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The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) as per the procedure for instituting contempt-of-court action handed over papers to Chief Justice (CJ) President’s Counsel (PC) Priyasath Dep this week against Deputy Minister of Social Empowerment, Welfare and Kandyan Heritage, Ranjan Ramanayake over statements made by the Minister with regard to corruption in the legal profession.
The process now involves the CJ seeking and obtaining the opinion of the other Supreme Court Judges in this regard and if the majority of the Justices are of the view that action should be taken, then the petition will be taken up further. A similar process was followed in the contempt of court case involving incumbent Minister S.B. Dissanayake.
President of the BASL, Udaya Rohan De Silva PC said that they had on September 20th, handed over all documents pertaining to the matter including a compact disc containing video and audio clips, in the case of the latter voice cuts.
De Silva PC acknowledged that there were certain lawyers and judges not suitable for the legal profession whilst adding that they were presently dealing with the said issue.
“For Ramanayake to openly come out and state and emphasize in the media that the majority in the legal profession are corrupt when he has named only five or six persons, constitutes an insult to the Supreme Court. He has stated this in the open and not in Parliament and therefore Parliamentary privilege does not apply in this instance. There are over 18,000 legal professionals and more than 1,000 judges. His quoted figures do not amount to a majority but a minute fraction. This does not justify the comment regarding the majority. This is the only reason why we have filed this motion. This is in order to bring the matter to the notice of the Court for purposes of taking the necessary action,” he explained.