BASL presidential candidate vows to fight obnoxious legislation


By Hiran H.Senewiratne

President’s Counsel Tirantha Walaliyadde, who is aspiring to be the new President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka yesterday vowed to play an active role with the assistance of institutions like the Attorney General’s Department, the Legal Draftsman’s Department, the Ministry of Justice and other connected institutions to fight against obnoxious Bills and Amendments passed by parliament.

"BASL is made up of active politicians of various parties, when it comes to national issues, all members have to be neutral and free from political bias. Therefore, we have to be independent and free from all politics to raise our united voice against anti-national issues and anti democratic issues, "Walaliyadde told The Island.

Walaliyadde is a leading criminal lawyer in the country contesting the forthcoming Bar Association election for the Presidency. BASL is the premier legal body of lawyers in the country, comprising nearly 11,000 members.

If an obnoxious Bill or amendment was moved in parliamanent, the BASL should act before such a Bill was passed, he said.

"Just passing mere resolutions or issuing statements will not benefit anybody. Once a bill is passed no one can challenge it before any forum," he said.

The President’s Counsel said that he being a champion advocate of an independent judiciary initiated action to appoint a Parliamentary Select Committee to stop interference in the judiciary and also to stop inquiring and probing the credibility of retired judges for past activities. Therefore, Central Committee of the BASL passed a unanimous resolution on the matter. His rival candidate Wijedasa Rajapaksa was a conspicuous absentee at that meeting, he claimed.

"Today the BASL is like a private club. It has become a social icon and has moved away from public life. Therefore, BASL should promote public interest litigation and rise against anti democratic issues as an active body, "he said.

Walaliyadde also said that one of the biggest tasks before him, if elected as the President of the Bar, was to enhance the public confidence in the BASL. It was losing that confidence slowly but steadily during the last several years. "My main objective is to put the Bar back on its feet," he said

The younger generation had not realized the importance of public interest litigation, which was very powerful in India. Therefore, he would promote public interest litigation in the country in which the public could play an important role. By doing that the public perception of the BASL could be enhanced to a greater extent, he said.

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