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Resignation of Mullaitivu Judge raises concern: Jurist

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The resignation of Sri Lankan Judge T. Saravanaraja raises serious questions about the independence of the judiciary in Sri Lanka, the Jurist Website said.

In the resignation letter, addressed to the Secretary of Sri Lanka’s Judicial Services Commission, Judge Saravanaraja cited the “threat of my life and … [a] lot of stress” as the reasons for his decision to step down.

Saravanaraja was a judge in the Mullaitivu District.  Notably, Saravanaraja had recently presided over two significant cases, the website said.

“The first case involved a dispute over a religious site, Kurunthamalai. Saravanaraja ordered the removal of recently erected structures, including an unlawfully constructed Buddhist shrine situated atop Kurunthamalai.

“The second case pertained to the Sri Lankan government’s stifling of a memorial event honoring a deceased member of the LTTE. Additionally, in July 2023, Saravanaraja ordered excavations at a mass grave site in Kokkuthoduvai, adding to the growing list of sensitive issues in the region.

“Saravanaraja alleged that a senior official from the Attorney General’s Department invited him to his office on September 21 and, during that meeting, compelled him to reverse his order in the Kurunthurmalai case.

“Furthermore, Saravanaraja claimed that Sri Lankan Members of Parliament Sarath Weerasekera and other politicians threatened his life.

“The judge also said that his police protection presence had been reduced while intelligence officers continued to surveil him. Lastly, the judge stated that two cases were filed against him personally in Sri Lanka’s Court of Appeals in connection to his decision on the Kurunthamalai case,” the Jurist said.

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Indian-owned ship held in Colombo after oil spill; travel ban imposed on captain

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The Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) has taken custody of a ship which had caused an oil spill while anchored at the Colombo Port.

A spokesperson of the MEPA stated that legal action has been initiated against the company that owns the ship and the relevant insurance company regarding the oil spill. Under the Marine Environment Protection Authority Act, the MEPA is seeking compensation for the incident, the authority revealed.

The ship, owned by an Indian company, had recently arrived at the Port of Colombo for maintenance activities. A special investigation conducted by MEPA had revealed a leak of hydraulic oil from the ship. The company’s owner has admitted to the incident and agreed to provide compensation, according to the MEPA.

Furthermore, the Colombo Magistrate Court has imposed a travel ban on the captain of the ship preventing him from leaving the country, as per a request made by the Colombo Port Police.

(This story, originally published by adaderana.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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5 companies fined Rs. 1,243 Mn. for illegal gold imports

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State Finance Minister Dr. Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said that five companies have been identified for illegally importing gold into Sri Lanka during the past few years, and fines of Rs.1,243 million have been imposed on those companies.

The Minister said that one of the related companies was ordered to pay Rs.179 million as fines.

Emphasising that from now on, all licensed institutions carrying out import of gold goods should avoid these illegal acts, the Minister said that the relevant institutions will also be charged fines for the gold purchased by even third parties considering the production reports.

He said the efforts to stabilise the state revenue of the country are currently being carried out by closing all the loopholes related to the loss of state revenue gradually.

Certain parties who import gold goods have turned this into a big racket and therefore there is a mafia around it.There were various challenges and threats when the government tried to curb this mafia initially.

The Minister further said that there were various levels of threats, pressure and intimidation, and the government did not waver in the face of all these challenges and moved to the second step.

(dailynews.lk)

(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by dailynews.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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Teachers & Principals launch TU action

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Teachers and principals in schools across the island will engage in trade union action today.

Convenor of the National Collective Against Teachers’ and Principals’ Salary Disparities Venerable Ulapane Sumangala Thero, says teachers and principals will report sick today.

The decision has been made due to the lack of solutions provided to issues related to salary anomalies.

In a statement yesterday, the Ministry of Education confirmed that schools will operate as usual today and tomorrow.

Meanwhile, The strike initiated by non-academic employees of state universities continues for the 29th consecutive day.

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