Rulings on NE merger, P-TOMS by his predecessor according to constitution – CJ

[TamilNet, Saturday, 11 July 2009, 08:11 GMT]
Sri Lanka’s new Chief Justice Asoka de Silva who succeeded controversial Sarath Silva has said he is going to bring radical changes in the judicial administration of the country. “I will announce reforms to the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) that controls transfers and disciplinary action with the judiciary within next few weeks”, Justice Asoka de Silva told media, responding to two recent international reports on Sri Lankan judiciary. He said rulings on NE merger and Tsunami P-TOMS by his predecessor were given according to constitution.

The Chief Justice remarks came amid criticism over the manner his predecessor Sarath Silva controlled appointments, transfers and removal of lower court judges and blocked compromises with the Tamil minority.

The International Crisis Group (ICG) in its last week’s report accused Sri Lanka’s judiciary of failing to protect human rights. “The former Chief Justice Sarath Silva used those administrative powers of the JSC to punish judges out of step with his wishes and to reward those who toed the line” the report said.

Both the ICG and International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) have been highly critical of the conduct of former Chief Justice Sarath Nanda Silva who retired after nearly ten years in the office.

The new Chief Justice Asoka de Silva to media denied ICG accusations that “Rather than constraining militarization and protecting minority rights, a politicized bench under the just-retired chief justice has entrenched favored allies, punished foes and blocked compromises with the Tamil minority”.

Chief Justice Asoka de Silva said that former Chief Justice Sarath Silva’s ruling on north east merger and tsunami P-TOMS for example, were based on the country's constitution.

He further denied ICJ and IBAHRI accusations that the judiciary is politicized as a result of his predecessor's actions or due to influence by the executive. However he admitted there were concerns raised on some activities of his predecessor over the way he controlled judicial affairs.

 

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