With many Court houses in the country being in a state of dilapidation resulting in hardships for both litigants and attorneys alike, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) complained of lawyers and judges including magistrates not following the establis2hed procedural measures to be taken concerning addressing such.
President of the BASL, Udaya Rohan De Silva pointed out that lawyers and judges were not taking proper advantage of the infrastructure committee of the Ministry of Justice, headed by the Secretary – Judicial Service Commission, particularly in relation to obtaining short term solutions towards addressing such conditions.
A survey has already been conducted in this regard and in certain cases such as Moratuwa, alternate lands have been identified and plans have been submitted with regard to the buildings on how they should be constructed, and the Ministry authorities have expressed satisfaction in relation to such.
Unfortunately, these are long-term solutions, he added. This situation can also be seen in the High Court and the District Court even in the Colombo zone, where there a lot of small bars sans a proper bar table and/or proper furniture and/or a proper lighting system.
However as mentioned above there are funds available for such if the relevant procedures are adopted.
In each Province, an infrastructure committee can be formed (headed by the senior most High Court Judge, other High Court Judges, District Court Judges, Magistrates, representatives of the unofficial bar and the Ministry) and in certain cases have been formed on the instructions given by the infrastructure committee of the Ministry.
The Provincial committee can identify the problems within the Provincial and zonal Court houses and then submit a report to the Ministry’s infrastructure committee after obtaining an estimate and quotation from the technical officer of the said committee.
Once the Ministry’s infrastructure committee approves of the budget, the Provincial infrastructure committee becomes eligible to receive funding and the High Court Judge heading the Provincial committee can herself or himself order the required items including the necessary equipment for distribution among the Court houses identified within the Province and zones as needy and having a lot of shortcomings. The Ministry’s infrastructure committee will be paying the monies required for the purpose.
De Silva was also critical of the lethargic attitude shown by certain technical officers in relation to attending to these matters.