Opposition signs joint statement against Govt. attempts to undermine Judiciary

Monday, 27 March 2023 03:02 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Says Govt. is attempting to undermine dignity and independence of Judiciary and basic principles and values are being directly challenged 
  • Claims courts are being openly derided and reviled in Parliament and its Interim Order on LG polls is being contemptuously disregarded
  • Promises to fight against every attempt to undermine prestige and stature of the Judiciary

Opposition parties including the main Opposition party Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) have signed a joint statement against what it said was the Government’s attempts to undermine the country’s Judiciary. 

The parties are claiming the Government is attempting to undermine the dignity and independence of the Judiciary and that basic principles and values taken for granted by the people are now being directly challenged. 

The statement signed by the representatives of the parties including the SJB, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, Freedom People’s Congress, National People’s Power party, Tamil National Alliance and others on 22 March said the Interim Order given by the Supreme Court on Local Government polls where it prevented the Treasury Secretary from withholding funds for polls has now caused a vicious onslaught against the apex court in the exercise of its inalienable jurisdiction to uphold and implement provisions of the highest law. 

The parties claimed there is an attempt to lay down a criterion fraught with the gravest consequences for the survival of democracy, that election can be held only if the head of state is satisfied that the country’s economic situation warrants it, and now the courts are being openly derided and reviled in Parliament and its interim order contemptuously disregarded. 

They said in violation of a binding decision by the Court state officials including the Government Printer are being deprived of funds to prepare for the upcoming Local Government elections. They also added that the refusal by the Executive to give effect to imperative directions by the Supreme Court is a deliberate erosion of the foundations of our constitutional system. 

“The Government has brazenly invaded the province of the Judiciary by means of wholly distended and entirely illegitimate, recourse to the concept of Parliamentary Privilege to assail the independence and integrity of the Judiciary. We are aghast at the purported initiative by the Privileges Committee of Parliament directing the Supreme Court to forward to Parliament the Interim Order which has already been impugned with egregious disregard for sound principle and policy,” they said. 

“Representing all Parties and groups in the Opposition in the Parliament of Sri Lanka, we wish to express our profound respect for the Judiciary as an indispensable pillar and, indeed, the final bulwark for the enjoyment of individual and collective liberties enshrined in the Constitution ‒ and our firm resolve to resist, by all means at our disposal within a democratic framework, every attempt to undermine the prestige and stature of our country's Judiciary,” the parties added.