Speaker assures there will be no foreign intervention with judiciary

Karu Jayasuriya - Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya assured Parliament yesterday that in future no government official would be allowed to act in a manner detrimental to the sovereignty of the country.

He said that he had met Justice Minister, Thalatha Atukorale and the Foreign Affairs Ministry Secretary regarding the issue raised in Parliament by Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, MP Dinesh Gunawardena and MP Wimal Weerawansa yesterday that the Chief Justice and High Court judges had been asked to meet the visiting UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Freedom of Association and Peaceful Assembly, Clément Nyaletsossi Voule and his delegation.

The Speaker said he had learnt that based on a request by the Foreign Ministry its Additional Secretary Ahmed A Jawad had requested the Justice Ministry and the Judicial Services Commission Secretary to grant a suitable time for the meeting.

The Speaker said that in his view the Additional Secretary of the Foreign Ministry should not have granted permission to the visiting UN Special Rapporteur to meet the CJ and judges.

“Therefore, I took steps to contact the Justice Minister and the Foreign Ministry Secretary and requested them to take appropriate action. Accordingly, I learnt that the meeting between the visiting UN Special Rapporteur and the High Court Judges had not taken place. There have been instances where such envoys paid courtesy calls on Chief Justices,” the Speaker said.

Several MPs including the Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa raised objections in parliament on Tuesday stating that by allowing UN officials to question judges, the Foreign Ministry officials had acted in a manner inimical to national sovereignty and exerted undue influence on the judiciary.

(Source: The Island – By Saman Indrajith)