President denies attempt to interfere in judicial affairs
…confirms there are serious allegations against JSC SecySeptember 27, 2012, 10:41 pm
By The Island News Desk
President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday denied that he had tried to interfere in the affairs of the judiciary. Addressing the media heads at Temple Trees, he said as a lawyer by profession who had practised for nearly two decades, he was an ardent advocate of an independent judiciary. "Never have I sought to meddle in the affairs of the judiciary contrary to what is being claimed in some quarters," the President said.
When it was pointed out that his recent invitation to some judicial officers including the Chief Justice to a meeting could be considered an attempt to interfere in the judiciary, President Rajapaksa said his intention had never been to discuss anything that had to do with judges’ official work. "I wanted to discuss with them some matters such as training, welfare, allocations from the forthcoming budget," he said, denying that he had wanted to take up the recent interdiction of a judge. He said he was not concerned about that matter at all, which he said he had come to know from the media. He said such disciplinary action was not something new.
In answer to a question whether he had had such meetings previously with judges, the President said he had met judicial officers on several occasions and even the Chief Justice had attended those meetings.
The President said he just could not understand why an issue had been made of his invitation. At that point Secretary to President Lalith Weeratunga read out the invitation he had sent to the Chief Justice. He said he had first invited the Chief Justice over the telephone but the latter had wanted the invitation in writing. The President said the Chief Justice had made appointments over the telephone and met him several times previously.
Responding to the Opposition’s criticism of his government’s alleged interference in the affairs of the judiciary, President Rajapaksa said it was the UNP which had got judges’ houses stoned and tried to impeach Chief Justices.
The President confirmed that there were serious allegations against the Judicial Service Commission Secretary However, he refused to be drawn on what action the government intended to take.
Asked whether there was any evidence to substantiate his claim, the President answered in the affirmative, producing a written complaint by a female judicial officer’s father. The letter (seen by The Island) contains several allegations which we refrain from publishing on legal advice.
The current JSC Secretary, President Rajapaksa said, had been way down on the seniority list but he had got appointed to that top post somehow.
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