Peace for the World

Peace for the World
First democratic leader of Justice the Godfather of the Sri Lankan Tamil Struggle: Honourable Samuel James Veluppillai Chelvanayakam

Saturday, July 29, 2017

More lawyers push BASL over judicial independence et al



by Shamindra Ferdinando- 

A section of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) membership has called for special general meeting to discuss ways and means of preventing continuing intimidation of judges, undermining of judicial independence, inordinate delay in implementation of laws and seriously disappointing administration of justice as well as rule of law.

A list containing 30 signatures of lawyers representing BASL branch associations had been tendered to Amal Randeniya, Secretary to the BASL, in addition to a list of 104 signatures submitted earlier seeking an early special general meeting.

A spokesperson for the group told The Island that the additional list had to be tendered in accordance with the Article 12 A of the BASL Constitution as the BASL had asserted the original list didn’t meet requirement to call for special general meeting.

The attorney-at-law said that as they were keen to take up issues pertaining to the judiciary, the BASL could provide for, what he called an opportunity to discuss contentious matters, including the appointment of defeated and rejected candidates through the National List on the basis of inclusion of a flawed clause through devious means to the Article 99A of the Constitution at the behest of the then President J.R. Jayewardene. The Article 99 A of the Constitution was meant to ensure that those who had been named in respective National List of political parties tendered to the Elections Commissioner in the run-up to parliamentary polls were appointed as National List members.

Attorney-at-law Nagananda Kodituwakku told The Island yesterday that he expected BASL to summon proposed special general meeting in early Sept as he was leaving for the UK over the weekend for a month long stay there.

Kodituwakku said he was pushing for a bench of ten Supreme Court judges to determine the writ application filed against the Commissioner of Elections on Oct 13, 2015 regarding the appointment of those who hadn’t been qualified in terms of the recommendations made by Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) headed by the then Prime Minister Ranasinghe Premadasa.

Kodituwakku has complained that though his writ application should have been disposed of within two months filing of the case in terms of Article 104H of the Constitution, tangible measures were yet to be taken nearly two years after him seeking Supreme Court intervention.

On behalf of those who had been seeking BASL intervention to secure 10 judge bench on the National List issue, Kodituwakku, who also holds British citizenship, has written to Secretary General, Patricia Scotland, QC, Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth Secretariat, London.

Kodituwakku has sought a meeting with the Commonwealth Secretariat to discuss the situation here as Sri Lanka as a member of the Commonwealth couldn’t pursue policies detrimental to much touted Latimar Principles.

Commenting on his decision to take judicial independence here with the Commonwealth Secretariat, Kodituwakku said that the UK couldn’t turn a blind eye to what was happening here against the backdrop of UK committing funds to strengthen the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC). Kodituwakku, in his latter, has explained the circumstances under which the change of government had taken place in January, 2015 and the subsequent failure on the part of the new administration to honour commitments given to the international community, including Britain.