The Judicial Service Association of Sri Lanka (JSASL), the only organisation in the country that represents all District Court judges and Magistrates, has expressed its displeasure with the President’s decision to appoint former Assistant Secretary General of Parliament Tikiri Jayathilaka and Senior State Counsel Nayani Nirmala Kasthuriratne as High Court judges.
In a letter to President Ranil Wickremesinghe, the JSASL expressed concern that these two appointments could undermine public trust in the judiciary and the rule of law in the country.
According to reports, the JSASL decided during a special executive committee meeting on June 1 to express its displeasure with these two appointments, which are detrimental to the independence of the judiciary, particularly the independence of trial court judges. According to the JSASL, the President made these appointments despite its request in a letter dated May 26, 2023.
The JSASL maintained that Mr. Jayathilaka’s involvement with a non-legal institution barred him from resuming duties as a member of the judiciary at any time in the future.
According to the JSASL, the officer from the Attorney General’s Department is a very junior officer in comparison to the judicial officers who are next in line in judicial seniority.
“It is well known that for the majority of career judges, appointment to the High Court has become the only career option.” As a result, the JSASL recently stated, “this situation has resulted in frustration and disappointment among the judicial officers who have served throughout the country for years.”