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His Lordship Sureshchandra Newly appointed Supreme court judge

Senior Counsel M.R.K.S. Suresh Chandra took oaths as a Judge of the Supreme Court in the presence of President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees yesterday.

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 SUPREME COURT JUDGE JUSTICE R K S SURESHCHANDRA-Cricketer and Cricket commentator of eminence


Thurstan College and the OBU are due to felicitate shortly His Lordship Justice Sureshchandra a distinguished alumni on his appointment to the highest levels of the judiciary ,Supreme Court.
Suresh joined Thurstan from Hoy Cross college Kalutara after completing his OL?s in 1963 to pursue higher studies  as Thurstan  possessed very good laboratory facilities and teaching rsources.  His ambition was to enter the Medical faculty as in that era passing the  Practical exam was mandatory to enter University to do science or medicine. Suresh who showed his prowess as a cricketer for Holy Cross continued his cricket career at Thurstan. Suresh travelled by train from Kalutara where his family was residing and I could distinctly remember Suresh hurrying after cricket practices to catch the train. Most of his studies were done in the train, such was dedication to studies and his desire to play cricket.
Suresh played a crucial part with his off spinners and bowled with tandem with me to rout Isipathana for Thurstan to register first ever win in the big match series in 1965. Suresh played for Thurstan for 3 years from 1964 -66. In 1966 Suresh could not play in the big match as the date coincided with the AL practical examination.
Suresh also Captained the College “Science Quiz ” Team , “The Spelling Bee” Team to Radio Ceylon.
Suresh could not enter the medical faculty, but decided to switch to law and entered University of Colombo Law Faculty in September 1967 so that he could follow in the footsteps of his father, the late S S Rajaratnam who had a lucrative practice in the Kalutara bar & when they moved to Colombo in 1967 he commenced a law school where he paved the way for many persevering aspirants who could not gain entry to the University to pursue their legal studies and become Professionals. Rajaratnams were an illustrious family in Kalutara figuring prominently in the field of law & cricket.  Suresh, initially represented the Kalutara town club in the ?Daily News? cricket tournament.
In hindsight I think he made the correct choice in pursuing a law degree. Some of his contemporizes at the law faculty are  current Chief Justice Asoka de Silva, Supreme Court Judge Nimal Gamini Amaratunga,  Current Head of the Sri Lanka Mission in to the United Nation Palitha Khona, former Treasury Secretary Charitha Ratwatte &  present Leader of opposition Ranil Wickramsinghe among many others. In fact Ranil at a function held at the inauguration of the Thurstan Building Fund way back 1986 as the then Education Minister paid  a compliment to his erstwhile colleague Suresh  that his success at the law faculty was due to him studying comprehensive set of notes of Suresh ! Suresh at the University continued to play Cricket and was a member of the University side that entered the final round of the Sara Trophy in 1969-70 under Mevan Pieris. That was the last University side to enter a final round. Suresh?s many talents were amply demonstrated when he kept us in raptures with his rendering of many English and Sinhala songs in the long train journeys when the University of Colombo team toured South India to play in the Inter University tournament ( which I had the privilege to captain) in December 1969. Upon leaving University he represented Bloomfield in the P Sara tournament.

After obtaining the LLB from the University he completed his Masters in Law and was called to the bar in 1972. He was apprentice to late Sharwanandha who later became the Chief Justice. Initially he was a junior to late E R S R Coomaraswamy PC who was a leading legal luminary of the day. Suresh was appointed a member of the National Arbitration Panel of the National Arbitration Centre and served under a number of Industrial organizations. For well over 30 years Suresh functioned as a lecturer in law at the Open University, Colombo & Katubedda Campuses and Law College.

During his overseas Career he served as the Deputy Permanent Representative of the Sri Lanka Mission in to the United Nation for a period of one year in 2009 and was a member of the delegation to the Non-Aligned conference in Egypt last year. Even in the US he was much in demand for cricket and was the tournament Director for the Sri Lanka schools cricket tournament and also did his stint with the commentaries.

Suresh did his share of social work. He was the President of the Apex Sri Lanka and was the Cabinet Secretary of the Lions movement in 2007-8. Suresh also served the Thurstan OBU steering committee and was instrumental in setting up the legal structure for the Thurstan college Building Fund & the Thurstan College Trust fund.

Suresh took up to cricket commentaries following to the untimely death of his brother Diyanesh in 1997. He like most present day commentators had his baptism at the Thurstan-Isipathana big match and with his elevation to high places in the Hultsdorf we may not hear him in the commentaries for some time. But his son Kosala will continue the good work. I always told Suresh that Kosala has more drive in his commentaries than the father!  I can remember the 2 young brothers playing in the backyard of their home in Kollupitiya and they were giving running commentaries of their ?match? . Both sons Kosala & Rashantha played cricket for D S Senanayake College
Suresh?s brother Late Diyanesh and sister Yamuna took up to law. While Amaresh played cricket with distinction for Wesley and Diyanesh stamped his class both in Cricket & Rugby at Thurstan being captain in both games. Diyanesh was also accomplished commentator in Rugby.
Suresh has earned the respect and regard from both the bar & the bench for his unblemished reputation.? In fact most folks of the Hulftsdorf expected this appointment to have been made years back?.

The appointment to this Apex court from the unofficial bar is always fought with much trepidation. In his address at the ceremonial sitting to welcome him, His Lordship Justice Sureshchandra put it very succinctly. ?Likewise, several members of the unofficial bar have been appointed to this Apex Court from time to time in keeping with the noble tradition of uplifting the quality of the composition of the court which enables to maintain a certain balance regarding the interest of the Bar & the bench?.
Suresh also said the following. ?In the current era there is too much respect to the letters of the law as opposed to the spirit of the law. Laws are formulated with certain principles in mind. It is necessary to see whether in the application of the laws, those principles are being accommodated. This requires rational interpretation of such laws to suit the given situation?.
I hope and pray that Suresh will be able to bring fresh thinking into this august body.
My association with Suresh goes back to nearly 47 years both on and off the field and we have had many enjoyable times and our families continue to be very closely knit.

In conclusion I will be failing in my duty if I do not to say a big ? thank you ? to the lady of his life ? Savithri, who has been the pillar of the success of Suresh in many myriad activities of his life.

Priya Paranavitane
Cricket Captain Thurstan  1966
Represented University in Cricket 1967-70

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