As I have pointed out earlier although in the Bill section 24(1) dealt with“any act done or purported to be done” and “in the exercise or purported
PATH1RANA, J. – Sirisena and Others u Kobbekaduwa,
Minister of Agriculture and Lands
exercise of any power or authority,” it is my view, that the word “purported”was a surplusage and its omission in the Act did not make any significantdifference. In my view, the Sinhala version of the relevant controversial linesof the Bill which was before Parliament is not open to any restrictiveinterpretation as suggested by Counsel for the respondents. It follows thatone cannot even read into it words like “in good faith”. The languagein the Sinhala version of the Bill, in my view, is clear, precise andunequivocal as to the intention of Parliament to deprive the Courts of thepower to grant an injunction against the Minister under any circumstanceswhatsoever.
I, therefore, hold that all orders of the District Courts and the High Courtsissuing interim injunctions against the Minister of Agriculture and Lands inrespect of the applications under review are illegal and have been madewithout jurisdiction. Therefore, exercising the revisionary powers of thisCourt, I quash all such orders irrespective of the fact that they are in force orhave expired.
In the circumstances of the case and as the matters in issue were raised exmero motu by this Court, Ijtrtake no order as to costs.
We are deeply obliged and much thankful to Counsel appearing on bothsides for the very valuable, and painstaking assistance they have given us
both by exhaustive oral and written submissions.
Before I conclude I wish to make these observations: In the contemporarysociety in which we live there are social changes and upheavals which aretaking place every moment to solve the problems of the people. It isnecessary that in order to effect, consolidate and guarantee these changes thatthose who wield the executive power of the State must be armed withadequate and far-reaching powers, unobstructed as far as possible and unlessit is absolutely necessary, by extraneous interference. These powers are givento public functionaries in trust by the Legislature representing the power ofthe people. Implicit in repositing these extensive powers by the legislature isthe duty expected from those who exercise powers that they will do so withcircumspection and above all with a sense of justice. There may be momentswhen they will derive infinite delectation in exercising these powers but atthe same time they must also remember in doing so that “it is excellent tohave a giant’s strength; but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant”.