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Sri Lanka president appoints top judge as chief justice
January 31, 2015 / 12:06 PM / 3 years ago

Sri Lanka president appoints top judge as chief justice

COLOMBO, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka’s new president has appointed the country’s most senior judge as the head of the Supreme Court, a move seen as a bid to bolster the independence of the judiciary which was politicised under the previous regime.

Judge Kanagasabapathy Sripavan, who is also the first member of the minority Tamil group to take on the top legal job in decades, was sworn in on Friday, the government said.

President Maithripala Sirisena came to power on Jan. 9, ending a decade of rule by his former ally Mahinda Rajapaksa, a period that critics said was marred by nepotism and corruption.

The new leader, from the majority Sinhalese group, has promised to seek reconciliation with the Tamils after a separatist war that ended in 2009 and to restore confidence in the legal system.

Rajapaksa had appointed his ally Mohan Peiris, a former attorney general from outside the Supreme Court, to lead the court in 2013, in the face of protests by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka.

Peiris replaced Shirani Bandaranayake, the first woman in the job who was impeached by Rajapaksa.

Sirisena had reinstated Bandaranayake on Wednesday, but she resigned a day later, without giving an explanation.

$1 = 132.1500 Sri Lankan rupees Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez

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