For the first time in Sri Lanka’s judicial history a magistrate has been stripped of his position following a complaint lodged by a Civil Society Organization. The official who was stripped of his position is D.M.A.I Dissanayake, who obtained his position by allegedly submitting an application using a false address.
Executive Director of the Centre for Human Rights (CHR) Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon lodged a complaint against Dissanayake’s appointment at the Judicial Services Commission.
He stated that Dissanayake has given a false address in his application, at No 73/1, Water Tank Road, Colombo 10, had engaged in active politics for some time, organized meetings supporting the removal of former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake and taking part in actively supporting the forces that removed Shirani Bandaranayake from her position, ignoring the Bar Association of Sri Lanka’s directives.
Tennakoon added that Dissanayake also posts highly political material on his Facebook profile. He further adds that ‘The current batch of recruits were taken in a relatively independent and transparent manner. Appointment of suitable persons as magistrates is of vital importance as the rule of law and the judicial system had degenerated significantly in the recent past.
If we fail again and people’s faith is violated again, it will have an adverse effect on the country because the courts of law are the final line of defence for many. The BASL had lodged a verbal complaint against Dissanayake at the Commission. Although they wanted to lodge a complaint later that was not done because of the intervention of a senior judicial officer.’
Commenting on the development Tennakoon said that “this is a landmark in our attempts to reform the judicial system. We have come a long way and it was painful. But now finally we have accomplished something.” This is the first time that a magistrate was removed from the judicial service after a complaint was lodged by a civil society activist.
At a time when there are many criticism on judicial independence, most recently regarding the assassination of Raviraj, the pro active approach of the Judicial Commission is commendable. (Colombo Gazette)