The ongoing conflict between the Courts and Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe took another turn yesterday (25), as Rajapakshe sent a letter to Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena requesting the summoning of two judges who signed the recent statement of the Judicial Service Association (JSA), before the Parliamentary Privileges Committee.

The statement of the JSA, which is the professional organisation representing District Judges and Magistrates in Sri Lanka, was issued after Rajapakshe made a speech in Parliament on 19 June over the alleged corruption and malpractices by lower court judges and the Secretary of the Judicial Service Commission.

It was signed by the President and the Secretary of JSA Kegalle District Judge Ruwan Dissanayake and Secretary Galle Magistrate Isuru Netthikumara.

Rajapakshe in his letter to the Speaker, alleged that as a result of the said JSA statement, his Parliamentary privileges have been breached.  Therefore, the Minister requested the Powers and Privileges Committee of Parliament to conduct an investigation and issue an appropriate order in light of the alleged violation.

Rajapakshe’s letter was also forwarded to the Chief Justice and the Secretary of the Judicial Service Commission.

It referenced a circular issued by the Judicial Service Commission on 1 September 2010, and another by the then-Chief Justice on 30 September 2016. These directives instructed District Judges, Magistrates and High Court Judges to refrain from making public statements to the media.

Citing these directives, the Justice Minister highlighted that the statements made by the two judges were actions prohibited outside their official duties.

Rajapakshe asserted that his privileges, along with those of all Members of Parliament, were infringed upon under Section 3 of the Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Act No. 21 of 1953.

The Minister argued that the statements in question were not made within the scope of their judicial responsibilities but rather stemmed from personal or private obligations, constituting a clear violation of the Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Act.

The Minister emphasized that while it is the responsibility of all judges and judicial officials to investigate presented facts, no one has the right to make malicious statements to the media regarding the disclosure of those facts.

The JSA on Monday (24), issued a statement raising concerns about a systematic campaign to discredit impartial judges in Sri Lanka.

They criticised efforts to tarnish judges’ reputations after they make significant judicial decisions, using parliamentary privilege to criticise court rulings outside formal appellate procedures. This, according to the Association, undermines judicial independence and threatens the judiciary’s integrity. Specific judges, including former Colombo and Mount Lavinia magistrates, have been targeted.


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