UNP "concern" over Judge's interdiction

[TamilNet, Monday, 11 October 1999, 20:06 GMT]
Sri Lanka's main opposition party, the United National Party (UNP), has requested the Judicial Service Commission to issue a statement regarding the interdiction of the Colombo Fort Magistrate.

Mr.Gamini Atukorale, Member of Parliament and the General Secretary of the UNP in a statement issued today said:

gamini_athukorale.jpg"The United National Party regards with concern recent controversies, which have found expression in the national Press surrounding more than one serving judicial officer. Certain earlier news items concerned disciplinary action taken against two such officers by the Judicial Services Commission.

"The most recent concerns the interdiction last Friday of the Colombo Fort Magistrate, a senior judicial officer.

"A strong judiciary is the bedrock of a democracy. The independence of action of judges must be protected. Whilst the erring must be necessarily be reprimanded to protect public confidence in the judicial system, nevertheless it is important that room must not be left for public misgivings as to the reason why action is being taken against a particular judicial officer at a particular juncture.

"The public has the democratic and constitutional right to know the reasons for such action.

"The Colombo Fort Magistrate is the judge hearing the legal proceedings connected with the Channel 9 controversy. It may well be that his interdiction is unconnected to those proceedings.

"But since inquiry into an earlier complaint lodged with the Bribery Commission upon Channel 9 issue remains uninvestigated by the government's action of immobilising the Commission by withdrawing its investigating staff, doubts should not be allowed to arrive in the public mind.

"The above circumstances and the interests of the authorities themselves call for an early and clear statement by the Secretary of the J.S.C. giving reasons for the interdiction.

"Such a statement can in no way prejudice the rights of either the JSC or the judicial officer concerned, and should therefore not be allowed on such grounds.

 

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