The de facto Chief Justice Mohan Peiris was absent from the ceremony and Attorney General Palitha Fernando who was present left before the convocation began.
Former President of the BASL, Wijeydasa Rajapakshe handed over the traditional mantle to newly elected President Upul Jayasuriya.
Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike, opposition Parliamentarians Karu Jayasuriya and Lakshman Kiriella, together with Ven. Maduluwawe Sobihta Thero, and Ven. Dambara Amila Thero were also present.
The guest speaker Justice Wigneswaran, retired Judge of the Supreme Court, addressed the the audience with the message that the independence of judiciary cannot be protected without strong judges and the Bar. He said that the judges of the higher courts must express their fearlessness and give leadership. He further said that they cannot take a u-turn in their stand, disappointing the legal profession and the minor judiciary.
President of the BASL Upul Jayasuriya said that Hulftsdorp connotes the symbol of freedom.
“The court premises in Hultfsdorp are the symbols of the people’s freedom. The executive must not be allowed to extend its armed fist and tread there with police boots,” he said while reiterating that he will stand for the independence of the Judiciary.
He further said that the overwhelming mandate he received was due to the recent developments that symbolised the collective stance against such interferences, and vowed to fight for justice, “with deep conviction, independence and impartiality with no compromise