The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) has noted that growing personal attacks aimed at members of the judiciary and the Attorney General do not and should not duplicate legitimate criticism of these same persons. It has acknowledged that while citizens have a right to criticize the “actions of judicial officers and public officers in a functioning democracy,” this right should not be abused in favor of unfounded and baseless allegations.
In addition, the BASL, in a statement, has noted with concern the investigations on the Director General of the Bribery Commission, stating that suggestions to summon him to parliament are serious and, if given effect to, may “result in the office itself being the subject of public ridicule”, all this while acknowledging the “legislative supremacy of Parliament”. Finally, it requests “all concerned” persons including officers of the AG’s department to “help restore public confidence in these institutions”.
The Association has also urged President Maithripala Sirisena to be selective in taking persons with ability, integrity, and independence (having no ulterior motive of prestige) into the Constitutional Council, noting particularly that as the Association stood for the passing of the 19th Amendment and good governance, it holds that the constitutional provisions must be adhered to “in letter and spirit” with regard to potential candidates for the Council.
In relation to the incident involving a shooting at the Magistrate’s Court in Kaduwela on September 23, the BASL states that it sees in this an attack on the Rule of Law and Democracy “with adverse consequences on society”, and thus urges “an early and expeditious inquiry” by authorities to bring the perpetrators of the incident to justice.