Potato seeds dispute: SC affirms HC judgment in favour of Ambewela Livestock Company
Friday, 13 June 2014 01:51
By S.S. Selvanayagam
In the action instituted by Ambewela Livestock Company Limited against the Sri Lanka Co-operative Marketing Federation Limited (MARKFED) in the Commercial High Court of Colombo, the Plaintiff Ambewela Livestock Company Limited succeeded and obtained judgement as prayed for in a sum of Rs. 4,694,000 together with interest and costs for the supply of 100 MT of potato seedling.
Commercial High Court Judge P.R. Walgama gave judgment that Ambewela Livestock Company Limited formally under the NLDB had in fact supplied 100 MT of potato seedlings to MARKFED and that MARKFED was obliged in law to make the balance payment to the Plaintiff.
Being dissatisfied with the judgement, MARKFED appealed to the Supreme Court.
The Court relied on the Promissory Note issued by the Defendant to the Plaintiff as security for the payment and dismissed the defence of the Defendant that the Defendant had no legal obligation to pay the Plaintiff for the 100 MT of potato seedling as it only acted as a intermediatary between the Uva Paranagama Co-operative Society and the Plaintiff.
The Court also dismissed the defence of the Defendant that the Plaintiff’s action was prescribed relying on the legal position of the fact that the Plaintiff prior to its privatisation by the sale of 90% of its shares to Lanka Milk Foods in 2001 and the fact that the action was instituted on 23.10.2002 as the said transaction was a written agreement for which action needed to be instituted only within six years.
The Court further dismissed the defence of the Defendant that it was Lanka Milk Foods which should have filed action and not its subsidiary Ambewela Livestock Company Limited, relying on the evidence of the Plaintiff and the Share Sales and Purchase Agreement, between Lanka Milk Foods and the Government of Sri Lanka relating to the sale of the 90% of the shares of Ambewela Livestock Company Limited which was previously a part of the National Livestock Development Board by the Secretary to the Treasury.
The Court accepted the evidence of the Plaintiff and the correspondence exchanged between the parties in coming to its decision.
The Bench comprised of Justices Shiranee Thilakawerdena, Chandra Ekanayake and Sathya Hettige, also awarded interest and costs in the Supreme Court in a sum of Rs. 50,000 in favour of the Plaintiff.
V.K. Choksy appeared for the Plaintiff – Ambewela Livestock Company Limited and Harsha Soza PC with Authula Perera appeared for the Defendant – Sri Lanka Co-operative Marketing Federation Ltd – MARKFED.