VIDEO: The worst judge is one who succumbs to pressure – Chief Justice

VIDEO: The worst judge is one who succumbs to pressure – Chief Justice

December 22, 2012   04:51 pm

An independent judiciary is an essential feature for a functional democracy, where the courts are regarded as “temples of justice,” said Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake.

She stated that for the existence of an independent judiciary, it is not only necessary but essential to ensure that the basic principles of rule of law is observed at every level to all citizens on an equal basis.

In order to guarantee that there is strict observance of the rule of law it is necessary that a fair hearing is given to every citizen who is called upon to defend himself before a tribunal on matters affecting his rights, she said addressing the Annual Judges Conference today (22).

These are not new concepts which had emerged overnight nor are they just theories which had been set without any basis, Bandaranayake emphasized.

“Of course it goes without saying sitting judges should never get involved in politics,” she said.

In order to ensure that justice is meted out, the judges must be able to carry out their functions in the calmness, serenity and safety which are necessary for their independence, she stated.

Emphasizing that a judge must be willing and able to make many sacrifices to uphold independence, Bandaranayake said a judge should be willing to sacrifice what others are capable of enjoying.

  He must stand firm through any and all apprehensions and want of personal benefits in the name of justice, she said.

“The worst judge is not one who is merely deaf but one who also succumbs to pressure,” Dr. Bandaranayake said during the conference held at the hotel Taj Samudra, Colombo.

“It is as much the responsibility of the judge to stand above it without any fear or favor as it is the responsibility of the legislature, the executive and the society at large to ensure that they are capable of discharging their constitutional duties without undue adverse intimidation.”

While noting the significance of today’s event, the Chief Justice said what she most admires is the strength and courage shown by the organizers in making the event a reality “amid so many debacles” and at very short notice.   

“The support all of you had given over a period of time on many burning issues which all of us had to face during the last few months, no doubt was the foundation for the courage, unity and determination that was exhibited,” she said.

Bandaranayake stated that the theme of this year’s conference, based on the independence of the judiciary, is not only timely but also opportune “since socially, economically and historically we are at an important juncture.”

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