Speaker Karu Jayasuriya today informed parliament that he had instructed the relevant authorities not to go ahead with the meeting between judicial officers including the Chief Justice and the visiting UN special rapporteur on the Rights of Freedom of Association, Clement Nyaltessoi.
He said he did this in the wake of a request made by Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa and a number of other opposition MPs.
Mr Rajapaksa said the UN rapporteur was to discuss the killing of Roshen Chanaka in 2011, the Welikada Prison riots in 2012 and the Ratupaswala incident.
“You have time to stop it before the meeting takes place. Please go ahead and do it. Allowing the rapporteur to question the judicial officers is an attempt to interfere with the judiciary,” he said.
MP Dinesh Gunawardene who raised the matter initially during today’s session said it was an offence to allow a person without legal authority to influence the judiciary according to Section 111 (c) 1 of the constitution.
He said Acting Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ahammed A Jaward, had requested the Secretary of the Ministry of Justice and Prison Reforms to coordinate arrangements for a meeting with the Minister of Justice Talatha Athukorala, Chief Justice and High Court Judges in Colombo, which is clearly an attempt to interfere with the Judiciary.
MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said ministers and secretaries who allow such a meeting could be charged with contempt of court. “We will have to file legal action against ministers and the secretaries if they allow this meeting to go ahead,” he said.
Opposition MP Wimal Weerawansa wanted the Foreign Ministry Additional Acting Secretary to be summoned to parliament. He said the official did not have the power to order the Justice Ministry Secretary to arrange such meetings. (Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana)