Colombo: Amid protests by the legal fraternity over the alleged high-handedness of a minister, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said his government would not interfere with the independence of the judiciary.
"The independence of the judiciary is very important, governments can`t function without an independent judicial system", Rajapaksa said addressing a gathering on Sunday at Gannoruwa in the central district of Kandy.
Rajapaksa`s comments came as the judges and lawyers stayed away from courts on Friday in protest against the commerce and industries minister Rishat Bathiyutheen`s alleged telephone threat to the magistrate in the northeastern town of Mannar.
Bathiyutheen`s supporters stoned the court premises causing damage to the building.
The Sri Lankan president who ordered a probe on the incident said that facts need to be ascertained.
The minister had told him that the judge was not threatened by him as alleged.
Rajapaksa said as a lawyer himself his government would do everything possible to protect the judicial system without political interference.
The lawyers` body, Bar Association of Sri Lanka has vowed to institute contempt of court proceedings against the minister concerned.