The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) called upon Chief Justice to look into the grave situation of several audio clips of MP Ranjan Ramanayake, who had telephoned several individuals including members of the judiciary and take strong remedial steps to arrest situations of this nature taking place again.
Issuing a statement, BASL President Kalinga Indatissa said this issue had raised several questions relating to the very concept of “independence of the judiciary” that they expected and the conduct of these judges to be involved in discussions pertaining to their judicial functions.
The statement is as follows:
The media has recently reported about telephone conversations between several members of the judiciary and a Member of Parliament. The conversations contained in these tapes refer to the promotions in the judicial system, pending cases, discussions on arrests to be made and matters relevant to cases where judgments were about to be delivered.
“Public confidence” in the Judicial system is extremely important for a Nation that bases its judicial system on the concept of Rule of Law. In this context all members of the Judiciary are expected to perform an extremely vital role.
Independence of the judiciary and individual judicial independence are two main factors upon which public confidence is built on. While the Judiciary should be free from any type of interference from the Executive or the legislature, individual judicial conduct on the part of all Judges is also extremely relevant to maintaining the high standards expected from the members of the judiciary.
In our view, this is an issue that has to be cleared up immediately and without delay. Generally, our systems are known to bypass issues by postponing decisions on such issues. We at the BASL, see this as an issue which has to be addressed immediately.
Any attempt to bypass or postpone resolving this issue would result in a further erosion of public confidence of the judicial system.
As the largest Association of the members of the legal profession representing more than 20000 members, we humbly request Your Lordship to immediately look into this grave situation and take strong remedial steps to arrest situations of this nature taking place again.
As the head of the judiciary, we believe that this is a duty that Your Lordship owes to the judiciary, the legal profession and the people of this country.
In that Endeavour, the BASL would stand with all remedial decisions that Your Lordship would take towards the betterment of the judicial administration.
We would thank You Lordship to grant us the opportunity of an immediate meeting to discuss the mechanism that ought to be adopted to resolve this issue.