By Colombo Telegraph –
The ceremonial sitting that was held in breach of traditions that has been followed for well over 200 years was boycotted by Bar Association of Sri Lanka and all leading Presidents’ Counsel in the Country. All local and international media were prevented from entering the Supreme Court complex and not allowed to cover the ceremonial sitting.
For the first time in the history the Ceremonial sitting to welcome new Chief Justice was held under heavy police protection as has never seen before. Those who did not grace the occasion and notably absent President’s Counsel were Wijedasa Rajapakse, K. Kanag-Isvaran, Romesh de Silva, Ikram Mohamed, Srinath Perera, Dr. Jayampathy Wickremaratne, Geoffry Alagaratnam, Jayantha Gunasekera, Anil Silva, Ananda Wijesekera, Maureen Seneviratne, Rohan Sahabandu, Uditha Egalahewa, Prasanna Jayewardene, Maithree Wickremasinghe, Harsha Amarasekera, Nalin Ladduwahetty and Senior Lawyers S.L. Gunasekera ,I.S. de Silva.
A ceremonial sitting of the Supreme Court is traditionally organized after the Bar Association of Sri Lanka makes an official request for a ceremonial welcome of Judge who is appointed to the Supreme Court.
Without such a request there cannot be an official ceremonial sitting. In the case of appointment of Mohan Pieris as the Chief Justice the Bar Association did not make such a request and in fact passed a resolution unanimously at an extraordinary meeting where well over 3000 of the Lawyers participated that the BASL will not participate in any such ceremonial sitting.
A Ceremonial Sitting involves two traditional addresses – one by the President of the BASL (the head of the unofficial bar) and another by the Attorney General (head of the official bar) welcoming the new appointee to office. The President of the BASL and its members cannot participate in any ceremony to welcome Pieris in keeping with the resolution of the BASL general body. All Attorneys at Law are members of the BASL, including the officers of the Attorney General’s Department.
In keeping with that resolution the Bar Association and its members and leading Presidents’ Counsel who form the inner Bar did not grace the occasion. There were pro Government Lawyers who are holding key posts in the Government Corporations and Departments who participated. There was not a single President’s Counsel with a standing who was willing to break the tradition and go against the resolution passed by Bar Association of Sri Lanka.
However, breaking all traditions Razeek Zarook, President’s Counsel the recently appointed Chairman of the Bank of Ceylon, has made a welcome speech.