|One of the best the Employers’ Federation ever had|
The sudden demise of Deepal was shocking and almost impossible to believe. It has shown us once again that in the midst of life, we are in death.
I have known Deepal as a school boy who was one class junior to me at S. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia. I remember Deepal being an active debater in College, who showed his oratorical skills very early in the day.
He always impressed me as a quiet and unassuming guy, who was perceptive and focused on whatever he did.
Very soon thereafter, I spoke to him about a vacancy at the EFC and suggested that he should join our professional team. Deepal joined the EFC on January 1, 2001 as an Industrial Relations Advisor. His professional competence, together with his high sense of responsibility and maturity were recognized and he was appointed as an Assistant Director General in April 2007It was after leaving school that I got to know Deepal more closely when he used to attend LT cases representing the Attorney General's Department. Around that time I represented the EFC in LT cases and we met each other quite frequently in LT. It was at this time, that I noticed that Deepal had strong skills as a counsel who left no stone unturned, in respect of any case he represented.
Deepal handled some of the more complex cases for the EFC successfully. One of the landmark cases he handled was that of the arbitration of Maliban Biscuit Manufactories Ltd which involved the dismissal of around 600 employees. He successfully argued this case which resulted in the Arbitrator holding in favour with the Company and also stating that there was no justification for any payment of compensation to the employees.
As a professional colleague, Deepal had some outstanding qualities. Firstly, he treated every single matter that was referred to him with a high sense of responsibility. He studied his brief thoroughly and was never willing to take short cuts with anyone in respect of any case. In fact, I had the unique privilege of giving evidence in a case relating to the EFC in which Deepal led my evidence a few months before he passed away. Even in respect of this case he ensured that I sit with him and go through all the documents prior to the date of the case, and thereafter go through every page of the proceedings to ensure that the evidence had been properly recorded.
Secondly, Deepal had an analytical mind with the unique ability to think on his feet and make submissions and counter submissions. This is a rare quality which is not found among many professionals today. Deepal was able to grasp a point of law and rationalize it in favour of his case very effectively.
Deepal's personality may also be compared to that of an "Officer and a Gentleman". Quite apart from the fact that he was a competent Counsel and a professional, we cannot ignore some striking personal qualities he possessed throughout his life. Deepal had a charming personality and a super sense of humour. He was always ready and willing to help anyone who was in need of any assistance. His active involvement in the Organisation of Professionals' Association, Bar Association of Sri Lanka, OBA of S. Thomas' College Mount Lavinia showed his interest towards uplifting the legal profession and his alma mater.
We at EFC will always feel the void that has been created by his demise. Deepal was undoubtedly one of the best Counsels the EFC had in its entire history. The least we could do to remember him at EFC is to try and inculcate some of his professional qualities which he displayed very prominently throughout his tenure of office at the EFC.
On behalf of the entire membership of the EFC and the staff of EFC, we salute this great professional for his life, dedicated service and more than anything else, for being a great professional colleague and a friend to all of us at the EFC.