Lawyers Collective mourns the death of justice Sriskandarajah; urges transparent appointment process
Saturday, 25 January 2014 00:00
The incumbent President of the Court of Appeal, Justice S. Sriskandarajah, has passed away after a brief illness, Lawyers Collective announced yesterday.
He was appointed to appointed President of the Court of Appeal in 2011 after serving as a judge of the High Court and then as a judge of the Court of Appeal. He delivered a large number of landmark judgments, exercising power under Writ Jurisdiction, during a crucial time of our judicial history.
Among them was the judgment, where a bench of three judges presided over by him, quashing the decision of the Parliamentary Select Committee to impeach Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake.
The President overlooked Justice Sriskandarajah continuously for four occasions and thus he could not reach the highest court as a judge, during his life time. After the 18th Amendment to the Constitution by the present Government, there are no disclosed criteria in respect of appointments to higher courts and therefore, the President is free to appoint any one of his choice as a judge, without any scrutiny whatsoever.
“The death of Justice Sri Skandarajah emphasises the importance of securing a transparent appointment process of judges, whose career is protected against political victimisations. This is also a reminder to the country that judges are also subject to same type of discriminatory treatment as others, unless major constitutional changes are brought in. The Lawyers Collective urges the public to agitate for the introduction of transparent process of judicial appointments, consistent with international practices so that judges who deliver judgments independently and fearlessly will not be deprived of their due positions in the higher judiciary. The judicial independence will ultimately protect the people themselves against all types of oppressions of the Rulers,” Lawyers Collective said.