(Courtesy of The Island)

A Foreign Ministry panjandrum has come under fire for allegedly seeking to facilitate a UN bid to influence the Sri Lankan judiciary. The Opposition is out for his scalp as he has written to the Chief Justice and the High Court judges, asking them to make available information pertaining to some cases to a group of UN officials.Allegations that foreign powers are influencing the Sri Lankan judiciary are not of recent origin. They have been there for the last several years. Two months ago, UPFA MP and Joint Opposition member Udaya Gammanpila told Parliament that a US diplomat had sought information about some ongoing court cases here from a group of Sri Lankan judges attending a seminar in Washington.

The government ought to act on the aforesaid very serious allegation against the Foreign Ministry and order an investigation to find out whether the official concerned has done anything high-handed and his action amounts to a violation of the Constitution, as alleged by some MPs. It is hoped that the Opposition won’t allow the issue to fizzle out with the passage of time.

The incumbent government brags that it has restored the independence of the judiciary. If so, there cannot be allegations of foreign interference with the judicial system. A prerequisite for ensuring judicial independence is to prevent foreign governments from getting involved in various programmes purportedly aimed at modernising and strengthening the judicial system. Nothing comes without strings attached thereto. Such matters must not be left to foreign governments or the outfits funded by them.

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