Speaker blocks UN Official from meeting Chief Justice, HC judges | Daily News


 

Speaker blocks UN Official from meeting Chief Justice, HC judges

Speaker of Parliament Karu Jayasuriya responding to calls in the House yesterday personally intervened to quickly prevent a visiting United Nations official from convening a meeting with the Chief Justice and justices of the High Court concerning specific cases being currently heard by the Court. After first listening to statements in the House by Opposition Leader and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and other MPs concerning the proposed meeting between this UN official and the CJ and his colleagues, the Speaker later informed the House that he had contacted Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana and had stopped the meeting.

Several MPs, including Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, had earlier made statements in the House yesterday afternoon raising concerns that the Foreign Ministry, through a letter sent to the Chief Justice, had attempted to arrange a consultation between the CJ and High Court judges and the visiting United Nations official.

 An Additional Secretary of the Foreign Affairs Ministry had written to the Chief Justice and High Court judges requesting them to provide a visiting UN official with details pertaining to three cases being heard currently.

Ministry Additional Secretary Ahmed A.Jawad had written to the Chief Justice and High Court judges that they should meet the visiting UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Freedom of Association and Peaceful Assembly, Clément Nyaletsossi Voule and his delegation and, provide them with details they required pertaining to the ongoing proceedings on the Roshen Chanaka murder case, Welikada prison massacre and Rathupaswala shooting incident.

MEP leader Dinesh Gunawardena tabled a copy of the letter stating, “This is a violation of the Constitution. Section 111.C of the Constitution outlines that the judiciary should not be influenced and the following sections outline the types of influence that should not be done. The Additional Secretary had acted in a manner violating the Constitution. This should be stopped.”

MP Dr. Wijayadasa Rajapakshe, joining the debate said: “The additional secretary has no mandate to do so. This letter amounts to contempt of Court. We could go before the Supreme Court against the minister and officials of the ministry which issued this letter. We may consider that option. This is illegal. This would set a wrong precedent if we permit it.”

NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa also expressed his views on the issue stating that: “This official should be summoned before the House and the MPs should be given the opportunity to question him on whose powers and instructions had he issued the letter.”

Opposition Leader Rajapaksa urged that the meeting should be stopped immediately. He demanded Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to use powers vested in him to prevent the gross violation of constitutional provisions ensuring the independence of judiciary.

Accordingly, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said he would look into the matter. “I have already informed the Secretary General to make inquiries,” he said.

However, Opposition Leader Rajapaksa notified the Speaker that it was already 3 p.m. at the time and that the Chief Justice and the High Court judges were instructed to shortly meet the UN official. Therefore, he requested the Speaker to take immediate action to prevent this.

In response, Speaker Jayasuriya promised to attend to it immediately. Later the Speaker informed the House that he had instructed the Foreign Minister to take necessary action to suspend the letter until the matter is looked into.

 


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