The Judicial Service Association (JSA) of the judges has expressed their opposition to the appointment of Ramanathan Kannan as high court judge by the president. JSA says that this appoinment une counter to the promise made by the president to the judges , unlawful , unethical and in breach of legal traditions. In essence what the JSA is saying is that president’s appoinment is unlawful , unethical and in breach of legal traditions.
Thus the JSA has requested the president to rectify this mistake in accordance with section 111 (2)( b) of the constitution , by rescinding the appointment of Ramanathan Kannan as high court judge which would otherwise dent and damage the confidence reposed in the president .
The full text of the letter addressed to the president by the JSA follows:
6th of February 2017,
To His Lordship the Chief Justice and other honorable members of the Judicial Service Commission,
Through the proper channels,
Hon. Secretary, Judicial Service Commission,
Regarding The Appointment of Mr. Ramanathan Kannan as a High Court Judge from Unofficial Bar.
On 31st of January 2017, Several Judicial officers around the country has made quarries from the Judicial Service Association regarding the rumor circulated around the judicial circles about the appointment of a lawyer from unofficial bar directly as a High Court Judge. They have requested the Association to verify the said news and to take immediate step to safeguard the interests of the judicial officers of minor judiciary since such unprecedented appointment would affect the minor judiciary.
Since the power of appointing judges to the high court is vested with the President on the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission with consultation with the Honourable Attorney General, according to article 111(2) (a) of the Constitution, Executive committee members of Judicial Service Association met His Lordship the Chief Justice on the morning of 1st of February, 2017, to verify the said news and to inform the concerns of the judicial officers of minor judiciary.
At the said meeting His Lordship the Chief Justice informed us that said appointment was made on a request made by His Excellency the President due to an urge by the unofficial bar. We were further informed by his Lordship the Chief Justice has recommended the name of Mr. Ramanathan Kannan for the appointment as a Judge of the High Court.
On learning the involvement of the Bar Association and the events which led to appoint Mr. Ramanathan Kannan as High Court Judge, as transpired at the meeting with the His Lordship the Chief Justice, several Executive members of the Judicial Service Association has requested to convene an emergency Executive Committee Meeting urgently. As requested by members Exco meeting of Judicial Service Association was held on 3rd of February 2017.
On the said meeting, the executive committee came to aware that neither the Bar council nor the Executive Committee of the Sri Lanka Bar Association has taken a decision in this regard. Judicial Service Association has verified the said information from Sri Lanka Bar Association and it was confirmed that Sri Lanka Bar Association has never taken such decision.
It was clear from the information received, that some elements have in the pretext of Sri Lanka Bar Association has misled His Excellency the President and thereby His Lordship the chief Justice in this instance.
Since it was disclosed that the name of the Sri Lanka Bar Association has been misused in this instance by some elements, Executive Committee of the Judicial Service Association has decided to inform its displeasure and disapproval to Sri Lanka Bar Association in this regard and to request Sri Lanka Bar Association to inform its stance in this regard and to take necessary steps to rectify the situation created by the said appointment. Further the Judicial Service Association has decided to refrain from functioning as the presiding officers in upcoming election of Sri Lanka Bar Association in the event of failing to take necessary steps.
Since it is transpired that the recommendations were obtained by some elements by misleading and by misrepresenting facts to your Lordship the Chief Justice, in this regard, Executive Committee of the Judicial Service Association has decided to request your Lordship the Chief Justice and other Honourable members of the Judicial Service Commission to reconsider the above recommendation to appoint Mr. Ramanathan Kannan as High Court Judge. Further Judicial Service Association requests your lordships to recommend the removal of the said officer to His Excellency the President in virtue of Article 111(2)(b) of the Constitution, since the said appointment was made on the misrepresentation of the facts.
Secretary – JSA