Supreme, Appeal Courts judges’  vehicles searched


By Zacki Jabbar

 The legal and political fraternity condemned the search of Supreme and Appeal Court judges’ vehicles entering the apex court premises in Hulftsdorp yesterday.

Court sources told The Island that the cars of judges were searched by the Marshall. They said that the Marshall had the authority to check everyone entering the courts complex, but in the case of judges he could do so only on a directive from the Chief Justice.

It is learnt that the Bar Association, which has already resolved not to welcome the new Chief  Justice Mohan Peiris, at the ceremonial sitting due to be held shortly, will also be discussing the issue with a view to lodging their protest.

Chief Opposition Whip, John Ameratunga said that yesterday’s incident was an extension of the Rajapaksa regime’s harassment of  former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, who was impeached without a proper inquiry under standing orders which did not have the power to probe a judge and in defiance of Supreme Court and Appeal Court rulings on the issue.

It has to be presumed that the Chief Justice gave the search order, since the Marshall did not have the authority to act on his own when it came to Apex Court judges’ vehicles, he noted.

The UNP will not defend wrong doers, but members of judicial tribunals should not be embarrassed in the manner witnessed yesterday, Ameratunga said adding that their privacy had to be safeguarded.

He said that with the end of the war it was expected that judicial independence and democracy would flourish, but the exact opposite was taking place with the government paying scant regard to judicial rulings and the rising crime wave including rapes, murders, jail riots and daylight robberies, while the cost of living had skyrocketed to unprecedented levels.

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