JSA asks CJ for inquiry on magistrate resignation

JSA asks Chief Justice for inquiry on magistrate resignation

by Staff Writer 04-10-2023 | 10:16 AM

COLOMBO (News 1st); The Judicial Services Association has requested the Chief Justice to investigate the reasons, and those responsible for the resignation of the Mullaithivu Magistrate, and also to take the necessary measures to do away with the obstacles that are in place for the courts and judges to function independently and in an unbiased manner, as institutions and individuals, respectively. 

The Judicial Services Association serves as the professional body for district judges and magistrates, and in its letter to the Chief Justice, it notes that it would unconditionally stand up for the independence and integrity of the judiciary. 

The Chairman of the Judicial Services Association, Kuliyapitiya District Judge Ruwan Dissanayake, and its Secretary, Colombo Additional Magistrate Pasan Amaresena signed the letter addressed to Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya. 

Copies of this letter were also directed to the members of the Judicial Services Commission, and its Secretariat.

The Judicial Services Association, in its letter to the Chief Justice, pointed out that the resignation of the Mullaithivu Magistrate was not something that took place overnight.

The letter notes that the resignation of the Mullaithivu Magistrate is the anticipated result of a planned and targeted campaign to smear the faith placed by the public in the judiciary.

A translation of a section of the letter states: 

"On the 7th of July a parliamentarian criticised an interim order given by the Mullaithivu Magistrate in contravention of parliamentary traditions, blatently,  hiding behind the cover of parliamentary privillage, and the parliamentarian engaged in a shameful attempt to single out the Magistrate based on a communal basis. The Judicial Services Commission was informed of this and the Minister of Justice who bears the responsibility to correct this matter in parliament was informed of this in writing. The Minister of Justice had informed the Judicial Services Commission that steps will be taken in parliament to stop such statements regarding matters that are being adjudicated in court being made under the cover of parliamentary privilege. However, even after that during debates in parliament, Mullaithivu Magistrate T. Saravanaraja was blatantly attacked personally over an order made by the Magistrate and parties that are responsible to protect the Independence of the Judiciary had taken no steps to prevent this from happening both inside and outside of parliament. It is seen that the failure to take these steps has caused these destructive results. 

End translation of the extracted text.

The Judicial Services Association states that if a Judge is fleeing the country and in his letter of resignation stating that the reason for his sudden resignation is threats being leveled against him over judicial decisions that he pronounced, the breakdown in public trust in the Justice system in the country cannot be easily restored. 

The letter further states that if one believes that criticism leveled against the Judge or the Judicial system would remedy the breakdown in public faith in the Justice system, it is almost as if that person is strangling himself with his own hands.