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BASC must respect dissent: CaFfE

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASC) must respect the right of citizens to question and criticise the Judicial Service, Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) Executive Director Ranjith Keerthi Tennakoon said in a release.

BASL Chairman UR de Silva said they will take legal action against MP Ranjan Ramanayake in the coming week for stating that attorneys are corrupt.

The release adds: "In any profession, there are clean and professional people as well as corrupt practitioners. The same applies to the judicial service. Citizens have the right to criticise judges and attorneys, as they have the right to be critical of any other profession. There should be the freedom to do so and those being criticised must have the discipline to tolerate criticism.

"MP Ramanayake's criticisms are nothing new. They have been levelled against judges and attorneys by civil society activists and journalists. Such criticisms have been discussed by attorneys and the judicial services commission."

"Ravaya former editor Victor Ivan revealed the activities of Judge Lenin Ratnayake which shocked and surprised many. The behaviour of justice Abeyratne was equally shocking. The revelations on former Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva by Victor Ivan would have led to a clean-up of the judicial service in a country that has a civilized, democratic and transparent governance.

"President Maithripala Sirisena revealed that former Chief Justice Mohan Peiris told him that he is willing to give verdicts that favour the government, if he was allowed to remain in his post. The Centre for Human Rights (CHR) complained to the Judicial Service Commission about the appointment of DMI Dissanayake who received an appointment as a magistrate. After considering our appeal, the Commission decided not to give him the permanent appointment. The Anti-Corruption Front lodged a complaint about the elephant theft allegations against magistrate Thilina Gamage. The manner in which he was granted bail was controversial. Now, he has been suspended. Similar allegations were levelled against district judges, Somaratne and Aravinda Perera. The Commission has taken action on them. The reputation of the court was also damaged due to a series of allegations, including charges of sexual harassment against Justice Sarath de Abrew, who committed suicide."