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 CC yet to receive nominees to fill CA vacancies

CC yet to receive nominees to fill CA vacancies

22 May 2024 | BY Buddhika Samaraweera

  • Efficiency and effectiveness of the judicial system are hampered: BASL  

Despite the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) raising concerns regarding the prolonged delay in appointing Judges to fill the vacancies in the Court of Appeal (CA), no related nomination is yet to be referred to the Constitutional Council (CC).

In a recent letter addressed to President Ranil Wickremesinghe, the BASL emphasised on the issue, stating that there were as many as five CA vacancies at present. Nominations for Supreme Court (SC) and CA Judges are first referred to the CC by the President, as per the relevant provisions in the Constitution.

The Daily Morning queried the CC Chairperson, the Speaker of the Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana as to whether the CC has received any nominations from the President, to which he replied: "We have not received any recommendation yet." He also mentioned that there is a related lawsuit going on, but that the relevant lawsuit is about appointing Judges to the SC except for the Chief Justice.

In the letter dated 10 May, the BASL stated: "The Judiciary plays a pivotal role in upholding the rule of law, enforcing justice, and safeguarding the rights of all citizens. However, the efficiency and effectiveness of the judicial system are significantly hampered when key positions remain vacant for extended periods." It further highlighted the issues faced due to these vacancies, such as the increase in the backlog of cases, the delay in the dispensation of justice, the erosion of public trust in the legal system, and ultimately, the denial of justice to the citizens.

The CA holds the distinction of being the second-highest Court within the country's legal framework, with only the SC ranking above it. Formally established in 1971 through the enactment of the CA Act, No. 44 of 1971, this judicial body possesses the authority to adjudicate appeals originating from the High Court or any subordinate court. Furthermore, its rulings are subject to further appeal to the SC.

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