The government had even ordered police officers not to salute Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake when she came to the parliament complex last week to appear before the select committee probing 14 charges against her, TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran told Parliament yesterday.
Speaking during the committee stage debate of the Justice Ministry, Mr. Sumanthiran said the order had come from the top. At this point Minister Lakshman Seneviratne tried to dispute what Mr. Sumanthiran said.
But Mr. Sumanthiran said the fact remains that police officers did not salute the Chief Justice.
“I know it for a fact. DIG Anura Senanayake has given the order,” he said.
Government MP A.H.M. Azwer who was presiding asked whether it was legally possible for the Chief Justice to be accompanied by lawyers when arriving in the House.
“I am seeking a clarification from you who is a senior lawyer,” he asked Mr. Sumanthiran, who responded saying; “This is an awkward situation. It has never happened in the House. If you want legal advice, please pay a fee and consult a lawyer. Don’t try to elicit a free legal advice from me,”
Mr. Azwer said there was nothing awkward here.
“I am only asking for a clarification. I am not making a comment. I do not want to pay any fee,” he said.
After the cross talk Mr. Sumanthiran continued with his speech, and said the government had embarked on a path that would erode public confidence in the judiciary.
He said the Government was doing this because the judiciary was not doing what the Government wanted it to do. (Kelum Bandara and Yohan Perera)