BASL snubbed

15 May 2013 06:53 am - 12     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Breaking away from the tradition followed at the ceremonial sittings to welcome new judges to the Superior Court, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka or the unofficial bar has not been invited to participate at today’s ceremonial sitting held to welcome newly appointed Supreme Court Judge Rohini Marasinghe.

As the Supreme Court had not invited the BASL which represents lawyers from the private bar, the ceremony will be without one of the main features of a ceremonial sitting - the welcome address by the president of the Bar Association. Traditionally the welcome addresses are delivered by the BASL President representing more than 11,000 lawyers in the country and the Attorney General, the head the official bar to welcome the new Judge.

 “The BASL has not received the customary invitation given to the president of the BASL regarding the ceremonial sitting of the Supreme Court that is to be held on May 15 to enable the Bar to welcome her Ladyship Justice Rohini Marasinghe to the Supreme Court,” the BASL said in an official statement yesterday.  

“Therefore, the President of the BASL will not be able to make the traditional welcome address on behalf the Bar, though this could have been done if the customary invitation had been given,” the statement signed by BASL Secretary Sanjaya Gamage said.

When inquired by the Daily Mirror, the Registrar of the Supreme Court, Ms. M. M. Jayasekara confirmed that the invitation had not been sent to the head of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka.

The Registrar admitted that traditionally the President and the membership of the BASL are invited for the ceremony and head of the unofficial bar delivers one of the welcome speeches.

However she said that there would be a speech representing the unofficial bar.

Meanwhile it is learnt arrangements are underway to get an attorney representing the unofficial bar to deliver a speech at the ceremonial sitting today.
On January 23 this year the ceremonial sitting to welcome the Chief Justice 44, Mohan Peiris was held in the absence of official participation of the BASL.

This was following a resolution passed unanimously at an extraordinary meeting where over 3000 lawyers, in protest of the controversial impeachment of CJ43 Shirani Bandaranayake.

The ceremonial sitting without the unofficial participation of the bar was an act, a breach of a tradition that has been followed for well over 200 years. A ceremonial sitting of the Supreme Court is traditionally organized after the BASL makes an official request for a ceremonial welcome of Judge who is appointed to the Supreme Court.

Without such a request there cannot be an official ceremonial sitting.

However, though keeping with that resolution the Bar Association and most of its members and leading Presidents’ Counsel who form the inner Bar did not grace the occasion, President Counsel Razeek Zarook made a welcome speech for CJ Peiris.

A Ceremonial Sitting involves two traditional addresses – one by the President of the BASL (the head of the unofficial bar) and another by the Attorney General (head of the official bar) welcoming the new appointee to office. The President of the BASL and its members cannot participate in any ceremony to welcome Pieris in keeping with the resolution of the BASL general body. All Attorneys at Law are members of the BASL, including the officers of the Attorney General’s Department.

There were pro Government Lawyers who are holding key posts in the Government Corporations and Departments who participated. There was not a single President’s Counsel with a standing who was willing to break the tradition and go against the resolution passed by Bar Association of Sri Lanka. (Susitha R. Fernando)
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  Comments - 12

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  • Viewer Wednesday, 15 May 2013 09:32 AM

    Without the "unofficial bar" and the "official CJ - 43".

    Ram Perera Wednesday, 15 May 2013 09:43 AM

    More to come in the near future.

    Weerasekara Wednesday, 15 May 2013 11:50 AM

    Is this you Rubert? i cant believe what i read.

    Randy Wednesday, 15 May 2013 10:24 AM

    BASL could join the protest march today . It is another UNP branch led by UNP lawyer.So there is no need to invite for this ceremony . Well done CJ.

    zavahir Wednesday, 15 May 2013 07:10 AM

    Very sad stories for professional organization. CJ will lead to world records.

    Devaka Jayasuriya Wednesday, 15 May 2013 07:19 AM

    A Wedding without the Bride ?

    Achcharu Wednesday, 15 May 2013 07:29 AM

    Divide and conquer !!

    RamUK Wednesday, 15 May 2013 01:10 PM

    land with no laws...

    Rubert Vanderkoon Wednesday, 15 May 2013 10:42 AM

    Is the Judge Rohini Marasinghe missing from the ceremony? This is more like a wedding without onlookers (who are not important anyway).

    sarath Wednesday, 15 May 2013 10:59 AM

    BASL passed a resolution which they cannot maintain. though they said that they will not recognize the new CJ in all the applications they make to the SC they all starts by saying " to His Lordship the Chief Justice and the other Judges of the Supreme Court." that itself of the recognition of the 44th CJ and 43 rd was Her Ladyship. Lawyers are good to fight for others but not to defend themselves.

    Rahmathullah M. H. Wednesday, 15 May 2013 11:03 AM

    Politics politics everywhere
    Drifting ship will reach nowhere!

    Jeewan Wednesday, 15 May 2013 11:08 AM

    Post graduate lessons to lawyers ! You get what you give.
    Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander !


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