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FeaturesNewsBASL disturbed by unusual transfers of judicial officers ( who opposed the Impeachment)

BASL disturbed by unusual transfers of judicial officers ( who opposed the Impeachment)

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CJ Mohan Peiris at work

The Executive Committee of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) has appointed a subcommittee to look into the recent transfers of several district court judges and magistrates who have not even completed their tenure of three years in their courts.The transfers were made by the Judicial Services Commission chaired by Chief Justice 44 Mohan Pieris.

The BASL subcommittee includes its President Upul Jayasuriya, Vice President Prasanna Jayawardane, Srinath Perera and Sunil Cooray. A BASL spokesperson said they regarded these transfers as a disturbing development as they were contrary to the usual practice of annual transfers which normally took place at the beginning of the year. “These transfers have been given four months into the year, unsettling the family lives of judges and magistrates,” he charged.

Officials of the Judicial Services Association (JSA), which comprises more than 240 district judges and magistrates, had been especially targeted and almost all of them transferred out of their stations. The JSA had strongly opposed the impeachment of CJ 43, Shirani Bandaranayake after the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal declared the move was illegal and unconstitutional.

JSA President and senior District Judge Adthiya K. Patabendige who was serving as the Additional District Judge of the Kurunegala had been transferred to Wariyapola, where there were less than ten lawyers practising, he added.

There are stations with more lawyers and litigants which are usually given to the senior judges, which have been overlooked in this instance, he pointed out. Most of the JSA officials who have not completed their tenure of the usual three years have also been transferred.

Colombo Chief Magistrate Rashimi Singappuli has been transferred to Kaduwela. The BASL spokesperson pointed out that the usual practice was to promote the chief magistrate as district judge.“This is clearly a demotion,” the spokesperson declared.
 Of the seven magistrates of the Colombo Magistrate’s Courts, five have been transferred.

Notably among them was Additional Magistrate Sadun Vithana who was hearing the non-summary proceedings of the Bhratha Lakshman Premachandra murder case in which parliamentarian Duminda Silva is a suspect. He was transferred to Panadura Magistrate’s Court as an additional magistrate where there is only one serving magistrate, the spokesperson said.

If the position of the Judicial Services Commission is that it is effecting the annual transfers four months later, going by its own argument, then these judicial official would have served even less a term. This which was not rational, the spokesperson said.
 He noted that annual transfers did not mean that the judicial officers were annually transferred but they were transferred only after they completed their three-year term in a particular court.

He also pointed out Fort Magistrate Gihan Pilapitya who had served only a short period had been appointed as Colombo’s Chief Magistrate. A relatively junior magistrate from Matara had been appointed as the Colombo Fort Magistrate where senior judges are posted as sensitive cases are taken up there, he pointed out.

Meanwhile, an Additional District Judge who was interdicted by the earlier JSC headed by the Chief justice 43, Shirani Bandaranayake, has been reinstated by the new JSC. He had been interdicted for financial misconducts.

The new JSC comprises Chief Justice 44, Mohan Pieris (chairman) and two other Supreme Court Judges and it is responsible for the administration of the judges including their transfers.
ST

Legal profession jolted by shuffle in judiciary

Disturbed BASL appoints committee to work out action plan

As many as thirty judges from the minor judiciary have been transferred overnight by the Judicial Services Commission headed by Chief Justice 44 Mohan Peiris, causing a major uproar in the legal profession.The transfers would effectively mean that a total of 60 judges would be moved from their jurisdiction.

Officials of the Judicial Services Association (JSA), which comprises more than 240 district judges and magistrates, had been especially targeted and almost all of them transferred out of their stations. The JSA had strongly opposed the impeachment of CJ 43, Shirani Bandaranaike after the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal declared the move was illegal and unconstitutional.

JSA President and senior District Judge Adthiya K. Patabendige who was serving as the Additional District Judge of the Kurunegala had been transferred to Wariyapola, where there were fewer than ten lawyers practising, he added.“There are stations with more lawyers and litigants which are usually given to the senior judges. These stations have been overlooked in this instance,” a spokesperson for the Bar Association of Sri Lanka said.
Most of the JSA officials who have not completed their tenure of the usual three years have also been transferred. The Executive Committee of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) has appointed a subcommittee to look into the recent transfers of several district court judges and magistrates who have not even completed their tenure of three years in their courts.The BASL subcommittee includes its President Upul Jayasuriya, Vice President Prasanna Jayawardane, Srinath Perera and Sunil Cooray.

The BASL spokesperson said they regarded these transfers as a disturbing development as they were contrary to the usual practice of annual transfers which normally took place at the beginning of the year. “These transfers have been given four months into the year, unsettling the family lives of judges and magistrates,” he charged.
Among those judges who have not completed three years in their respective stations and transferred are: Additional District Judge Chandima Dela – from Kegalle to Matara; Additional Magistrate Prasanna Alwis – Colombo to Gampola; Additional Magistrate Tikiri Jayatikaka – Colombo to Gampaha; Additional Magistrate Sandun Vitana – Colombo to Panadura; Additional District Judge Amali Ranaweera – Colombo to Panadura; Additional District Judge R.S.S. Sapuwida – Colombo to Galle; Magistrate Udesh Ranatunga – Matara to Walasmulla; Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne – Kaduwela to Wattala; Magistrate Ranga Dissanayaka – Panadura to Puttalam; Additional District Judge Irshad Deen – Colombo to Attanagalla; Chief Magistrate Rashmi Singappuli – Colombo to Kaduwela as Additional District Judge; Magistrate Chanima Wijebandara – Ratnapura to Matugama.

Former Judicial Service Commission Secretary Manjula Tilakaratne has been transferred as Magistrate Naula (Dambulla) while Geethani Wijesinghe, former Secretary to the ousted Chief Justice, has been appointed as Mahiyangana Magistrate. Former Supreme Court Registrar Duminda Mudunkotuwa has been moved to Ampara as Magistrate.

Of the seven magistrates of the Colombo Magistrate’s Courts, five have been transferred. Notably among them was Additional Magistrate Sadun Vithana who was hearing the non-summary proceedings of the Bhratha Lakshman Premachandra murder case in which parliamentarian Duminda Silva is a suspect.

He was transferred to Panadura Magistrate’s Court as an additional magistrate where there is only one serving magistrate, the spokesperson said.If the position of the Judicial Services Commission is that it is effecting the annual transfers four months later, going by its own argument, then these judicial official would have served even less a term. This which was not rational, the BASL spokesperson said.

He noted that annual transfers did not mean that the judicial officers were annually transferred but they were transferred only after they completed their three-year term in a particular court. He also pointed out Fort Magistrate Gihan Pilapitya who had served only a short period had been appointed as Colombo’s Chief Magistrate.

A relatively junior magistrate from Matara had been appointed as the Colombo Fort Magistrate where senior judges are posted as sensitive cases are taken up there, he pointed out. Meanwhile, an Additional District Judge who was interdicted by the earlier JSC headed by the Chief justice 43, Shirani Bandaranayake, has been reinstated by the new JSC. He had been interdicted for financial misconducts.

The new JSC comprises Chief Justice 44, Mohan Pieris (chairman) and two other Supreme Court Judges and it is responsible for the administration of the judges including their transfers.
ST

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