For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
Wednesday, 04 August 2010 15:35
Filing fundamental objections when the case filed against editor of ‘Lanka Irida’ Chandana Sirimalwatta for insulting the Judiciary came before Court, Mr. Saliya Peiris, the counselor for Mr. Sirimalwatta, stated that the Supreme Court had no jurisdiction to hear the case.
Counselor Peiris pointed out despite the Supreme Court had been given authority by clause 105 (03) of the Constitution to act regarding instances of it being insulted, nowhere in the document it is stated what these insults are. Only the Judicial Service Commission and Chief Magistrate have been mentioned he said. It is the Appeal Court that has been given authority to hear instances of judiciary being insulted he pointed out.
Chief Justice Asoka de Silva: Do you mean that the Appeal Court has more powers than the Supreme Court to hear such cases?
Counselor Saliya Peiris: No. I do not say that. This incident has not directly insulted the Supreme Court. Hence, it should be inquired into by the Appeal Court.
Deputy Solicitor General S. Rajaratnam: The Supreme Court has been directly insulted by this incident. The article has insulted the Judiciary Service Commission. The President of the Judiciary Service Commission is the Chief Justice.
Counselor Saliya Peiris: The Judiciary Service Commission is mentioned in clause 15 of the Constitution. The Judiciary Service Commission and Supreme Court are two different institutions independent of each other. Let’s take it this way. The Chief Justice is the ex-officio Chairman of the Council ofLegal Education. Can we consider an article written criticizing the Chairman of the Council ofLegal Education as one that insults the Supreme Court?
At this the Chief Justice consulted the President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka Shibly Aziz, PC and he said he needed time to study regarding the point brought up by counselor Saliya Peiris. A large number of Parliamentarians, intellectuals, journalists and civilians were present at the Court premises when the case was being heard.