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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Registrar is a Sister of Judge: Conflict of Interests in the Supreme Court

( Justice Sri Pavan was appointed by President Sirisena)

Registrar of the ‘Yaha Paalana’ Supreme Court in Sri Lanka Maheshi Jayasekara is a sister of SC judge Priyantha Jayawardena. In any other country, this is clearly deemed a case of conflict of interests, but chief justice of the ‘Yaha Paalana’ government Kanagasabapathi Sri Pavan does not appear to care about it.

That is just one malady that has been contracted by Sri Lanka’s SC.

Tissa Ekanayake, the husband of Chandra Ekanayake, who was the acting CJ on several occasions, was a manager of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s 2010 presidential election campaign. At that time, he had his office at Temple Trees. All appointments to the superior courts in Sri Lanka that had been made during the past under the 18th amendment to the constitution, irrespective of whether the appointees were qualified or not, could be treated as political appointments.

Therefore, just because president Maithripala Sirisena says that the judiciary does not receive telephone calls from the President’s House, that does not mean that the judiciary appointed by Mahinda Rajapaksa has all of a sudden become independent.

That is nothing but the truth, which is demonstrated by Eva Wanasundara, who has publicly admitted that Mahinda Rajapaksa is a closest friend of hers, when she took up the fundamental rights petition filed by Gotabhaya Rajapaska.

Why does CJ Sri Pavan, a contemporary of Mahinda Rajapaksa at Law College, permitted a two-member panel to hear Gotabhaya’s petition, after justice Buwaneka Aluvihare withdrew from the case.

Although Sri Pavan was the most senior judge, president Sirisena appointed him as the CJ as per the provisions in the notorious 18th amendment which Rajapaksa got passed within two weeks by bribing the MPs.

It is not a secret that not just the former Rajapaksa regime, certain MPs and ministers in Yaha Paalanaya’ too, do not want to see a truly independent judiciary.

Health minister Rajitha Senaratne, a closest friend of the president, was a ‘judge’ in the notorious no-confidence motion against CJ Shirani Bandaranayake.

Since both Senaratne and justice minister Wijedasa Rajapaksa did not want to see Bandaranayake becoming the CJ again, she was forced to retire within one day of resuming her position.

In this situation, it has become a need of the times to establish a truly independent judiciary by rescuing the judiciary from the shadows of the Rajapaksa regime as well as certain sections of the present administration.

It is due to this situation that Ravaya editor K.W. Janaranjana and other activists for democracy are requesting all judges in the superior courts to resign to pave the way for the constitutional council to make fresh appointments following the passage of the 19th amendment.

It is time to make that request again and again.


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