The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) yesterday said the MPs were exploiting their parliamentary privileges to make statements in Parliament on matters sub judice. The BASL has, in a media statement, said a statement made by MP Sarath Weerasekera in Parliament, on 07 July 2023 as an unfounded, brazen attack on the judiciary and the social fabric of the country.
The BASL has observed that the recent trend of pressure being exerted on the judiciary would potentially threaten and undermine these important principles.
The BASL says it is of the view that the judiciary should be allowed to operate free from external pressure, threats or any interference for a vibrant democracy to exist.
Full text of BASL statement titled ‘Upholding the Rule of Law and safeguarding the independence of the judiciary’ and signed by its President Kaushalya Nawaratne and Secretary Isuru Balapatabendi: The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) re-affirms its commitment to upholding the Rule of Law and safeguarding the Independence of the judiciary, in light of recent trend of pressure being exerted over the Judiciary that would potentially threaten and undermine these important principles.
The BASL is deeply concerned of the growing trend of members of Parliament, exploiting parliamentary privilege, by making statements in Parliament, for matters which are sub judice. Specifically, we find the recent statement by Sarath Weerasekesera MP in Parliament, on the 7th of July 2023, currently circulating in social media platforms, as an unfounded, brazen attack on the Judiciary and the social fabric of this Country.
The BASL is of the view that the Judiciary should be allowed to operate independently, free from external pressures, threats or any interference, for a vibrant democracy to exist. In an international view point the United Nations Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary, inter alia, states:
1. The independence of the judiciary shall be guaranteed by the State and enshrined in the Constitution or the law of the country. It is the duty of all governmental and other institutions to respect and observe the independence of the Judiciary
2. The Judiciary shall decide matters before them impartially, on the basis of facts and in accordance with the law, without any restrictions, improper influences, inducements, pressures, threats or interferences, direct or Indirect, from any quarter or for any reason.
Therefore, the BASL is of the view that it is the duty of the government and the Opposition to respect and observe the independence of the judiciary, and any interference in the judicial process, sets a dangerous precedent, which must be strongly condemned.