YAHAPALANA AND CORRUPTION Part 2B
Posted on March 26th, 2019

KAMALIKA  PIERIS

BAMBALAPITIYA FLATS

The cabinet has approved a multi-million dollar project to replace the Bambalapitiya Flats, a significant landmark in Colombo, lying on very valuable land. A plan was, floated in 2014 to redevelop the ten-acre land on which the Bambalapitiya flats now stand. UTL Global Projects registered in Singapore made the proposal.  A tripartite MOU was signed between UTL Global Projects, Engineering Projects India and the National Housing Development Authority for this project. The land belongs to the National Housing Development Authority (NHDA). The project did not materialize.

The project was revived, when Yahapalana came in, on the recommendation of Housing and Construction Minister Sajith Premadasa. The Bambalapitiya redevelopment project was ‘a novel and complex project, the likes of which had never been undertaken in this country’, he said.

Cabinet approval was obtained and NHDA wrote to Global Project Pvt and Engineering Projects India Pvt that the Cabinet had approved their joint proposal and they should  incorporate a company in Sri Lanka for this project. Thereupon, a company called City Square Projects was duly incorporated in Sri Lanka. A formal agreement was entered into between the BOI and City Square Projects. Though Engineering Projects India was listed as a partner in the agreement, the agreement was signed only by  the directors of City Square.

In March 2017, on Cabinet approval, National Housing Development Authority signed an agreement with City Square Projects, with the proviso that they had to bring USD 10 million into the country within four to six weeks of signing the agreement.   Once the final project documents are signed, the land on which the Bambalapitiya flats stand will be transferred to City Square Projects  on a 99-year lease.

Minister Sajith Premadasa recommended in November 2016 that a gazette notification be issued immediately to acquire the Bambalapitiya flats site under the Condominium Management Authority law which provides for any condominium that is over 40 years old to be acquired. He further recommended that the Bambalapitiya flats be declared an ‘Urban development Site’ under Section 2 of the Urban Development Projects (Special Provisions) Act No: 2 of 1980. This provision disallows appeals to courts regarding the acquisition of property for development projects.

C.A.Chandraprema of the Island  examined the   Bambalapitiya project agreement and alerted readers to its very serious implications. He pointed out that the main investor, UTL Global Projects  had been incorporated in Singapore only in February 2011 and   its owners are three Indian nationals, Koorapati Premalatha Rani, Meena Pooja and Prashanth Koorapati, members of one family.

They don’t have any known background in construction or real estate development and are not known to have the financial resources to be able to handle a project of this nature either observed Chandraprema.   They definitely lack the financial standing to undertake a project of this magnitude,

City Square Projects is  not a joint project of  Global and Engineering Projects India.  It is   owned by Global alone.  Koorapati confirmed in a letter to the Chairman of the Project Steering Committee of the Bambalapitiya flats redevelopment project”, Ministry of Housing and Construction,  that City Square Projects (Pvt) Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of UTL Global Projects Pte Ltd, through its holding company Centennial Holdings” Singapore.

Global Projects,  is just three members of the same family of Indian nationals, with no background in construction or real estate development or the financial resources to be able to handle a project of this nature, repeated Chandraprema. It is a family owned company with no history worth talking about, 

 It is to a subsidiary wholly owned by them, City Square,  that the Bambalapitiya land is to be transferred.  They are going to get 10 acres of the best land in Colombo on a 99-year lease without paying the government any money.  The government is going to give this prime land, Bambalaptiya flats, to a company which does not have the financial clout to be able to handle a project of this nature Chandraprema again observed. As a result, three Indian nationals will hold a 99-year lease on ten acres of the best land in Colombo. emphasized Chandraprema.

Global  had misled the government into thinking that they had brought in a large Indian government owned construction conglomerate,  Engineering Projects India Ltd as their partner to  finance and build the project. BOI, the NHDA and even the tenants of the Bambalapitiya flats appear to be under the impression that Engineering Projects India Ltd has undertaken to invest 300 million USD in this project, said Chandraprema. That is not so, he said.

 Engineering Projects India Ltd, a state owned entity in India, has extensive experience in construction and real estate and solid financial backing. This company is already involved in water projects in Vavuniya and Puttalam with the National Water Supply and Drainage Board. But the company is not involved in this deal.

Since doubts had been expressed, government of Sri Lanka asked for proof that Engineering Projects was actually working with Global.  They asked, is Engineering Projects India Ltd actually in a consortium with UTL Global Projects, if so where is the consortium agreement. There was no consortium agreement with Global. Instead, Koorapati   sent a redacted version of the agreement between Engineering Projects India and City Square to the Project Steering Committee, claiming that the rest of it was ‘highly confidential’.

The version sent was a consortium agreement between City Square and Engineering Projects India Ltd had been signed on 5 March 2016.Engineering Projects India will take up equity in City Square Projects Pvt Ltd after applying for the required permission from the government of India. Till then they will continue to develop the project as a consortium.

Chandraprema  pointed out that  the dates on these letters show that Global wrote to Engineering Projects India Ltd making the initial proposal only on the day that they had applied to the BOI claiming that they were already in a partnership with Engineering Projects India Ltd   for redeveloping the Bambalapitiya flats.     He also pointed out that even if Engineering Projects India Ltd joins City Square Projects later. That too means nothing. They have only a very limited role and the three Indian nationals who own  Global will still be calling all the shots.

Chandraprema observed that the document sent by Koorapati   did not say anything about the financial commitment of Engineering Projects India Ltd to the project. This is a significant omission. The redacted version of the consortium agreement simply  states that Engineering Projects India Ltd will ‘endeavour’ to find a third party to provide the working capital for the project. That does not indicate a financial commitment.

The total project is estimated to cost 500 Million USD. But, Koorapati’s letter to the Project Steering Committee clearly indicates that they do not know where the money for the project is going to come from, said Chandraprema. They have mentioned that the money will have to be raised from third parties but no such third parties have been identified .

Engineering Projects India is a government owned business undertaking. It cannot invest any money overseas without the approval of the Indian Cabinet and other agencies such as the Reserve Bank of India. There is no guarantee that Engineering Projects India Ltd will get the Indian government’s permission for this project  

If the Indian government does not give Engineering Projects permission to go ahead with the project they will drop out of it automatically. Then, three individuals, Koorapati Premalatha Rani, Meena Pooja and Prashanth Koorapati who own  Global Projects  and City Square will be left holding a 99-year lease on 10 acres of land in Bambalapitiya without paying a cent to the government,  said Chandraprema.

 Chandraprema also observed that there are certain legal implications in the agreements signed. According to the requirements of the BOI, both UTL Global Projects Pte Ltd and Engineering Projects India Ltd should have been the joint owners of City Square Projects. The BOI agreement that was signed on 22 June 2016 said that the project would be a joint venture between UTL Global Projects Pte Ltd and Engineering Projects India Ltd.  The agreement between City Square Projects (Pvt) Ltd and the NHDA is also based on the premise that UTL Global Projects Pte Ltd and Engineering Projects India Ltd had jointly formed City Square (Pvt.) Ltd.

However, Engineering Projects India Ltd is not in a consortium with UTL Global Projects     and it is not part of City Square. This is a clear violation of BOI rules. Global’s  argument that even though Engineering Projects India Ltd does not have a consortium agreement with Global, they do have an agreement with City Square,  is  also wrong. The consortium agreement should be between UTL Global Projects Pte Ltd and Engineering Projects India not between Engineering Projects India Ltd and City Square (Pvt.) Ltd.

The government has imposed the condition on City Square that within 4 to 6 weeks of signing the agreement with the NHDA, they will have to bring in USD 10 million to the country. This will not be difficult because City Square Projects (Pvt) Ltd will be able to use that very agreement to obtain money by pledging the land as collateral, said Chandraprema.

City Square Projects Pvt Ltd has said that they have not pledged or mortgaged the land, continued Chandraprema. They haven’t done so because the land has not been transferred to them yet. But the moment the land is transferred to them, that is exactly what is going to happen. Once the land is transferred to City Square Projects Pvt Ltd,  the land may be used as collateral to raise the capital that UTL Global Projects Pte Ltd obviously lacks.

 We have ‘incontrovertible proof’ that what Global intends doing once they get their hands on the land is to mortgage it to third parties, said Chandraprema. They will do so without paying a cent to the government of Sri Lanka. A new group will be left in possession of the Bambalapitiya land for 99 years and the residents of the present Bambalapitiya flats and the government of Sri Lanka will be left high and dry.

The residents of the Bambalapitiya flats have voiced their strong opposition to the project and point out that neither the government nor the developers have had transparent discussions with them on the project. Minister Champika Ranawaka had filed a Cabinet observation in 2016, stating that the financial credentials of the developers did not appear to have been checked and that a proper feasibility study of the project had not been carried out. There is still no feasibility report for the project said Chandraprema in 2017.

Everything about these project smacks of a giant scam said Chandraprema. There is something seriously fishy in this whole business. Anyone can see from a mile away that this is not a project that is ever going to be completed. The fact that the government has not shown any interest in seeing the full agreement signed between City Square and Engineering Projects shows that powerful figures in the government are in on the deal. Such indifference on the part of the government can only be the result of massive kickbacks. 

The government of Sri Lanka should reconsider this project.  Funding for the project should be available upfront before any approvals are granted or the land handed over, said Chandraprema. All agreements entered into by the BOI and the NHDA with UTL Global Projects Pte Ltd or its wholly owned subsidiary City Square Projects (Pvt) Ltd should be suspended and reviewed because they have clearly attempted to deceive the government of Sri Lanka without disclosing material facts.

HAMBANTOTA REFINERY

As this essay goes to press,  a second ‘Bambalapitiya  flat’ issue  is taking place in Hambantota, where   the Yahapalana government has announced  in March 2019, the construction of a USD 4  billion oil refinery at Hambantota on  400acres of land, by Silver Park International  and the Omani government. It was to be the biggest foreign investment in Sri Lanka since Independence. This would provide 565 Sri Lankans direct employment and up to 185 jobs for foreigners.

The original investment proposal was submitted to the BOI in November 10, 2016, as a joint venture between Silver Park International (Pvt) Ltd, Singapore, and the Ministry of Oil and Gas of the Sultanate of Oman”. A Cabinet memorandum dated February 15 2019 reaffirms that Silver Park International (Pte) Ltd of Singapore will hold 70 percent of shares while 30 percent will be owned by the Ministry of Oil and Gas of Sultanate of Oman”.

 A letter dated March 12 2019 from the BOI to Silver Park International in Singapore also refers to an undertaking from Silver Park to set up a project for 10 MMPTA Green Field oil refinery in Hambantota for export market in collaboration with the Sultanate of Oman Ministry of Oil and Gas.

As soon as the deal was announced by the government of Sri Lanka, Oman swiftly denied it had any part in the multibillion dollar investment. Omani Government said it had not invested any funds, nor agreed to invest any money so far on the project. That leaves Silver Park,  like Global, as the star of the show. Thanks to the publicity, the identity of the investors have aroused local interest.

 Silver Park International (Pte) Ltd was incorporated on June 15, 2017, in Singapore. It was, therefore, set up several months after the first investment proposal was submitted to the BOI in Sri Lanka. The directors of Silver Park, like Global, are confined to one family. They are Jegath Rakshagan Sundeep Anand, Jagathrakshakan Sri Nisha and Jagathrakshakan Anusuya. They are the son, daughter and wife of S. Jagathrakshakan, a Tamilnadu politician based in Chennai.

S. Jagathrakshakan has held positions as Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Minister of State for New and Renewable Energy and Minister of State for Commerce and Industry.  He has been embroiled in several allegations. It is widely reported that his personal wealth increased by 12 times in just two years from INR 5.9 crore in 2009 to INR 70 crore in 2011. Media reports said this was the highest percentage increase for assets among all ministers in the central Cabinet during that period.  Jagathrakshakan’s name was also associated with the infamous Indian coal allocation scam too.

 This ‘Silver Park’ family have incorporated two companies in Sri Lanka. These two companies are Silver Park International (Pvt) Ltd and Silver Park Petroleum (Pvt) Ltd. There are no Omani nationals or representatives in either company,   reported Namini Wijedasa.

Silver Park International in Sri Lanka was set up on September 10, 2018. Its directors are the same family, Jegath Rakshagan Sundeep Anand, Jagathrakshakan Sri Nisha, Jagathrakshakan Anusuya plus a fourth, Kunasingam Jasoharan of Mullaitivu.

 The stated objectives  of this company are to carry out the business of manufacturing, importing, exporting, distributorship, intending, brokering, real estates, transportation and wholesale trade; to participate in Government tenders in order to implement the same project and to carry on bulk or wholesale trading activities; to operate as an investment holding company; to act as an agent or representative to any other person or companies; and to carry out any other business whatsoever the company may decide at a directors’ meeting”.

Silver Park Petroleum” was formed on February 21,2019,  six days after Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama submitted his latest Cabinet paper on the subject. Its  directors are the same  family, Sundeep Anand, Sri Nisha, Kunasingham Jasoharan  with a fourth, Dr T.A.G. Gunasekara. ‘Silver Park Petroleum’” was created  to build a 10 MMPTA (million metric tons per annum) petroleum refinery for exports at Hambantota.

The foundation stone was laid for the new oil refinery on 24.3.19 at Hambantota. The Omani Oil and Gas Minister who was visiting Sri Lanka  was also there. The Omani Minister had  met Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at Temple Trees earlier on. The meeting at Temple Trees was more in the nature of a courtesy call, a spokesman for the Prime Minister’s office said.. No specifics were discussed. This  possible ‘scam’ has been incorrectly  compared to the Volkswagen deal, it is nothing like the Volkswagen deal. It is  like  the Bambalapitiya deal.

APPOINTMENT OF  HIGH COURT JUDGE KANNAN

Ramanathan Kannan   who had failed to get a position as Magistrate was appointed a high court judge by the Yahapalana government, over the heads of all the others on the list. Three legal bodies, the Judicial Services Commission, the Judicial Service Association and the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, reacted strongly to this appointment. They all  said it was irregular. The senior-most judge who should have been promoted was, D. L. A. Manaf, District Judge of Vavuniya. D. L. A. Manaf was promoted to the High Court in March 2017.

Judicial Services Commission (JSC) wrote to the President withdrawing its earlier recommendation that Ramanathan Kannan be appointed a High Court Judge.  JSC said that if the BASL had made ‘no proper recommendation’ on the matter, the recommendation that the JSC had sent earlier to the President had ‘no force or avail in law’.

Article 111(2) (a) of the Constitution stipulates that judges of the High Court can be appointed by the president only on the recommendation of the Judicial Services Commission. This retraction by the JSC therefore made Ramanathan Kannan’s appointment as High Court Judge unconstitutional, said the media, but the JSC did not expressly recommend that Kannan be removed from office.

The Secretary to the President wrote to the Judicial Services Commission seeking a recommendation for the removal of Kannan in terms of Article 111(2) (b) of the Constitution, which provides for the dismissal of High Court judges by the President on the recommendations of the JSC. But JSC  did not make such a recommendation.   JSC said it could intervene only when there is a complaint related to a disciplinary matter. Critics however, observed that once the JSC retracted their recommendation, he should have been removed by the President. However this has not happened.   Kannan l continued to be a High Court Judge.

Judicial Service Association, (JSA), which represents the district judges and magistrates of Sri Lanka, had met the Chief Justice, K Sri Pavan  to discuss the Kannan matter and to inform him of the concerns of the judicial officers of the minor judiciary. JSA requested the Chief Justice and other members of the Judicial Service Commission to reconsider the appointment of Ramanathan Kannan as High Court Judge. Appointing a lawyer practicing at the unofficial bar over the heads of many senior judges who had been serving for more than 16 years was a case of overlooking the rights of the entire subordinate judiciary. A thing that has not happened in recent history.

The JSA also requested the JSC to recommend to the President the removal of   Kannan in terms of Article 111(2)(b) of the Constitution, since the said appointment was made on the misrepresentation of facts. If the need was to appoint a Tamil speaking High Court judge for the north and east, the senior most candidate would be the District Judge of Vavuniya D. L. A. Manaf.  He is a highly qualified judge with LLB and LLM degrees from the University of Colombo and has served as a judge for 17 years .

Judicial Services Association called  a  special General meeting to discuss the  appointment and also the involvement of BASL, in view of the fact that BASL  has no say in the appointment of judges. At the meeting JSA passed a unanimous resolution objecting to the Kannan appointment and declaring it to be an interference with the independence of the judiciary. They asked that the judge be removed and that he be barred from functioning as a judge until he is removed.

The JSA  adopted five resolutions seeking the removal of Ramanathan Kannan from the position of High Court Judge. The first resolution requested President Maithripala Sirisena to remove Ramanathan Kannan from the position of High Court Judge as the appointment has no force or avail in law. Judicial Services Commission (JSC) and the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) have re-affirmed that the recommendation with regard to the appointment of Kannan has no force or avail in law.

Second resolution requested the JSC to recommend the President to remove Kannan from the position of the High Court Judge.   Third resolution requested the JSC to consider not allowing Kannan to function as High Court Judge till he is officially removed from the said position. The fourth resolution stated that the independence of the judiciary has been violated by the controversial appointment of Kannan and requested the President and the JSC to restore and uphold the integrity and independence of the judiciary.

The last resolution requested the JSC to refrain from recommending nominations submitted to them from the unofficial bar for appointing High Court Judges directly in future. The appointment of Judges for High Court from unofficial Bar undermines the knowledge, experience and sacrifices made by the District Judges and Magistrates who work under immense pressures and difficulties for long periods of time in difficult areas during their career.

The Bar Association came under the spotlight over the Kannan matter. The Judicial Services Association  informed  the Bar Association that the Chief Justice had told them that the appointment had been made due to representations made to the President by the unofficial bar. This request had then been communicated to the Judicial Services Commission and the JSA had acceded to this request. The JSA  stated that it   had  checked with the Bar Association  and was told that neither the Bar Council nor the Executive Committee of the Sri Lanka Bar Association had anything to do with it. Some elements in the Sri Lanka Bar Association have misled the President and the Chief Justice.

The Bar Association was also concerned. Their reputation was at stake. BASL appointed an expert committee to look into the matter. The expert committee consisted of Upul Jaysuriya, Ikram Mohamed, Romesh de Silva, Upali Gunaratna, Nihal Jayamanne, Ajitha Athukorale, W.Dayaratna, Faiz Musthapha and K. Kanageeswaran. Thereafter  BASL held a meeting to discuss the Kannan issue.

This committee informed the Bar Association that  it was not possible to ask for Kannan’s removal as  Kannan had not violated any conditions set out in Article 111 (2) of the Constitution.  If the President was to remove Kannan without due cause, it would set a bad precedence. Also a disciplinary committee would need to be appointed to investigate  the Judge and his actions before any recommendations for his removal are made. The BASL decided that since the BASL did not recommend the appointment, they would now not intervene to either ask for his removal or continuance. 

BASL President, U.R. de Silva, told reporters that the BASL did not approve of the appointment of Kannan to the HC and that the former BASL President Alagaratnam had recommended Kannan in his private capacity, using letterheads of the BASL and that it was wrong to have done so. According to the BASL Constitution, the President of the Association could not issue such letters without the knowledge of the Executive Committee. BASL made it clear that this recommendation was not made by the BASL. BASL has nothing to do with this. A few people from the BASL acting on their own had gone to the President and asked that this appointment be made.

What  really happened  is this, said Chandraprema. A political party had first approached the Minister of Justice regarding the Kannan appointment but he had refused to accommodate them on the grounds that political parties have no role in the appointment of judges. Then this political party approached the Bar Association. Some members of the Bar Association had then written to the President and followed it up with a personal meeting as well. The President, BASL then wrote to the JSC saying that the Bar Association would like this person appointed to the High Court.

Presidential Secretariat said that Geoffrey Alagaratnam had met the President twice to canvass for Kannan’s appointment, not with members of the BASL Executive Committee but with some outsiders. This was denied by Alagaratnam who told the BASL that he did not meet the President. Alagaratnam  also said that despite any canvassing he (Alagaratnam) may have done to the President and to the Chief Justice on behalf of Kannan, it was up to the CJ and the JSC to exercise ‘due diligence’ before recommending Kannan to the President for appointment to the High Court. 

President Maithripala Sirisena stated that he had not made an arbitrary decision in this regard. He stated that this appointment was made following a written request made by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL). Mahinda Rajapaksa  said that in the nine years that he was President, he had appointed only one Supreme Court judge from the private bar and not a single member of the private bar had been appointed to either the Court of Appeal or the High Court by his government.

The Bar Association is now a highly politicized body with a UNP parliamentarian once functioning as its President, said Chandraprema. BASL President played a major role in the regime change project of 2015 and was given a top political appointment the moment the government changed. Yahapalana was ready to give further powers as a reward for the role played by many lawyers in the regime change project of January 2015.  These lawyers knew exactly what power they wanted, it was the right to appoint judges. A group within the BASL, seeing that Yahapalana was under obligation to them,   exerted this power straightaway. It is they who nominated Kannan, said Chandraprema.  Kannan is obviously being backed by an influential lobby, said Hemantha Warnakulasuriya.

Alagaratnam just before he stepped down from the position of President of the BASL, had written a letter to the new Chief Justice Priyasath Dep  saying  that the BASL has ‘every right’ to make recommendations to the President to appoint eminent members of the bar for judicial appointments and called on the President to consider the recommendations made by the BASL for appointments to the judiciary from time to time.

Unfortunately, there was no provision in the law to enable the Bar Association to make such recommendations. Therefore, the first draft of the 19th Amendment contained a provision that the Constitutional Council would have to consult the Chief Justice and the Bar Association in making appointments to the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. This was shot down by the Joint Opposition  but re- appeared in the draft prepared by Constitutional  reform committee , which  gave the Bar Association a role in the appointment of judges to the superior courts.

. Lawyers  for Democracy”  in a statement issued in 2017,  justified the appointment of Ramanathan Kannan as a High Court Judge .There have been several appointments of private practitioners to the High Court from 1974 onwards, one of the recent appointments being that of  Paramarajah during Chief Justice Sarath Silva’s tenure of office. One of the reasons being the lack of Tamil-speaking judges .

In our view, when appointing a practicing lawyer to the higher judiciary, views should be obtained only from the President of the Bar Association and not from its committees such as the Bar Council or the Executive Committee. If the whole Bar Council or the Executive Committee is involved there will be canvassing and open debate, compromising the nominee’s independence. The practice has always been for the President of the Bar Association to make such recommendations, whenever suitable candidates are proposed.”The statement was  Signed Lal Wijenayaka, K.S. Ratnavale and JC Weliamuna, on behalf of Lawyers for Democracy.

Hemantha Warnakulasuriya responded. The appointment that was made when Sarath Silva was the CJ  was in 2007 when the High Court judge in Jaffna retired and no other Tamil speaking judge was willing to go there out of fear, he said. Then Sarath  Silva went to Jaffna, and appointed S. Paramarajah a highly respected senior lawyer as a High Court judge. The Jaffna Bar Association and The BASL was not informed that such an appointment was being made. Paramarajah was posted to the Eastern province and the Eastern province High Court judge was posted to the North. That was a special appointment made in difficult circumstances by the JSC so as to keep the Jaffna courts functioning, said. (Island 3.3.17 p 10 )

You have to look at all this from the point of view of the members of the judicial service. Those who join the service as Magistrates serve in various difficult areas and gradually get promoted. Their ultimate aim is to reach the superior courts, after which they retire. That is their chosen career path. To deprive any one of them of a justly earned promotion by appointing an outsider is a crime, Warnakulasuriya added.

Judicial Services Association said that Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe had told them that a political party had wanted Kannan appointed a high court judge, suspicion naturally centered on the Tamil National Alliance. TNA flatly denied responsibility,  but loudly supported Kannan. TNA but strongly opposed the JSA call to remove Kannan. JSA’s demand amounted to interference in the JSC. HC judge Kannan is still in office, Sumanthiran said.

President Sirisena had made the appointment following JSC recommendation in consultation with the Attorney General. “Therefore, legally, the appointment is valid,  said M.A. Sumanthiran. Kannan’s appointment couldn’t be rescinded by the President.   The Constitution states that once appointed a HC judge could be removed only on disciplinary grounds on the basis of an inquiry carried out by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and thereafter on a recommendation made to the President. We don’t see any reason to initiate a disciplinary inquiry in respect of the new HC judge, said Sumanthiran.

Sumanthiran said that appointments to the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal as well as High Court could be made from the judiciary, official bar and unofficial bar. He gave the example of appointment of C. G. Weeramantry from the private bar to the Supreme Court, It is conveniently forgotten that the Kannan appointment was made against the backdrop of a shortage of Tamil speaking judges. Kannan’s appointment was also supported by Tamil lawyers. There was an unusual number of lawyers from Batticaloa at the BASL meeting, ready to defend Alagaratnam, observed the media.  

It is now admitted, said analysts, that Kannan has been appointed as a judge of the High Court by mistake. The former Chief Justice  had assumed that Alagaratnam was speaking on behalf of the BASL.  We now have a preposterous situation where a High Court appointment has been made without the proper procedure being followed. That High Court judge has taken oaths and is now functioning as a High Court Judge. He cannot be removed unless some wrong doing is proved on his part.

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka has no constitutional, legal or moral right to make recommendations for the appointment of judges and that if the private bar is given the power to recommend the appointment of judges, that would corrupt the entire justice system with judges being dependent on the lawyers appearing before them for promotions and appointments, said analysts.

If the judges of this country are going to be dependent on the lawyers appearing before them for appointment and promotion, they will be compelled  to give them the verdicts that they want and it will lead to unimaginable corruption in the judiciary. If a member of the private bar is to be appointed to the judiciary at all, it should never be done on the recommendation of that lawyer’s colleagues.

Judges of the Court of Appeal and the High Court are best appointed through promotion from the lower judiciary or the Attorney General’s Department. Furthermore, if at all a judge is being appointed from the private bar it is best that such appointments be restricted to the Supreme Court. Kannan   in the mean time, continues  as HC judge in Jaffna. (Continued)

One Response to “YAHAPALANA AND CORRUPTION Part 2B”

  1. Randeniyage Says:

    @Kamalika
    If you are a woman, mother or a daughter please write something on this. Look at what has happened to our motherland ! Ranil,MR,MY3,Anura, Chandrika all should be sent to jail if this is not stopped.
    Pedophiles are running the country now.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reEd0WtlM5Q

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