PRESIDENT’S COUNSEL, senior lawyers ask CJ


Chief Justice  Nalin Perera

A group of prominent President’s Counsels and senior lawyers will hand over a petition to Chief Justice Nalin Perera today asking that action be taken against UPFA MP S.B. Dissanayake over Contempt of Court.

A prominent lawyer told the Daily News that the petition is to express their grave concerns of a contemptuous statement made by Dissanayake last week who alleged that Judges have to meet Constitutional Council members in the night to gain their promotions to the superior courts.

“The Bar is well aware of the fact that none of the judges who were approved for appointment once recommended by the President, have not had ‘private meetings’ with any of the members of the Constitutional Council to ensure their appointment to the Apex Court,” the lawyers said in the petition.The lawyers in their petition underlined that the derogatory remarks by Dissanayake challenge “the independence, the character and the integrity of a judge which has been cherished and preserved at all cost”.

“It also causes grave and irremediable damage to the integrity to the institution and to those Judges who have been approved by the Constitutional Council for appointment. We consider this as a matter fit to be dealt with under Article 105 of the Constitution as a gross contempt of Your Lordship’s Court which should be taken notice of and acted upon immediately as a matter of urgency,” the petitioners further said.

The petition reminded that the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka has been subjected to similar attacks from time to time and the Bar “has stood by the hallowed Temple of Justice to face such invasions and trespass with fortitude and resilience”.

The petition pointed out that the process of appointing judges to the superior courts came under severe criticism prior to the 19th Amendment to the Constitution as “the executive discretion was much questionable and arbitrary since the abrogation of the 17th Amendment by the 18th Amendment”.

“The re-introduction of the Constitutional Council under the 19th Amendment to the Constitution is in keeping with the Latimar House Principles of the Commonwealth. The 19th Amendment ensures the appointment of honourable judges with decorum, eminence and skill. It has also become an imperative requirement that the opinion of the Chief Justice be obtained by the Constitutional Council. It was the same Constitutional Council that approved the appointment of two Chief Justices and many other honourable judges of skill, integrity and eminence, which the nation and the bar can be proud of,” the petition added.


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