v.CEYLON PETROLEUM CORPORATION«
COURT OF APPEALF. N. D. JAYASURIYA J.
LT. ADL. l/ADD/5730/84SEPTEMBER 11, 1996
Labour Tribunal – Documents not tendered at the close of the case -Labour Tribunal President arrived at a finding relying on the oralevidence elicited before him in regard to the contents of the documentsLegality ?
(i) The construction and Interpretation of a document is a question oflaw which must engage the attention of the Judge and this court is notentitled to delegate Its functions to a witness who attempted to testifyIn regard to the effect of such documents.
(li) Court Is unable to act on the oral evidence elicited in regard to thecontents of the documents, especially where court is called upon toconstrue and Interpret the documents.
APPEAL from the order of the Labour Tribunal.
J. de. Almeida Gunaratne with Francis Gunawardena for Applicant-Appellant.
No legal appearance for Respondent.
Cur. adv. vult.
SEPTEMBER 11, 1996.
JAYASURIYA, J.Learned Counsel for the Appellant brings to my notice thatthe documents marked at the inquiry before the learnedPresident, namely, documents Rl, R2, R3, R5, R6, R7, R8, havenot been tendered to the Labour Tribunal as at the close of therespective cases. That submission is substantiated by thefinding made by the learned President at page 60 wherein he
Sri Lanka Law Reports
120011 3 Sri L.R.
states documents marked by the respondent have not beentendered to the Tribunal. At the conclusion of the inquiryhowever, the learned President has arrived at a finding againstthe Applicant-appellant relying on the oral evidence elicitedbefore him. In regard to the contents of the documents, in thecourse of the proceedings learned Counsel for the Appellant statesthat he is intending to make legal submissions on theinterpretation and construction of the documents produced. Inpreferring submissions on behalf of the Applicant-Appellant,unfortunately, due to the failure to tender these documentsmarked by the employer, learned Counsel is handicapped inmaking his submissions and this court is deprived of anopportunity of interpreting those documents. I hold that thiscourt is unable to act on the oral evidence elicited in regard tothe contents of the documents, especially where this court iscalled upon to construe and interpret the documents. Theconstruction and interpretation of a document is a question oflaw which must engage the attention of the Judge and this Courtis not entitled to delegate its functions to witness Peiris whoattempted to testify in regard to the effect of such documents.In the circumstances, I set aside the order of the learnedPresident dated 08. 06. 87 and I direct that a de novo trial beheld before another President and I direct that President to givethis matter priority and precedence over all other matterspending in his trial roll and inquiries. Appeal allowed with costsin a sum of Rs. 1570/- payable by the employer-respondent tothe Applicant-Appellant. This order has been made by this Courtdue to the culpable default and failure of the employer to tenderto the Labour Tribunal documents R1 to R8 and certain otherdocuments which were marked in the course of the proceedings.This accounts for order for costs in favour of the Applicant-Appellant. Appeal allowed with costs. I direct the Registrar toforward the judgment of this court with the Record to theappropriate Labour Tribunal at his earliest convenience.
SENEVIRATNE v. CEYLON PETROLEUM CORPORATION