The Sri Lanka Progressive Lawyers Front yesterday condemned the statement issued by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka President Desmond Fernando on the JSC crisis as conteptuous.
?It is clear from the statement that Mr. Fernando has issued this statement without obtaining the approval of the BASL Executive Committee. It is the usual practice for any Association, especially an Association comprising lawyers to issue statements under the hand of its Secretary?, the lawyers` front said.
The Lawyers Front said:
?One newspaper, which carried the statement, has quoted Mr. Fernando as saying he had got the approval of Presidents` Counsel in the Executive Committee to issue the statement. As far as we know, there are four President`s Counsel in the Executive Committee, L.C. Seneviratne, Shibly Aziz, Srinath Perera and A.L.M. Hasheem.
?It is extremely doubtful whether Mr. Fernando consulted these lawyers, as it was known that the Executive Committee postponed the adoption of the statement to a later date with amendments when necessary. If this be the case, Mr. Fernando has misled the public and the Bar, while involving Senior Presidents Counsel of the Executive Committee without even obtaining the approval of the said Executive Committee.
?Sometime ago Mr. Fernando was also responsible for challenging the appointment of Justice Shiranee Bandaranayake to the Supreme Court.
?One of the main reasons put forward by Mr. Fernando to challenge the appointment of Justice Bandaranayake was that it was a political appointment done at the insistence of Professor G.L. Pieris, who was then the Justice Minister. Prof. Pieris is no longer in the PA, having crossed over to the UNP and is the spokesman for the UNP.
?The statement issued by Mr. Fernando, says the resignation was not due to personal reasons but due to the simmering state of discontent prevailing for sometime within the JSC.
?We do not know how Mr. Fernando is or was privy to the ?simmering discontent prevailing for sometime within the JSC?.
?It is a well known fact that the JSC consists of the Chief Justice and these two other Judges of the Supreme Court, who have the Constitutional capacity to out-vote any decision taken by the Chief Justice?.
If the reason for resignation was the ?simmering discontent?, as stated by Mr. Fernando, it should be stated that we know that Justice Weerasuriya had tendered his papers for retirement and they were accepted by the President. He was to retire in May and he may have tendered his resignation from the JSC due to this.
We challenge Mr. Fernando to show whether any decision taken by the JSC in the recent past especially after the appointment of Justice Weerasuriya to the JSC, were decisions made ad hoc by the Chief Justice or were they decisions taken by the members of the JSC unanimously. According to the statement, the resignation represents the final blow in the destruction of the administration of justice. If it is the contention of Mr. Fernando that there is not a single Judge of the Supreme Court who is highly respected for personal honour impartiality, integrity fairness and ability, we wish to state that we think all judges of the Supreme Court have these qualities which are fundamental to the position they hold and they could very well fill the vacancies created by the resignation of these two Judges. Is this statement not contempt of the other Judges of the Supreme Court? Now, who has been more contemptuous S.B. Dissanayake or Mr. Fernando?
It is pertinent to pose a question to the two Supreme Court Judges, who resigned form the JSC, as to what decisions they had taken at their meetings, which were responsible for the erosion of justice and fair-play? If so, being the majority in the Commission, what action had they taken to arrest the situation when they voted or gave their consent for JSC decisions?