Lawyers Collective calls BASL Convocation historic and uncompromising

Monday, 1 April 2013 00:17 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Members of the legal profession commended the recently-inducted President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka Upul Jayasuriya for organising a historic convocation held in line with lawyers’ aspirations and without compromising the stand of the Bar, a group of legal activists said.

The recently-elected President of the Bar was inducted at a ceremony at Nawarangahala on Saturday.

The Lawyers Collective, an umbrella group of legal associations that was intensely active during the recent impeachment of Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, said that her successor, Chief Justice Mohan Peiris, had not been invited to the convocation.

“De jure Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake was among the special guests who graced the occasion,” the Lawyers Collective said.

The collective charged that the Government had taken steps to “prevent the Minister of Justice and other public officials attending the convocation, despite their confirmation of their presence”.

It said pro-Government lawyers directly sponsored by the political leadership had been unable to win a single position in the Executive Committee of the BASL.

The statement from the Lawyers Collective said that retired Supreme Court Justice C.V. Wigneswaran had addressed the audience at the ceremony with the message that the independence of Judiciary could not be protected without strong judges and the Bar.

“He said that the judges of the Higher Courts must express their fearlessness and give leadership. He said that they cannot take a U-turn on their stand, disappointing the legal profession and the Minor Judiciary. Upul Jayasuriya assured the legal profession and the public that the BASL under him would take all measures to establish rule of law and protect the independence of the Judiciary. He also reiterated the importance of partnering with civil society organisation and national/international partners,” the statement said.