Written by Tharushan Fernando
25 Feb, 2017 | 7:55 pm
President Maithripala Sirisena has given an assurance that the government is committed towards creating an impartial and independent Judiciary.
Making a statement in Polonnaruwa on Saturday, the president commented on the pressure exerted by the former government on the judiciary.
“… When I was serving as the Minister of Agriculture, I recall a request made by a lady to fill five acres of paddy land located in Nugegoda. She went to courts and then to the Supreme Court. The Commissioner of Agrarian Services informed the Supreme Court that under this act, such a operation cannot be done. This took place in 2007. The then Chief Justice chaired the bench and he said to disregard the act and permit the filling of the five acres of land. That is how verdicts were delivered back then”.
The president recalled the instance when the former chief justice was stripped of his title because of the Divineguma Act.
During the president’s tenure during the previous administration, as the Minister of Health, a drugs act was prepared but it ‘disappeared’ and when the Head of the Legal Draftsman was questioned on the delay while the Divineguma Act took only a matter of weeks, the response was that the Divineguma Act was prepared by the Legal Draftsman, but instead was prepared and sent and the Draftsmen had to only grant approval and forward it to the Attorney General.
“We have put an end to the issue of bringing International Judges to the country “, said President Sirisena
The Minister of Justice and Minister of Buddha Sasana explained that the external pressure for international judges have come upon as a result of an era where allegations were levelled at the judiciary and when it was in shoddy state which led to the people losing faith in the judiciary.
“It is because of this very reason that there was external pressure for international judges. We did not accept it back then. We do not accept it now. And we will not accept it in the future. You aware that an independent judiciary functions in the country.
Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe added that this move was not accepted in the past will not be accepted in the future, and allegations regarding the judiciary are being raised by the ‘rulers who engaged in a ruffian form’ of governance where they held a Kangaroo Court for the Former Chief Justice and organised Milk-Rice Dhansalas so that she could not even open the gates to her house.
“Persons who appointed the sons of their relatives to the positions of justices rather than appointing those who topped the competitive examination for magistrates, are the ones making these allegations. All I can say is that the only way for such persons, to track down who destroyed the independence of the judiciary is by going before the mirror.”
He added that the era where lawyers and judges working in opposition to the government being reported has passed.
“We have experiences. When we were serving as lawyers, an intelligence officer or a lawyer attached to the Presidential Secretariat would come to the court and see which lawyer and judge is working against the government. They report it immediately. We have passed such an era …”.
President Maithripala Sirisena laid the Foundation Stone for the New Courts Complex proposed to be constructed in Polonnaruwa. Minister of Justice Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, Chief Justice K. Sripavan and several other were among those present at the occasion.
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