the view that either Boardwould have jurisdiction to inquire into such dispute. It mustbe remembered that the Conciliation Board Act was meant toafford parties an opportunity of settling their disputes expedi-tiously and inexpensively by the method of Conciliation withouthaving recourse to the Courts. It was never meant to placeobstacles in the way of persons who wanted to resort to theordinary processes of the Law Courts- In cases, therefore, wherethe parties have had an opportunity (as in this case) of settlingtheir dispute by Conciliation before a Conciliation Board butchose not to do so (and thus substantially complied with theprovisions of the Conciliation Boards Act) technicalities shouldnot prevent or hinder them in bringing such dispute before theordinary Courts of this country.
Tennekoon v. Tennekoon
For the reasons stated earlier I am of the view that both theDxckwelle Conciliation Board and the Kottegoda ConciliationBoard had jurisdiction to inquire into the dispute that arosebetween the parties in this case and that a certificate from eitherof the said Conciliation Boards is a sufficient compliance withSection 14 of the Conciliation Boards Act and enables the plain-tiff to maintain an action in respect of all causes of action(wherever they arose) arising from the said dispute. The appealis therefore dismissed with costs.
Wijestxndera, J.—I agree.
Weeraratne, J—I agree.
J. WEERASINGHE, Appellant and REV. PANDIT DICKWELLA NAYAKA THERO, Respondent