He never misled Court on the law in order to gain any undue benefits or orders for his client’s case
The portrait of President’s Counsel, S.H.M. Maharoof, was unveiled at the Law Library of the Kandy Court Complex on the 6th of February, 2017 amidst a large gathering of Judges of the High Court, District Court, Magistrate’s Court and the Members of the Kandy Bar, led by its President, Mr. Nilantha Perera.
My association with Mr. Maharoof was from 1980, from the time I joined the Kandy Bar and ever since I have been in and out of his Chambers. I take great pleasure and honour to write these few lines about him.
Mr. S.H.M. Maharoof, President’s Counsel, died on the 17th of November, 2014 at the age of 85, after being in active practice for over 54 years. He was conducting trials upto the time of his death. Mr. Maharoof had a very lucrative, extensive and wide civil practice mainly in the District Court of Kandy. He had appeared in many important civil cases in Kandy. He also appeared in cases in several courts covering the Central Province, such as, Matale, Hatton, Gampola, Nuwara Eliya and Kegalle.
He was a much sought-after counsel for civil matters. He mainly specialized in the Law of Partition and Land Law.
He reached the summit of his legal career when he was appointed President’s Counsel in the year 1993, and was the third President’s Counsel from the Kandy Bar after Mr. Fred De Silva, PC and Mr. Stanley Martin, PC.
Mr. Maharoof was born in Katugastota and had his education at St. Anthony’s College, Kandy. Thereafter, he entered the Law Faculty of the then University of Ceylon and passed the Attorney’s finals at the Law College with first class honours. The former Chief Justice, G.P.S. de Silva and Mr. Karawita, Attorney-at-Law of the same batch also obtained first class honours.
His batch at the Law Faculty of the then University of Ceylon had only nine students and five of them were appointed President’s Counsels including Mr. Maharoof. The other four were the former Foreign Minister, late Mr. Lakshman Kadirgarmar, the leading Criminal Lawyer late Mr. Ranjith Abeysuriya, leading civil appellate court practitioner, N.R.M. Daluwatte, and late Mr. Bacon Abeykoon, former President of the Bar Association.
After taking oaths as an Advocate, young Mr. Maharoof joined the Chambers of the late Mr. Neville Samarakoon, Queen’s Counsel, former Chief Justice. He learnt his Civil Work under late Mr. Neville Samarakoon, QC for a few years. Thereafter, he returned to his hometown Kandy and built up his civil practice.
He was a hard working counsel and was always well prepared for his cases. He was exceptionally brilliant in cross-examining witnesses. He strategically cross-examined witnesses to get evidence in favour of his client’s case, which everyone found very interesting and thrilling in court.
He treated the clients equally, irrespective of their race, caste, creed or status. He led a very simple and a humble life. All lawyers and litigants enjoyed witnessing his well prepared and convincing arguments, challenging the case of the opponent Counsel in Court. His good sense of humour made cases interesting and many stories could be related of his witty jokes and comments when conducting trials.
He was a very decent and well mannered person who maintained high dignity and high professional standards and always respected Court. He was very courteous to the judges and the opposing counsels. He never made any personal remarks at the opposing counsel and never carried malice towards anyone.
When appearing in cases he always placed the correct position of the Law and before Court and was very honest and truthful in his arguments. He never misled Court on the law in order to gain any undue benefits or orders for his client’s case.
He was very helpful to the junior lawyers and was very friendly in court. His good sense of humour made everyone comfortable.
His graceful mannerism and etiquette was always respected by the Judges and the bar.He was the President of the Bar Association of Kandy and was also a Zonal Vice President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka.
He was the Chairman of the Water Board of Sri Lanka and was a member of the University Grants Commission. He was also a member of the Public Service Commission of the Central Province from its inception up to October, 2003.
Mr. Maharoof was involved in several social and community services. He was the President of the OBA of St. Anthony’s College Kandy, and was the Vice-Patron for several years. He was an active member of the OBA for more than 50 years. He was awarded the Antonian “Super Eagle” in 1991 in recognition of his dedicated service to his Alma Mater and at the 150th Anniversary celebrations of St. Anthony’s College, in 2004 he was conferred with the “Antonian Award of Excellence” for achievements in his career.
He was the President of the Central Province Muslim League and a Charter Member of the Lions Club of Kandy.
A few months before his death, he celebrated the 50th anniversary of wedded life with his wife, Ayesha who hails from a highly respected family of Ayurvedic Physicians in Mawanella. He has three children, Irshad in USA, and the other two Murshid and Shakila in the legal profession. The Kandy Bar Association has appropriately honoured this legal luminary and a gentleman with grace who looked for justice, truth and righteousness, by unveiling his portrait at their Law Library.