By Lakmal Sooriyagoda
The Bar Association President appearing for Pathmasiri Adhikaram who claimed to have the right to function as a Kapurala of the Ruhunu Maha Kataragama Devalaya stated in Supreme Court (SC) that a Supreme Court nullifying a ruling it had made earlier, was unheard before in the country’s judicial history.
BASL President Upul Jayasuriya appearing with senior counsel Saliya Peiris and Kalana Jayasuriya made this submission sequel to two fundamental rights petitions challenging the hereditary rights and claims made by Pathmasiri Adhikaram for the post Kapurala of the Ruhunu Kataragama Maha devalaya
The Supreme Court on April 4, 2004 declared that Pathmasiri Adhikaram of Boralesgamuwa had a right to function as a Kapurala for a period of one month each year in the Ruhunu Kataragama Maha Devalaya. Adhikaram had a hereditary right to the post of kapurala in the above mentioned devalaya.
However, the Supreme Court through its judgment on July 7, 2014 issued an interim order restraining the Basnayake Nilame of the devalaya from appointing the second respondent Pathmasiri Adhikaram as the Kapurala of the Ruhunu Kataragama Maha Devalaya following a fundament rights petition filed by the Mahabethme Secretary and official secretary of the Devalaya. The BASL president questioned as to how a previous Supreme Court judgment could be challenged through a fundamental rights petition and it was never heard before in the country’s judicial history.
When the two petitions were taken up before a bench comprising justice K. Sripavan, Sarath de Abrew and Priyantha Jayawardena, court fixed a date for the respondent to file limited objection on October 13.
Two petitioners Rajapaksa Pathirennehalage Padmasiri Rajapaksa a devotee of Ruhunu Maha Kataragama Devalaya and Adikari Mudiyanselage Dayananda the Mahabethme Secretary and official secretary of Ruhunu Maha Kataragama Devalaya filed fundamental rights petitions stating that the second respondent Adhikaram who is going to be appointed as a Kapurala of the Devalaya is not suitable for the position. They further stated that the second respondent lacks not only a hereditary rights but also knowledge of rites, rituals, ancient practices and secrets. They sought an order to declare that the second respondent has no hereditary claim or right and therefore is not entitled to be appointed a position of Kapurala of the Devalaya. However, the second respondent Adhikaram stated that his family has been claiming for the post of caretaker of the devalaya since 161 BC. He stated that king Dutugemunu before he launched his fight against king Elara made a vow to god Kataragama and having won the war, he built this devalaya and appointed his great grand father as its caretaker to perform rituals. He claimed that his family held the post for over 2300 years.
The Supreme Court on April 4, 2004 declared that Pathmasiri Adhikaram of Boralesgamuwa had a right to function as a Kapurala for a period of one month each year in the Ruhunu Kataragama Maha Devalaya. Adikaram had a hereditary right to the post of kapurala in the above mentioned devalaya.