Courts come to standstill in Sri Lanka

Rural courts came to a standstill in Sri Lanka on Monday as judges filed into the capital city for a crucial meeting called by the chief justice who is currently embroiled in an impeachment motion brought by the government, an official said.

Dozens of judges belonging to Sri Lanka’s District and Magistrates Courts arrived for the meeting called by Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake in what is seen as a deepening rift between the judiciary and legislature.

Last month the Sri Lankan government began hearings against the chief justice as part of an impeachment motion that has been criticized as being politically motivated, a charge that the government has vehemently denied.

Ahead of the meeting a statement released by the Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem noted that the actions of the judges will result in the public losing confidence in the judiciary.

“This (meeting) will undoubtedly cause great inconvenience to the public, especially litigants and witnesses and also contribute to delays. It could also result in the erosion of public confidence in the administration of justice. Such action would not be adopted by persons responsible for upholding the rights of citizens,” he was quoted as saying.

Protests have already been planned for Tuesday to coincide with the second session of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) appointed to hold hearings on the charges brought against the Chief Justice.

Bandaranayake is expected to arrive in parliament during the morning with her lawyers to respond to nine charges brought against her. (Xinhua)