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JP Appointees Suspended

Aug 19, 2010 2:50:05 AM - thesundayleader.lk
Approximately 20 mediators who were to be appointed as JP’s were suspended under allegations of corruption, the Ministry of Justice said.

JP’s are somewhat notorious for charging fees to carry out services that they are supposed to do for free. ‘These people are appointed without proper screening and are mostly political appointees’ said Mr. Suhada Gamlath, speaking to the Sunday Leader.

‘They exploit people by taking money. Poor people, especially, fall prey to their machinations. They even charge for pasting a rubber stamp. And all this for a job that must be done in voluntary capacity.’

‘We are trying to introduce screening measures like asking for A/Ls and police reports etc.’

Mr Gamlath went on to add that stricter measures must be adopted to addressing the issue. Serious reforms are needed in the manner JPs are recruited, monitored and how they carry their services out. ‘We are trying to introduce screening measures like asking for A/Ls and police reports etc.’

There are several weaknesses in the current system and it badly needs to be overhauled. ‘The position of JP used to command some respect in the past. They were almost on par with magistrates’ he said.

Currently, the ministry only takes action against those JPs whom people have complained against ‘We cannot do anything unless we receive complaints from people and we have received petition after petition regarding the misdemeanors conducted by the suspended mediators’  he said, adding that measures will be taken to make a good example of these individuals in order to send a strong message out.

The mediators in question hail from areas like Badulla and even Hulftzdorp itself. Immigration offices are notorious for the presence of corrupt JPs, Mr. Gamlath added.