bypasses CC to appoint Appeal Court judges
President Mahinda Rajapaksa this week appointed
two sitting High Court judges to the long vacant seats in the Court
of Appeal by-passing the crippled Constitutional Council.
Ms. Rohini Perera and Mr. Sarath de Abrew were
appointed to the Court of Appeal ignoring a request from the Attorney
General to appoint a senior law officer of the Department to one
of the vacancies.
The Presidential order also casts aside a communication
from former President Chandrika Kumaratunga to appoint Deputy Solicitor
General Anil Gooneratne to the first vacancy. Mr. Gooneratne's appointment
last year could not be implemented because the Constitutional Council
was unable to sit due to the inability of political parties represented
in Parliament to fill some vacancies in the Council.The move to
appoint two members from the judiciary also cuts across a previous
convention that vacancies to the appellate courts be equally divided
from among those serving as judges and those as state prosecutors
and senior members of the private bar willing to join the judiciary.
The Presidential appointments come in the wake
of growing criticism to the by-passing of the Constitutional Council
in the manner of making appointments to the Police Commission, Public
Service Commission, and now the senior Judiciary as stipulated by
the 17th Amendment to the Constitution.
Meanwhile, the President of the Court of Appeal
Justice Andrew Somawansa has been promoted to the vacancy in the
Supreme Court and Justice P. Balapatabendi has been appointed the
new President of the Court of Appeal.
All four Justices will take their oaths of office
Rohini Perera began her legal career as a state counsel
in the Attorney General’s Department in 1980 and she
joined the judiciary as a Magistrate in 1982. She became a
High Court judge in 1999 and served, Colombo in 2005.
Sarath De Abrew was appointed Magistrate in 1982 and served
as District Judge in Tangalle from 1987-1990 during the height
of the JVP insurrection.He was appointed High Court Judge