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Felix Dias Bandaranaike (Sinhala:ෆෙලික්ස් ඩයස් බණඩාරනායක) (5 November 1930 – 26 June 1985) was a Sri Lankan politician who served as Cabinet Minister of Finance, Parliamentary Secretary for the Prime Minister and Defence and External Affairs (de facto foreign minister) (1960–1965) and Cabinet Minister of Justice (1970–77) in the cabinet of Prime Minister Mrs.Sirimavo Bandaranaike. He was a very popular person about the anti-corruption campaign and also known as the "virtual leader of the state" during the SLFP governments after the death of Prime minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike. He was very active in defeating two major coups against the government, one is 1962 attempted military coup and JVP's 1971 JVP Insurrection.[1][2][3][4][5]

Felix Dias Bandaranaike
Minister of Finance
In office
3 September 1975 – 18 May 1977
Prime MinisterSirimavo Bandaranaike
Preceded byN. M. Perera
Succeeded byRonnie de Mel
In office
21 July 1960 – 24 August 1962
Prime MinisterSirimavo Bandaranaike
Preceded byJ. R. Jayewardene
Succeeded byC. P. de Silva
Member of the Sri Lanka Parliament
for Dompe
In office
Preceded byConstituency Established
Succeeded bySarathchandra Rajakaruna
Personal details
Born5 November 1930
Colombo, British Ceylon
Died26 June 1985(1985-06-26) (aged 54)
Colombo, Sri Lanka
NationalitySri Lankan
Political partySri Lanka Freedom Party
Spouse(s)Lakshmie Dias Bandaranaike
(née Jayasundera)
Alma materRoyal College, Colombo, University of Ceylon


Family & educationEdit

Mrs.Lakshmie Dias Bandaranaike
(wife of Felix Dias Bandaranaike)

The son of Felix Reginald Dias Bandaranaike II, Judge of the Supreme Court and Freda Dias Abeysinghe and half brother of Prof. Michael Dias Bandaranaike who held the Chair of Jurisprudence at the University of Cambridge, he was also the nephew of Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike. He was an outstanding scholar at Royal College, Colombo, at the University of Ceylon and at the Colombo Law College, carrying away most of the prestigious prizes. After graduating he started his practice as a lawyer.

Felix Dias Bandaranaike married Elizabeth Muthulakshmi Jayasundera (known as Lakshmie Dias Bandaranaike). She is a graduate of the University of Ceylon (lawyer) and later became a member of the Inner Temple and also had a daughter named Christine. The family lived in the historic Maha Nuge Gardens in Colombo.

Political careerEdit

Following the assassination of S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, Felix entered politics to help his uncle's party. He was elected to parliament from the electorate of Dompe. In 1960 he became the youngest Cabinet Minister of Finance in the Commonwealth, at the age of 29 holding the post for twelve years in two governments. During this time he was also the Parliamentary Secretary for Defence and External Affairs. He played an important role in stopping the 1962 military coup, rounding up the coup leaders and even personally interrogating them. He took many drastic steps to bring to leaders to bar, when the current law of the country was found inadequate to try the leaders he had the new Criminal Law Special Provision Act of 1962 drafted and passed by parliament. Due to problems in implementing rice subsidies he resigned from the post of minister.

He was made Minister of Justice in 1970 when the SLFP won a major election victory gaining an overwhelming majority in parliament. The following year he played a major role in guiding the country though the 1971 JVP Insurrection. He was later made Minister of Finance as well. A stout loyalist of Sirimavo Bandaranaike, he supported her in having the government extended by two more years, then the six years it was elected for. After the major defeat of the SLFP in the 1977 elections, he was deprived of his civic rights.

Felix filed a court case in the 1980s against the State Film Corporation was released a film entitled "Sagarayak Meda" for public exhibition which was defamatory of him.[6]

Condolence Message from Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Margaret Thatcher

Felix filed several cases to prevent the abuse of power by the Government led by President Junius Richard Jayawardena. On 10 February 1978 the UNP government passed the Special Presidential Commissions of Inquiry Law No. 7 of 1978[7] to inquire into matters relating to alleged corruption during the 1970 – 1977 period. Felix successfully challenged the power of the Special Presidential Commission appointed to inquire against him.[8] Immediately thereafter the Parliament passed the Special Presidential Commissions of Inquiry (Amendment) Act No. 4 of 1978[9] to enable the Commission to re-inquire into the allegations.

Thereafter, Two Supreme Court Judges and One Court of Appeal Judge was appointed to inquire into the allegations including those against Felix. Appearing in person and arguing on the basis that one Judge, K. C. E. de Alwis was unfit to hear cases due to his financial involvement with a person being investigated A. H. M. Fowzie. The Supreme Court held (2:1 majority with Neville Samarakoon CJ dissenting) that de Alwis was a person unfit to hold the office of a Commissioner.[10] In this landmark case, it was held by Samarakoon CJ. that "Right‑minded people would not be unjustified if they look askance at other decisions of the 1st respondent. It might undermine that faith in the Commission itself which is necessary to command respect for its recommendations. This must be avoided, whatever the cost" reiterating emphatically the need to maintain judicial integrity and impartiality at all costs.[11]

Later he was diagnosed with cancer and left active politics. He died on 26 June 1985.

See alsoEdit


  • Sri Lanka: Third World Democracy (Studies in Commonwealth Politics and History, No 6) by James Jupp[12]


  1. ^ "18th death anniversary of Felix R. Dias Bandaranaike". Rootsweb. 26 June 2003.
  2. ^ "Help build a united Sri Lanka – Felix tells Tamils". Daily News. 5 November 2005. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 20 April 2008.
  3. ^ "Democracy and co-existence in a pluralistic society". Daily News. 5 November 2001. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011.
  4. ^ "Felix Dias undertook series of measures to modernise public service performance – Dr. Amunugama". Daily News. 28 June 2005. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011.
  5. ^ "Delayed Revolt". Time. 3 March 1961.
  7. ^ &path=5 "Special Presidential Commissions of Inquiry Law". Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  8. ^ CA/WRIT/01/1978
  9. ^ &path=5 "Special Presidential Commissions of Inquiry Law". Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  10. ^ "Bandaranaike v. de Alwis". Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  11. ^ ibid at p. 675.
  12. ^ "Publisher: Routledge, Date : 1 edition (20 July 1978), Language: English , ISBN 0-7146-3093-4, ISBN 978-0-7146-3093-9"

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