Free Press Journal

‘Sri Lankan chief justice wants diplomatic post to quit’


Colombo: Sri Lanka’s Chief Justice Mohan Peiris has demanded a diplomatic post overseas as a condition for his resignation, drawing flak from the judiciary, a senior lawyer said Friday.

Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) president Upul Jayasuriya told Xinhua that emergency meetings would be held by the association Friday and Saturday to decide if they would continue to recognise Peiris as the chief justice.

“We have urged his resignation as he is one of the suspects in the investigation into an alleged coup attempt by the former government. He is unfit to hold office and we will convene meetings today and tomorrow to discuss the matter,” Jayasuriya said.

“He has asked for some diplomatic post overseas as a condition for his resignation,” Jayasuriya said, adding that such a condition has brought shame to the entire judicial system in the country.

The chief justice has reportedly asked for a diplomatic post in Britain, Brazil or Italy.

Though the government said earlier this week that Peiris had tendered his resignation, a lawyer told reporters Thursday that Peiris has not resigned.

“It was reported in the media that Chief Justice Peiris has resigned from office. However, there is absolutely no truth to these claims,” Wijeratne Kodipilli, who claimed to be the chief justice’s spokesman, said.

Peiris has been under pressure from the BASL as well as the government to resign, due to his presence at the presidential office shortly after the Jan 8 election. His presence was seen with suspicion.

It is alleged that former president Mahinda Rajapaksa and his close aides were discussing the possibility of a coup, after results showed he was losing in the presidential election.

Though the previous government denied allegations of a coup attempt, the matter is being investigated after a complaint was lodged with the criminal investigations department by the newly elected Maithripala Sirisena government.