“I retired 2 years ago; I am a free citizen now”
Former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva said he could not be brought before a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) as he retired from service two years ago and that the President himself had given him a letter of commendation for his distinguished service in the Judiciary as the Chief Justice.
Addressing a public lecture titled ‘Good Governance and Corruption’ at the Trinity College Hall in Kandy on Saturday, the former Chief Justice said he firmly believed that this move was a case of victimization, since he was now speaking of human rights violations, corruption and the lack of good governance in the country.
He said that certain retired Judges had complained to the President regarding his conduct while he was the Chief
It appears, he said, that the President had decided to appoint a Parliamentary select committee on this matter. He said he had retired two years ago and that he was not amenable to the process of investigations by a select committee. He said he had relinquished office and is now speaking as a free citizen.
He said according to a photograph published in the newspapers the person seated close to the President was supposed to be a retired Judge Janaka Bandara.
He said he could clearly say that this person served the Judiciary for two years and that was also as an acting Magistrate. The former Chief Justice further said due to several complaints against him he wanted to resign and he was allowed to do so. At the time he resigned, the former CJ said he asked Janaka Bandara as to why he was resigning and he said he was offered the post of Public Trustee by the President. Accordingly, the former Chief Justice said immoderately he was appointed as the Public Trustee. Thereafter, the former Chief Justice Sarath Silva said there were complaints of violation of Fundamental Rights against him. He said he wrote to the President regarding this matter and then he said he was moving out from the post of Public Trustee and that he was appointed as an Ambassador in a Middle East country.
Thereafter, he said he had problems in that country as well and then was appointed as the Governor of the Sabaragamuwa Province.
Now, he said he was an appointed Member of Parliament of the United People’s Freedom Front. So he said he is by no means a retired Judge.
So, the Former Chief Justice said this move rose from a wrong source. He said action regarding Judges was taken by the Judicial Service Commission. There are records available, he said that two other persons who functioned in the Judicial Commission during his period, continued to serve in the judiciary at the moment. He said any inquiries or investigations could be made from them.
He added that the Judicial Services Commission comprised the Chief Justice and two others and any action taken by the commission was done by consensus and it was preposterous to allege that there should be a select committee against him only.
Former Chief Justice Sarath Silva said he would like to note that he was issued a letter dated 25th February 2009 by the President, who had commended him for the long period of legal service from October 1968. He said the President had stated that he served the people well and that he had left an indelible mark in the country as a Judicial Officer who had always acted for the aspirations of the people.