Justice Palakidnar was a mansion of noble thoughts
The tenth death anniversary of Justice K Palakidnar who was the
President of the Court of Appeal fell recently and to mark this occasion
a memorial oration will be delivered by former President Chandrika
Bandaranaike Kumaratunga on July 24, 2011 at 6 pm at the Sri Lanka
Foundation Institute, Independence Square, Colombo 7. President's
Counsel A R Surendran will preside.
Justice K Palakidnar
In fact, "a great judge must be a man with a spark of greatness to
start with, his job is the applied practice of wisdom and justice and
these may not be borrowed from any of the calf-found books, but must
spring from the man himself," so said a former Attorney-General and
later Chief Justice of Sri Lanka.
Justice Palakidnar who was appointed as President of the Court of
Appeal in 1992, was a judge who was gifted with infinite patience and a
pleasant personality which are perhaps two attributes which are almost
indispensable to withstand the pressure from the place of work in the
Court of Appeal.
As a judicial officer for more than 25 years, he always preserved the
dignity of Courts and the image of justice. He always discharged his
duties without fear or favour, affection, ill-will or bias. He knew the
art of judging namely an attentive and receptive ears, a mind open to
conviction, a will to do justice regardless of personal motives or
Justice Palakidnar was born in 1931 at Kokuvil as the eldest son in a
family of four boys and two girls. His father late S Krishnapillai was
the Chief Trains Controller and was highly respected and loved by
everyone at Kokuvil for his unimpeachable integrity and honesty. His
mother late Pasupathy was a religious minded lady who brought up all her
children in a religious atmosphere.
He had his early education at Kokuvil Hindu College, Jaffna Hindu
College and subsequently at St Joseph's College, Colombo. He then
entered the University of Ceylon and obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree
and thereafter entered the Ceylon Law College and was admitted and
enrolled as an Advocate of the Supreme Court in 1957.
He practised as a Junior under late C Renganathan (QC) and built up
an extensive practice in the original and appelate Courts of Colombo in
Civil and Criminal matters. By a sheer dint of hard work and his command
of the English language, his knowledge of the law and his winsome ways
he won the confidence and appreciation of the Bench and the Bar as an up
and coming member of the legal profession.
As a lawyer, he maintained the highest professional standards.
Generations of lawyers would be grateful to him for the contribution he
had made towards the legal profession. He was indeed a giant of our
times - indomitable courage, steadfast in purpose, total in commitment,
clear sighted in vision, irreproachable in character and yet simple in
Devotion to duty
Justice Palakidnar joined the Judicial Service in 1966. He served as
Magistrate at Anuradhapura, Ratnapura, Jaffna and as District Judge
Kalmunai and Chavakachcheri. Thereafter, he was promoted as Grade I
Judicial Officer and was appointed as District Judge, Jaffna.
After sometime, he was appointed as High Court Judge and served in
this capacity in Chilaw, Negombo, Batticaloa and Trincomalee from
1982-1987 until he was appointed as Judge of the Court of Appeal. In
1992 October, he was appointed as President of the Court of Appeal.
Justice Palakidnar was a man of a few words and soft spoken and never
uttered words that may hurt anyone. His impeccable manners, sincerity,
devotion to duty and patience in dealing with lawyers immensely
contributed to his success as a Judicial Officer. He had a vast
knowledge of the laws and he shared it with those who sought his
guidance. His warmth kindness and humility made those who were
associated with him to admire his remarkable qualities and abilities. He
was amiable, genial and versatile and lived a simple life without grudge
against anyone. He abhorred ostentation and publicity. Further, he had
absolute confidence in him because of his honesty, integrity and
dedication. Intelligence, competence, merit, hard work, dedication and
determination where his inherent attitudes which helped him to achieve
frame and name as a judge.
After retirement as the President of Court of Appeal, he was
appointed as the Chairman of the Special Commission on Disappearance in
the North and East by the former President Chandrika Bandaranaike
Kumaratunga. He was also the Director of the Human Rights Task Force.
Further, he attended the Asian Judicial Conference held in Hyderabad
in India in 1995. He also attended the Asian Regional colloquium on the
Judiciary and Intellectual Property System held in New Delhi. In
addition to all these, he immensely contributed at the SAARC Law
Furthermore, at a seminar held by the Women Lawyers' Association in
regard to 'Laws Delays' his participation and contribution were highly
appreciated. In fact, he was also the President of the Girl Guides
Association and was very much involved in art and culture. In fact, he
was most sought after chief guest at music and arangetrams and religious
Indeed, the secret of his success as a good judge and human being was
that he was deeply religious. Throughout his life he observed the tenets
of Hindu dharma. Further, he had a remarkable knowledge of Ramayana and
Mahabharatha, Bhagavad Gita, Hindu Philosophy and Hindu religion.
Besides, he had a mellowed wisdom and sagacious judgement of men and
matters and sincerely and genuinely, he practised what he learnt from
the Hindu scriptures. He was greatly involved in 'Raja Yoga Institute'
activities and made several speeches.
In fact, he was an avid reader. In addition to his vast knowledge of
the laws, he had an extensive knowledge in other fields such as
literature, history, psychology, religion and art and culture. He was a
meticulous and methodical person and had a passion for punctuality.
He was essentially a family oriented man and to his wife and
children, he was a loving and devoted husband and an understanding
Undoubtedly, late Justice Palakidnar was a Sri Lanka to the marrow of
his bones. His mind was a mansion of noble thoughts.