Mohan Peiris served as the Attorney General (2008 to 2011) and the Chief Justice (January 2013 to January 2015) of Sri Lanka.
Peiris was a “President’s Counsel Learned in Law”, commonly known as President’s Counsel (PC). It is a high-rank appointment for Attorneys-at-Law in Sri Lanka coinciding the British ‘Queen’s Counsel’ appointments. PC appointments are made by the President of Sri Lanka based on professional eminence and conduct.
Peiris was appointed as the Chief Justice in 2013 under circumstances which was reported as controversial. The appointment made by then President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapksha, was criticized as a constitutional violation and was challenged at courts. Peiris was criticized for undue interference in court proceedings and being partial towards the ruling political party during his tenure. Pieris’s term as CJ ended in January 2015, under circumstances which was also reported as controversial.
A student of St. Joseph’s College Colombo and Royal College Colombo, Peiris was married to an Attorney-at-Law Dayangani Priyantha Peiris. He served in the Attorney General's Department as a State Counsel and a Senior State Counsel before he was appointed the Attorney General in 2008. He left the AG Department in 2011 and was practicing as a private lawyer until he was appointed the Chief Justice. He was an Examiner of the Sri Lanka Law College and a visiting lecturer at the Faculty of Law of the University of Colombo.
Tobacco Related Activities
Peiris was a member of the Supreme Court judge panel that examined Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC (CTC)’s petition against the Pictorial Health Warnings in cigarette packs (PHWs). The Ministry of Health’s intension was to have PHWs covering 80% of the packs. The Supreme Court confirmed the decision given by the Appeal Court to reduce it to a figure between 50% to 60%. Peiris was the Chief Justice in this period. Minister of Health, who later became the next President of Sri Lanka, and the Media accused Peiris of undue interference in the case. For more details see Ceylon Tobacco Legally Challenging Pictorial Health Warnings in Cigarette Packs
Peiris was a legal counsel in the Intervenient Petition in Supreme Court against the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA) Act in 2006. Indatissa, in his book titled Commentary on the NATA Act No 27 of 2006, reported Peiris was representing the interests of CTC.
Tobacco Unmasked Resources
Other relevant TobaccoUnmasked entries:
- Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC (CTC)
- Ceylon Tobacco Legally Challenging Pictorial Health Warnings in Cigarette Packs
The local language translations
- Supreme Court Website. Hon. Mohan Peiris, PC: Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka, undated, accessed May 2017
- Newsfirst.lk. Not retired, resigned or vacated – says Chief Justice Mohan Peiris, 1 February 2015, Accessed July 2020
- The Nation. Appointment of President’s Counsel, 28 March 2015, accessed May 2017
- Daily Mirror. Appointment of Mohan Peiris as CJ illegal: UNP, 16 January 2013, accessed May 2017
- Colombo Telegraph. CPA’s FR Challenge To Mohan Pieris’ De Facto CJ Appointment – 5 Judges Bow Down & CPA’s Counsels Bow Out In Protest, 25 July 2013, accessed May 2017
- International Commission of Jurists. Sri Lanka: appointment of new Chief Justice undermines Rule of Law, News: Press Releases, 15 January 2013, accessed May 2017
- Wikileaks Forum. Sri Lanka: Proof of Mohan Pieris Bench Fixing, 19 August 2013, accessed May 2017
- MailOnline. Lawyers demand Sri Lanka's top judge quits over coup claim, 17 January 2015, accessed May 2017
- DailyMirror. President reveals why he removed Mohan Peiris, 17 February 2017, accessed May, 2017
- Daily Mirror. PACK UP AND GO, MR. TOBACCO, 29 January 2015, accessed May 2017
- AsianMirror. Sarath N Silva Lashes Out At Mohan Peiris Over Trip To Vatican, 09 October 2014, accessed May 2017
- News1st. Writ petition filed against Former CJ Mohan Peiris, 02 February 2015, accessed May 2015
- Asian Tribune. Chief Justice Mohan Peiris Resigns, 22 January 2015, accessed May 2017
- News1st. Not retired, resigned or vacated – says Chief Justice Mohan Peiris, 01 February 2015, accessed May 2017
- SundayTimes. STATEMENT ISSUED BY MOHAN PEIRIS, 01 February 2015, accessed May 2017
- DailyMirror. Mohan Peiris to create public opinion, 2 February 2015, accessed May 2017
- NewsLanka. Mohan Peiris sworn in as new Chief Justice, 17 January 2013, accessed May 2017
- A Marsoof. Sri Lankan Court of Appeal balances tobacco trade mark rights and the promotion of public health, JIPLP, The weblog of the Journal of Intellectual Property Law and Practice, 12 May 2014, accessed May 2017
- HiruNews.lk. 60% PICTORIAL WARNING ON A CIGARETTE PACKET MADE COMPULSORY, 11 July 2014, accessed May 2017
- Lanka News Web. Chief Justice to shows Ceylon Tobacco how to win an appeal, Exclusive, 06 August 2013, accessed May 2017
- Supreme Court document. Intervenient Petition against National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol Bill, 20 June 2006, accessed March 2017
- K Indatissa. Commentary on the NATA Act No 27 of 2006, 2008; ISBN: 978 955 51757 1 5