22 September, 2020

Blog

Appointment Of Jayawardena To SC Sends Shockwaves Across Entire Judicial System: UNP

As part of its plan to emasculate the country’s judiciary, the Rajapaksa government has deliberately made a mockery of important appointments in the judicial system, says the United National Party.

Priyantha Jayawardena

Priyantha Jayawardena

“The nearest example is the appointment of Priyantha Jayawardena as a Supreme Court judge above the heads of many eligible candidates, sending shockwaves across the entire judicial system of the country.” the UNP said today.

Issuing a statement the UNP said; “This was not the first time the present government acted in a dubious and non-transparent manner when it came to key appointments in the judiciary. They unabashedly violated long established traditions of the system and made the judicial service a safe haven for political stooges and henchmen. On the other hand, the government usurped the powers of the Constitutional Council set up by the 17th Amendment, with the implementation of the 18thAmendment which paved the way for family rule and autocracy.

“When it comes to appointments of the judiciary, factors such as eligibility, professional integrity, seniority and impartiality should be taken into consideration as the main criteria which determine the suitability of candidates. However, when considering the recent appointments in the judiciary including that of Priyantha Jayawardena it is crystal clear that the government pays little or no attention to such crucial factors and would go to any extent to handpick the “people they prefer”.

“Thanks to this arbitrary behavior shown by the government, the smooth functioning of the entire Legal System is now at stake.  As a result, the upward mobility in this system is becoming a privilege enjoyed by those who toe the line of the government. Legal practitioners with professional integrity have lost faith in the system which always gives preference to political allegiances over professional values and standards.

“The appointment of Judges is of pivotal importance not only to the judiciary and the legal fraternity, but also to the entire society as they make a strong impact on the day to day functioning of the society.

“The Constitutional Council, which functioned for a short period after the 17th Amendment was introduced, formulated a transparent mechanism to be followed pertaining to appointments of apex court judges. However, with the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, these essential safeguards were done away with. This was clearly demonstrated throughout the illegal impeachment of the 43rd Chief Justice, in January, last year. The President now wields immense power and authority in the system and is in a position to control the entire judiciary according to his or her own whims and fancies, much to the detriment of the people of Sri Lanka.

“As far as we know, at this point, there are three vacancies in the Supreme Court that need to be filled. One vacancy was created by the retirement of Justice Amaratunga and it has not been filled for the last 08 months. In addition, two more vacancies were also created by the end of March, taking the total up to three.

“It appears that the Executive has ignored the present President of the Court of Appeal Justice Sisira Abrew and the Solicitor General Y W Wijetilake. Two months ago another vacancy that came in the wake of the premature retirement of Justice Prem Ratnayake was filled after a hiatus of 08 months with the eighth Junior person in the hierarchy of the Attorney General’s Department. When making this appointment, President of the Court of Appeal late Justice SriSkandaraja and the Solicitor General were both overlooked. A few weeks later Justice Sriskandarajah passed away with a broken heart.

“Therefore, it is clear that the present government has breached age old traditions of the judicial service and circumvented the ‘hierarchy’ in the system in a bid to appoint political stooges to important positions. This has made a debilitating effect on the professional integrity of judges, ethics and values, plunging the entire system into a serious crisis.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 2
    2

    It is unbelievable that the rubbish idiots in the opposition (UNP) still fails to understand that there can’t be a place in the Judiciary for the government lawyers (those who wash the dirty linen of the regime).

    Good that they remain in the opposition for another decade or so until these fools understand the ground realities.

  • 1
    3

    Forget the seniority. Not always a good thing. It will be a good thing if person(s) with intimate knowledge of the competence and moral integrity of Priyantha Jayawardene can write under comments feature. If the guy is that bad perhaps he might commit suicide after reading the comments. That will be good. But if he has good morals and is competent then he will stay.. That’s also good. Come on experts .. lets hear from you

    • 0
      1

      Priyantha Jayawardena = Brilliant in Legal Profession + Magical Human being & not corrupt at all.

  • 2
    0

    Reading through the statement issued by UNP, I am happy that this party has even at a very late stage realized how bad these type of appointments are bad and why such should be condemned.

    It was during some years back when their own leader, Late MR. JRJ was in power appointed a very junior lawyer from Kurunegala to the the Supreme Courts. His name was Mr. Victor Perera. If I am wrong, some reader can correct me. In any case this does not exculpate the present President doing a similar thing. I strongly condemn such actions and regret to find that our President does not realize the damage he is doing to the Judiciary and denying promotional prospects of those dedicated to the discharge of judicial services in the country.

    No wonder, our country is looked down upon and rated to be punished internationally. In Buddhism, it is said” “if you do not have fear or shame, you would do anything bad and harmful” We see it happening here too.

    • 2
      0

      An early appointment from the bar to the Supreme court was in 1965 under the Dudley Senanayake UNP govt. It was that of the eminent jurist, Weeramantry. He was linked to the UNP. He adorned the bench maintaining the highest standards of conduct. The first really controversial appointment was In 1970. The SLFP govt of Mrs B appointed a former SLFP MP – Mr Jaya ptahirana, and also Mr T W Rajaratnam who was identified with the party, as Supreme Court Judges. No doubt both were competent men but the rulings of Justice P when the state was involved were questionable. Then JRJ in 1978, targeting Justice Pathirana, unceremoniously removed 12 judges of the SC and High court (the the 2nd highest court at the time). These “constitutional removals” were easily the worst attack on judicial independence, which may however, have been overtaken by M R’s “Kekilla removal” of the 43rd CJ. JRJ then appointed Neville Samarakoon as CJ – the 1st ever CJ from the unofficial bar who was also JRJs lawyer. But Neville was a man of honour & integrity. He accepted the position on condition of non interference and when JRJ failed to live up to his part of the bargain he stood up for the independence of the judiciary as none had since done. This resulted in ab aborted impeachment of Neville. He retired on reaching 65 yrs with his honour intact ( rare feature) to a life of retirement. These are but a few examples of political appointments. To avoid such situations we need to have a fair procedure.This was done with the 17th amendment to the constitution. But alas,this was all undone by the 18th amendment brought in by M R. The 18th amendment has again given a FREE & WILD hand to whoever that may become “His Majesty” the “elected” President of Sri Lanka to do as he or she wishes! Mind you also, the SC did not consider it necessary for the 18th amendment to go through a referendum before the people as most legal expects believe it should have. So please lets leave politicians and so called political loyalties aside and advocate the re introduction of a procedure on the lines of the 17th amendment, that MR destroyed.

  • 3
    1

    Ever since J R’s thugs stoned the house of a judge, we have been shocked at the goings on in the Judicial system. After a plethora of irregularities it is the people who are shocked that the Judicial system is capable of any feelings, anymore, let alone shock.

    Should we be so shocked though that the political class continue to abuse the Judicial system? Didn’t Colvin’s 1972 constitution elevate the National Assembly as the apex law making/judging authority in the land? Didn’t the leader of the opposition ask the speaker to reiterate the supremacy of parliament during the Shirani B impeachment?

    The Judiciary has been used as political tool since 72, perhaps we should stop being shocked when we are reminded of the fact from time to time. We could try and change the status quo but that would require effort and time and who has any of that to spare?

  • 1
    5

    Doe they want President of the BASL appointed .?

    • 7
      1

      K.A Sumanasekera

      “Doe they want President of the BASL appointed .?”

      You really need to get some rest. Go to bed sleep like Kumbhakarna and wake up when MR clan really needs you or when people put him behind Bars.

      You can sleep on Supreme Court Bench.

      I can assure you we won’t miss you.

      • 2
        0

        It appears KAS has not taken his prescribed medications!

  • 2
    0

    The people get the govts they deserve and govts appoint judges they feel the people deserve – Unless the people understand this the tragedy will,continue.

  • 2
    0

    The two previous appointments made by the president will be condemmened by all right thinking people. In the context of the present situation in sri lanka , and specially the attack on the independence of the judiciary commenced after the removal of CJ Shirani Bandaranayake these appointments can be considered a naked attempt at subverting the independence as well as the respect for the judiciary. Judiciary is not something like the diplomatic service or the airlanka where the president can appoint any catcher or even a proven “failure” as long as he is a family member.Judges are there to protect the people and enforce the law.The president can appoint out-siders only if that person has exceptional abilities and proven sense of independence which makes him much superior to those in the line like other judges or people in the Attorney Generals Department.Last month the president appointed a junior AGs man called Aluvihara. There were 8 others above him in the AGs Department .Why ? Now president has appointed a unknown man called Justice Priyantha. Why ? Is it to improve the Supremee Court or to have a court which will always support the president ? This is becoming like the Tangalle murder and the attack on the UNP MPs visiting the Hambantota harbour. Only those the president wants will be prosecuted. One day this president must answer the question whether he deliberatly subverted the law and the constitution by preventing/interfering in criminal investigations.Do we have a rule of law in this country ? We cannot also forget the Chief Justice who does not worry about the state of the judiciary as long as his wife can practice law and do business !

  • 2
    1

    Mohan Peiris will now have more comfortable company. When will this painful journey of the destruction of our once eminent judiciary end?

    • 0
      0

      It will end only if the authorities raise the admission requirements to law college from just 3 simple passes to something more. Even Abans cleaning service personals have better A/L results. I always wondered why UNP lawyers walk behind their leader Ranil Wickramasinghe. It is because they are scared to let him walk behind you.

  • 0
    0

    There is no impartial or independent judiciary or justice system in our country. All these corrupted politicians (SLFP and Unp) have participated in this process. This is the maximum damage they could do to all the people of this country. When we dont recognize this chief justice as a independent or responsible or impartial person , how can someone expect others to recognize this man as a impartial judge? What UNP could do is to identify the pros and cons for future actions and prepare a necessary action plan for present and future actions. We do not want to see this in the future.maaffia run administration can violate all norms. But diecent administration will not tolerate such malpractices and autocracies.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 7 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.