Three judges absent

The ceremonial sitting to welcome the newly appointed Supreme Court judge, Justice Rohini Marasinghe was held at the Supreme Court yesterday with the notable absence of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), which traditionally represents the country’s legal fraternity.

Justice Marasinghe was accorded a warm welcome at the ceremonial sitting by an array of Judges of the Supreme Court (SC), Court of Appeal, High Court, District Court and the Magistrate’s Court.

However, out of ten existing Supreme Court judges, only seven judges graced the sitting with their presence. Notably three Supreme Court judges - Justice R. A. N. Gamini Amaratunga, Justice Chandra Ekanayake and Justice Eva Wansundera PC - were not present at the event.

At the sitting, Justice S. Sriskandarajah (President of the Court of Appeal) and Justice Sisira de Abrew who used to function as Acting President of the Court of Appeal were present along with other judges of the Court of Appeal.

Ms Rohini Marasinghe who was a judge of the Court of Appeal was promoted to the Supreme Court by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on April 26 to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice S. I. Imam.

She was the third-most senior Appeal Court judge, preceded by Justice S. Sriskandarajah and Justice Sisira de Abrew.

Her promotion overlooking the President of the Court of Appeal spurred protests from the BASL. Though the BASL had stated that it would attend the ceremonial sitting, it was not invited to participate. It was also observed that there were a number of seats vacant in the hall.

Attorney General Palitha Fernando delivered the welcome address on behalf of the official Bar while Razik Zarook PC who is the Chairman of the Bank of Ceylon also made a welcome speech.

The Supreme Court judges who flanked the new Judge Rohini Marasinghe in the dais were Chief Justice Mohan Peiris - PC, Justice Shiranee Tilakawardane, Justice Saleem Marsoof - PC, Justice K. Sripavan, Justice P.A. Ratnayake - PC, Justice Sathya Hettige - PC and Justice Priyasath Dep - PC. (S.S. Selvanayagam)

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