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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Politics ruined independent bodies – CJ

By Saroj Pathirana

Efforts to reduce the sweeping powers of the executive president failed due to the actions of Sri Lanka’s opposition, says the chief justice.

CJ Asoka de Silva said the status quo of the 1978 constitution that authorised the executive president to make all senior appointments to the judiciary was re-established by the 18 amendment as a result.

“Before the 17 amendment, the president or the prime minister had the discretionary power to make appointments to the judiciary,” he told BBC Sinhala service, Sandeshaya.

“The 17 amendment was brought to change that discretionary power.”


The amendment paved the way for the establishment of independent commissions for human rights, police, judicial affairs and elections.

 It might even be better if we re-consider the system again

But with the 18 amendment that was passed by the parliament as an Emergency Bill becoming the law, the executive president is once again empowered with making the appointments without seeking the approval of the Constitutional Council.

“I am not saying the old system is good but it is because of the failure of our political parties that we are back with the same old system.”

CJ Asoka de Silva retires from the office in May after serving two years in the office.

The outgoing chief justice said “it is always better” a combined opinion especially on appointment and changes to the judiciary “than one person’s discretionary power.”

“It might even be better if we re-consider the system again,” he told BBC Sinhala service.

BBC Sandeshaya will broadcast a series of interviews with the outgoing CJ during the next few days

BBC Sinhala


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