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Last updated: 07 June, 2009 - Published 14:29 GMT
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Sinhala heritage 'basis of demerger'
CJ Sarath N Silva
CJ says the court carefully studied the Sinhala heritage before making the ruling
The Supreme Court ruled to demerge the north and east after considering the Sinhala heritage in the provinces, the country's chief justice said.

Sarath Nanda Silva told a gathering in Trincomalee that the carefully studied the Sinhala heritage in the region before making the judgment.

The Supreme Court ruled in October 2006 that the merger of the north and east provinces in 1987 under the Indo-Lanka accord was against the country's constitution.

'Close friends'

The ruling was made after considering petitions by the Jathika Hela Urumaya and Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna political parties.

Mr. Silva, who retires this week after serving more than a decade as the most senior judicial officer, said Sinhala nationals have long been involved in developing Buddhist religious sites such as Somawathie and Seruvila in the north and the east.

The CJ, who declared open a series of new buildings made the remarks at the Seruvila Temple on Saturday evening.

Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa, MP, who took part in the event described how Mr. Silva and President Rajapaksa have been close friends for decades.

He said the CJ helped Rajapaksa family in troubled times.

It was Mr. Silva, then a state counsel, who helped transport Mahinda Rajapaksa, then a young politician, to visit his mother's funeral from a prison cell, Basil Rajapaksa said.

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