Citizens' Mail | Daily News

Citizens' Mail

Safety of the people’s sovereignty shall be the highest law

The Supreme Court is the highest court of Sri Lanka. The Supreme Court is the highest and final judicial instance of record and is empowered to exercise its powers, subject to the provisions of the Constitution. The Court has ultimate appellate jurisdiction in constitutional matters, and takes precedence over all lower Courts. The Sri Lanka judicial system is a complex blend of both common-law and civil-law. In some cases such as capital punishment, the decision may be passed on to the President of the Republic for clemency petitions.

The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka was created on April 18, 1801 with the “Royal Charter of Justice of 1801 of King George the 3rd establishing the Supreme Courts of the Island of Ceylon” by the British, who controlled most of the island at the time, excluding the inland territory of Kandy. This creation was repealed in 1833 and replaced by a new Charter covering the whole of the island. In 1972 the country gained its independence as Sri Lanka and adopted a new Constitution.

The court consists of the Chief Justice and not less than six and not more than ten other Judges, appointed by the President, upon the President’s recommendation for such appointment to the Constitutional Council is approved by the Council.

The Chief Justice, The Justices of the Supreme Court and The Justices of the Court of Appeal are addressed as Your Lordship and receive the title The Honourable Justice.

In the current divisive political environment, the Supreme Court deserves to be seen as “above the fray” to preserve its legitimacy. The politicization of legal ideology might hurt the judiciary of this country.

Lionel Wijewardene


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