The Judicial Service Association (JSA) has expressed its concern about four names proposed for imminent appointments to the High Court.
The JSC said in a statement that it has learnt that four names have been proposed for the imminent appointments to the High Court, which includes Tikiri Jayathilaka currently serving as the Deputy Secretary General of Parliament and another officer from the Attorney General's Department.
It said Tikiri Jayathilaka previously served as a Magistrate since 2006 until he resigned to take over his appointment as an Assistant Secretary of Parliament. His request to assign him to the Parliament staff as a secondment was refused by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) for apparent reasons.
“As such, his exposure to a non-legal institution was deemed to be a disqualification to reassume duties as a member of the judiciary at any future stage. Consequently, his candidacy to re-enter the judiciary is quite contrary to the prior JSC decision that has already been taken concerning Mr. Jayathilake's reoccupation in the judiciary.
“In terms of Article 111(2) (2) of the Constitution, the President is vested with the power to appoint Judges to the High Court on the recommendation of the JSC. However, in this instance, there exists a decision made by the JSC preventing his admission to the judiciary from Parliament. Accordingly, his admission to the High Court is a circumvention of a previous JSC decision that is unfavourable to him.
The recommendation of the JSC under certain circumstances at this stage despite its previous decision cannot validate or substantiate his re-entering the judiciary.
“The JSA is of the view that this endeavour results in detriment to the Independence of the judiciary, especially the independence of the judges of the trial court.
The JSA has also made it known that the officer from the Attorney General's Department is a very junior officer compared to the judicial officers who are next in line in judicial seniority.
It is a known fact that for most of the career judges, the appointment to the High Court has become the only career prospect. As such, this situation has resulted in frustration and disappointment among the judicial officers who serve throughout the country for years.
The JSA has requested the President to refrain from appointing Tikiri Jayathilaka to the High Court and consider the seniority when an officer from the Attorney General's Department is appointed to the High Court.
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