Justice Minister urges Opposition not to malign judiciary without knowing the law

Mohamed Ali Sabry in Sri Lanka Parliament

Justice Minister Ali Sabry on Saturday (27) urged Opposition MPs to be fair when they spoke about the judiciary as their speeches and innuendos could lead to an erosion of public faith in the judiciary.

Participating in the third reading debate on budget 2021, the minister said:

“I have noticed that some members in the Opposition make various remarks on some recent judgments. They really do not know the danger of what they are doing. Remember when you are in trouble and lose it all and nowhere to go, judiciary is the last resort. So, your ill-conceived comments will have a boomerang effect on you someday.

“It is incumbent upon all of us to protect the independence of the judiciary not for the sake of the government or the Opposition but for the sake of the people. Remember the judges would not give verdicts or rulings to make each and everyone happy. Not that all would be happy to hear some judgments. Those judgments are given after considering the evidence before them.

“They do not give rulings that make the government happy or the Opposition happy. Recently, decisions in several cases were given. The civil appellate court had given 67 judgments while the Court of Appeal gave 30 judgments. Some of those cases had been built on trumped up charges by several politicians of the former government. You created the FCID illegally. It was an illegal division, because the IGP is not empowered to create new divisions within the police. That power is with the minister as per the Police Ordinance. Then there was an anti-corruption unit.

“These outfits were created for political witch-hunts. They also set up new courts, not for the needs of the people but to advance their political agendas. So, the cases filed in such a manner will not stand judicial scrutiny. That was what exactly happened with regard to the case involving Lalith Weeratunga and Anusha Palpita. That was a case on fabricated evidence. That was why they had been acquitted. Even in the case of MP Pillayan the same happened. He was taken in five years back on a confession report. The court decided that confession was not true and legitimate. Once it was thrown out there was not a single bit of evidence against MP Pillayan. So, what is the purpose of keeping him further if there are no charges against him? Just because you do not like the decision you cannot blame the court. I do not mind anyone arguing or making speeches after reading at least the judgment in full.

“I table the judgments of Lalith Weeratunga and Anusha Palpita case and the MP Pillayan’s case so that the Opposition MPs could read them. I have been a lawyer for 25 years and for eight years I worked as a President’s Counsel, and, therefore, I know. That is why I am asking you to be careful when you make speeches about the judiciary. It is our duty as members of the legislature to protect the independence and the dignity of the judiciary.”

(Source: The Island – By Saman Indrajith)