Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - FRONT PAGE - BY SANDUN A JAYASEKERA

For the first time in Sri Lanka’s ju­di­cial his­tory I have nom­i­nated the most se­nior and ex­pe­ri­enced Supreme Court Judge to the post of Chief Jus­tice and hope the Con­sti­tu­tional Coun­cil will con­firm my nom­i­nee as the 46th Chief Jus­tice of Sri Lanka, Pres­i­dent Maithri­pala Sirisena said.

He said this at a cer­e­mony held yes­ter­day at ‘Ape Gama’ in Bat­tara­mulla where let­ters of ap­point­ment were handed over to Re­gional For­est Of­fi­cers and the Pro­duc­tiv­ity Awards of the Ma­haweli Devel­op­ment and En­vi­ron­ment De­part­ment.

The Pres­i­dent said in sev­eral in­stances in the past the Heads of State had ap­pointed Chief Jus­tices not on merit but on po­lit­i­cal, per­sonal or party con­sid­er­a­tions.

“The Supreme Court judges met me soon af­ter I re­turned from Sey­chelles early this week and urged me to nom­i­nate the most qual­i­fied and se­nior judge of the Supreme Court as the Chief Jus­tice. They said by do­ing so the ca­reer judges would nurse the con­fi­dence that they too will stand the chance of be­ing ap­pointed to the post sans un­due in­flu­ence,” he said.

He said he did not sub­mit sev­eral names to be con­sid­ered for the post of CJ but only the name of an of­fi­cial who had served the ju­di­ciary for 38 years and 11 months hav­ing served as a Pres­i­dent of a Labour Tri­bunal and risen from the ranks to Sri Lanka’s apex court.

Re­fer­ring to the need to safe­guard forests and the en­vi­ron­ment, the Pres­i­dent said hu­man be­ings over­came evo­lu­tion­ary chal­lenges by pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment and adapt­ing to the changes of na­ture.

“The value of the en­vi­ron­ment, forests and na­ture for the ex­is­tence of mankind and for the safety of the earth is be­yond mea­sure. There­fore, the em­ploy­ees of the For­est De­part­ment, Re­gional For­est Of­fi­cers, District For­est Of­fi­cers, Beat For­est Of­fi­cers, Field of­fi­cers have a huge re­spon­si­bil­ity to pro­tect, de­velop and ex­pand for­est cover for the ben­e­fit of fu­ture gen­er­a­tions,” he said. “the new ap­pointees have se­cured those po­si­tions by fac­ing a test and in­ter­view. They are the top in knowl­edge and ed­u­ca­tion. But knowl­edge and ed­u­ca­tion alone would not be suf­fi­cient to do an ef­fi­cient and pro­duc­tive duty that would be ben­e­fi­cial to the na­tion and coun­try. It is the com­mit­ment, ded­i­ca­tion, hu­mane feel­ing and duty con­scious­ness that mat­ter to give a proper and pro­duc­tive ser­vice.”

The Pres­i­dent said their ser­vice and pro­duc­tiv­ity will be judged in four or five years not by their knowl­edge but from their ded­i­ca­tion, ef­fi­ciency and com­mit­ment to serve the coun­try.

“There­fore, it is ex­tremely im­por­tant that you do your job as a ser­vice and duty to the coun­try and peo­ple,” the Pres­i­dent said.

A newly-ap­pointed Re­gional For­est Of­fi­cer seen re­ceiv­ing his let­ter of ap­point­ment from the Pres­i­dent in the pres­ence of Deputy En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Ajith Man­nap­pe­ruma, Ma­haweli Devel­op­ment and En­vi­ron­ment Min­istry Sec­re­tary Anura Dis­sanayaka and Con­ser­va­tor Gen­eral of Forests, Anura Sathu­rus­ingha.

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