Faisz Musthapha

From TobaccoUnmasked


Image 1: Faisz Musthapha in the launch of the Sri Lanka’s first ever TV channel catering to the Sri Lankan Muslim community. He addressed the participants of the launch. “From Right: M Imtiaz (Chairman, National News Agency Ltd, operating firm of Serendib TV), Karu Jayasuriya (Member of Parliament), Bin Saleh Al Dawood (Representative of World Muslim League), A. J. M. Muzammil (Mayor of Colombo), Faiz Mustafa (Senior President's Counsel), Rishad Bathiudeen (Minister of Industry and Commerce), and Basil Rajapaksa (Economic Development Minister) at the launch of Serendib TV, newspaper and Radio Channel at Kingsbury Hotel, Colombo on 16 December 2014.”[1]

Faisz Musthapha (sometimes referred to as Faiz Musthapha), is a “President’s Counsel Learned in Law”, commonly known as President’s Counsel (PC).[2][3] It is a high-rank appointment for Attorneys-at-Law in Sri Lanka coinciding the British ‘Queen’s Counsel’ appointments. PC appointments are made by the President of Sri Lanka based on professional eminence and conduct.[4] Musthapha is the son of S. M. Musthapha, a lawyer from Kandy. In the media Musthapha family is referred to as a family with “four generations of lawyers”. Musthapha’s son, Faiszer Musthapha, is a President’s Counsel, Parliamentarian and a cabinet Minister, who was also appointed as the Legal Advisor to the President of Sri Lanka since 2015.[2][3] His daughter, Faisza Musthapha, was appointed as the President of the Companies Disputes Board in 2013. [5] The Musthapha family is recognized as a prominent family in the Sri Lankan Muslim community (Images 1 & 2).[2][3][1][6][7][5]

Image 2: Musthapha, as the chief guest, presenting an award of excellence to a student from Hejaaz International School in its annual prize giving 2013[7]

Musthapha served as the Chairman of the Human Rights Commission from 2000 to 2003 and Sri Lankan High Commissioner in the United Kingdom from 2002 to 2005.[8][9]

Musthapha was involved in many nationally relevant court cases referred to as ‘controversial’ by the media.

  • In 2017, represented Central Bank of Sri Lanka in the case against the former Governor Arjun Mahendran in the alleged Central Bank bond scam.[10][11][12]
  • In 2016, a graduate of South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM), submitted a petition against the SAITM, Ministry of Higher Education, University Grants Commission, Ministry of Health and the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) for not being awarded SLMC registration. Musthapha represented SAITM in the case.[13][14][15]
  • In 2012, defended Minister Rishard Bathiudeen in a case against him on contempt of courts.[16]
  • In 2008 he was involved in legal actions on the Hedging deal of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation in several ways. He represented Minister AHM Fowzie in the Fundamental Rights petition filed in the Supreme Court.[17] He was criticized for representing the opposition, The Deutsche Bank in the UK High Court in a different court case on the same matter.[18] Musthapha represented PB Jayasundera, the Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, in his appeal against the impeachment from his post due to the deal.[19]

Tobacco Related Activities

As of 2017, according to the publically available information, Musthapha represented the Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC (CTC) in two court cases;

CTC’s Submission against the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA) Act Amendments

In 2015, President of Sri Lanka sought Supreme Court’s approval to amend the NATA Act. The aim of the amendment was to incorporate Pictorial Health Warnings (PHWs) covering 80% of the cigarette packs into the act. CTC was allowed to make a submission against it in the Supreme Court, which was done by Musthapha on behalf of the CTC.[20]

Case on Pictorial Health Warnings: CTC Vs. Minister of Health

In 2013, CTC filed a petition on Pictorial Health Warnings in cigarette packs (PHWs) against the then Minister of Health Maithripala Sirisena, challenging his authority to Gazette PHWs covering 80% of the cigarette packs.[21][22] Initially CTC was represented by Romesh De Silva, but he was later replaced by Mustafa.[23][24][25] For more details see Ceylon Tobacco Legally Challenging Pictorial Health Warnings in Cigarette Packs

Tobacco Unmasked Resources

Other relevant TobaccoUnmasked entries:

The local language translations



  1. 1.0 1.1 Asian Tribune. Historic media Serendipity for Lankan Muslims unveiled in Colombo, 16 December 2014, accessed May 2017
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 The Island. Father and son both President’s counsel, 15 November 2012, accessed May 2017
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 SS Selvanayagam. Fourth generation of Musthaphas forays into legal domain, 19 December 2011, accessed May 2017
  4. The Nation. Appointment of President’s Counsel, 28 March 2015, accessed May 2017
  5. 5.0 5.1 SS Selvanayagam. Faisza Musthapha appointed President of Companies Disputes Board, 23 December 2013, accessed May 2017
  6. Daily Nation. Faiszer Musthapha appointed as legal adviser to President, 27 May 2015, accessed May 2017
  7. 7.0 7.1 R. Farook. ‘Celebration of Excellence’ at Bishop’s auditorium, 22 July 2013, accessed May 2017
  8. Sri Lanka High Commission UK. The History of the High Commission, 2017, accessed May 2017
  9. Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka. Members of the Commission, 2017, accessed May 2017
  10. The Island. Romesh de Silva, PC leads Mahendran’s team of lawyers: Bond scam probe, 15 March 2017, accessed May 2017
  11. M Gunasekara, R Katugampola. Gov. Mahendran gave arbitrary instructions to raise interest rate while auction was on, says witness, Sunday Times (Sri Lanka), 26 March 2017, accessed May 2017
  12. SS Selvanayagam. As Counsel for CB Falls Sick, CA Defers Hearing on Perpetual Treasuries to March 10, 9 March 2017
  13. SS Selvanayagam. Court of Appeal to hear petition of SAITM students on 12 October, Daily FT, 7 July 2016, accessed May 2017
  14. D Manu. Rajapaksa regime’s SAITM sin puts joint opposition in a spin, The Sunday Times: Columns, 12 February 2017, accessed May 2017
  15. W Ramanayake. SLMC non-registration of SAITM grads: Two cases in court, The Sunday Times, 10 July 2016, accessed May 2017
  16. SS Selvanayagam. Contempt Case on Bathiudeen Fixed for Trial, Daily Mirror Sri Lanka, 6 September 2012, accessed May 2017
  17. S. Samarasinghe. Central Bank hand revealed as oil hedge boils over, The Sunday Leader Online, 30 November 2008, accessed May 2017
  18. Lanka News Web. Mohan Peiris’ failures cost millions to CPC, 20 August 2013, accessed May 2017
  19. D Bastians. CJ’s Husband’s Appointment to State Bank Grounds for Perceived Judicial Bias – New Public Interest Litigation Petition Says, Colombo Teregraph.com, 6 September 2012, accessed May 2017
  20. Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. Supreme Court Document S.C. (SD) No. 2/2015, 6 February 2015, accessed May 2015
  21. Court of Appeal Document. IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF THE DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF SRI LANKA, 22 February 2013, accessed May 2017
  22. The Sunday Times. SC gives CTC time to implement health warnings on cigarette packs, 03 March 2013, accessed May 2017
  23. Lanka News Web. Chief Justice to shows Ceylon Tobacco how to win an appeal, Exclusive, 06 August 2013, accessed May 2017
  24. DailyMirror (Sri Lanka). Pictorial warnings to cover 50-60% of cigarette packs, 13 May 2014, accessed May 2017
  25. SS Selvanayagam. Tobacco Company’s Appeal Deferred, Daily Mirror Sri Lanka, 29 May 2013, accessed May 2017