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‘Mawbima’: Supreme Court overturns red light to green

By S.S. Selvanayagam
The publisher of the new newspaper ‘Mawbima’ got relief from the Supreme Court yesterday to go ahead with the first issue of the paper as scheduled.

The Bench comprising Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva, Justices Raja Fernando and Andrew Somawansa made an interim order staying the effect of the enjoining order issued by the Colombo Commercial High Court preventing the printing and publishing of the new newspaper.

The interim order is operative till July 17. While issuing the interim order, the Supreme Court observed that on the face of the plaint, it was proved without doubt that plaintiff in the High Court had not published the said newspaper for about 10 years.Court also noted that the plaintiff was not the registered owner of the newspaper with the title Mawbima. The court took into account that the petitioner had spent substantial amounts of money for launching the newspaper, scheduled to be held yesterday.

The court observed that if the interim order was not granted by staying the operation of the enjoining order, irreparable loss and damage would be caused to the petitioner.

The plaintiff, Weliwita Arachchige Dharmadasa, member of the Communist Party in his plaint to the High Court cited Basnayake Mudiyanselage Dushiyantha Bandara Basnayake as the defendant, claiming that using the title “Mawbima”, the Communist Party’s official newspaper since September 1950, was a violation of the plaintiff’s and his party’s intellectual property.

The Colombo Commercial High Court on Thursday issued the enjoining order preventing the printing and publishing of the said newspaper.

Being aggrieved by the enjoining order by the High Court, the petitioner on the same day filed application for leave to appeal against that order. The matter was taken up yesterday.

President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva with Sugath Caldera instructed by G.G. Arulpragasam appeared for the defendant-petitioner Bandara Basnayake.

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