19 September, 2020


BASL Remains In Stony Silence On 20th Amendment: Act Immediately LfD Tells BASL

‘Lawyers for Democracy’ is deeply concerned of the stony silence of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) on the attempt by the government to adopt the 20th Amendment which will strike a painful blow on the independence of the judiciary.

Kalinga Indatissa PC – President BASL

 Issuing a statement the convener of the Lawyers for Democracy, Lal Wijenayake said: “The disinterest shown by the BASL when the whole country is involved in a serious discussion on the attack on the independence of the judiciary and in fact on democracy itself is most surprising.  

“The arrogation of the power of appointment of judges to the Superior Courts by the President and the bringing the Judicial Service Commission directly under the control of the President by changing the composition of the JSC is a serious step towards the control of the judiciary. Under the 19th Amendment JSC was constituted of the Chief Justice, the most senior next judge of the Supreme Court and the most senior judge of the Supreme Court with experience on the working of minor judiciary. In the proposed 20th Amendment the composition of the JSC will be the Chief Justice as President of the JSC and 2 other judges of the Supreme Court appointed by the President. Further it is set out that the President can remove the two judges appointed by him at any time without assigning any reason. This shows the arrogance and disrespect towards the judiciary.

“It is the BASL that led the historical struggle in the run up to 2015 Presidential election against the attempt to control the judiciary. The struggle led by the BASL against the removal of Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake paved the way towards the protection of the independence of the judiciary. 

“The BASL is not a trade union of lawyers but it is the professional body of lawyers that is vested with the task of protecting the rights of the legal profession and more importantly the dignity of the profession and judicial independence.

“We ‘Lawyers for Democracy’ call upon the BASL to act immediately to express the views of the Bar on the 20th Amendment.”

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Latest comments

  • 23

    What GOTA and his toadies are doing is the real contempt of court, not what Ranjan Ramanayake was accused of.

  • 17

    Our objectives – To Maintain the honor and independence of the Bar of Sri Lanka
    (from the BASL website)
    Actual objective – to stay silent when chance of becoming a judge or PC (formerly QC) is in danger.

    • 19

      12 judges have been appointed by Gota. Do you expect the them to give verdict against this government during the tenure of their office? On what basis were they appointed?

      • 2

        Yes I can single out one who has been independent so far – Ms. Lanka Jayaratne. Others I do not know.
        There are some – very few mothers do have them, you know – like Neville Samarakoon who stood firm against JRJ who appointed him and Shirani Bandaranayake who stood firm against Dr. GL – her protege.
        Judge not everyone by the likes of Sarath Silva or Mohan Pieris.

  • 3

    Srilanka is the cesspit of the world. BASL is right in it. There is a powerful Mafia dictating terms to it. The officials guarding BASL are only thin bamboo sticks.

  • 4

    What do expect from payday attorneys

  • 2

    BASL lost its reputation and Kalinga is the best to be as he is.

  • 1

    BASL silent. Yes. WHY? The President has announced that he was the “ARCHITECT” of the “20A” and has “Dictated” that it would be presented to Parliament in its original form. The Cabinet spokesman Mr. Keheliya Rambukwella has said at a Media Briefing. The Cabinet has “Approved” it too. The report of the Committee appointed by the PM was not tabled at the Cabinet meeting. The President says: “I have got a “Mandate” to do what I want”. All are “SILENT”. The “DIRECTIVE” is “DO WHAT I SAY. IF NOT GET OUT OF MY WAY”. Anything else BASL could do? NO.

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