Sri Lanka: Independence of the Judiciary

Speech delivered at the Annual General Meeting of the Judicial Services Association held on 22nd December 2012 

| by Justice C.V.Wigneswaran

Gurur  brahma  gurur  vishnuhu  gurur  devo  maheshwaraha  guru  saakshaat  para  brahma   tasmai  shree  gurave  namaha  
Besieged Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake getting a standing ovation from hundreds of lawyers at their annual Voet Lights 2012 dinner on Friday. Pic by Mangala Weerasekera ( Sunday Times, Colombo)

( December 23, 2012, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian)   I  was  indeed  pleasantly  surprised  when  your  President  invited  me  to  address  you  today.  It  is  eight  years  since  I  retired.  Though  I    have  been  very  busy  addressing  here  and  abroad  many  a  meeting  on  legal,  social,  religious,  literary,  historical    and  many  other  allied  subjects,  and  sometimes  writing  about  them,  the  Original  Judiciary  to  which  I  belonged  and  the  tenure  of  which  I  cherished  so  much  never  invited  me  so  far.  Perhaps  it  was  because  I  spoke  and  wrote  of  matters  that  were  not  appreciated  until  now!  At  least,  the  fact  that  when  a  sense  of  apprehension,  uncertainty  and  confusion  has  enveloped  you,  thanks  to  what  is  happening  around  you  in  Sri  Lanka,  you  have  thought  of  those  who  stood  for  the  Independence  of  the  Judiciary,  and  lived  their  life  under  much  stress  and  indignity  steeped  in  such  Independence,  speaks  well  of  you.  It  was  not  very  long  ago  that  this  speaker  together  with  another  senior  member  of  the  Original  Judiciary  had  to  remind  the  Secretary  to  His  Excellency  the  President  of  the  undesirability  of  interfering  with  the  Independence  of  the  Judiciary  when  we  were  called  upon  to  inquire  into  the  dismissals  of  several  Original  Court  Judges  during  the  tenure  of  office  of  Justice  Sarath  N.  Silva.  We  politely  declined  to  serve   on  the  special  committee  and  indicated  that  if  the  request  came  from    the  Judicial Services  Commission  we  were  prepared  to  assist.  

Full Text of the speech follows;

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Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

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