Posted on December 5th, 2012

Editorial- The Daily News 06/12/2012

The bane of Sri Lankan government service seems to be that everybody wants to be a politician. First it was an army commander. Now is it a Chief Justice?

The apparent politicization of the impeachment issue has left a bad taste in the mouth of the ringside citizenry who have been privy to connected events, and perhaps those very far from the action as well. But, the entire political and media feeding-frenzy that is surrounding the impeachment, is in the first instance, causing the devaluation of what is after all the most sacrosanct public institution in the country — the Judiciary.

Well, at least it used to be. But it has come to such a pass, that the people seem to be losing respect for the Judicial institutions of this country by the minute, and this is why there should be a serious reconsideration on the part of the Chief Justice and her backers about the way they are setting about the entire impeachment contretemps.

The summoning of the District Judges and the Magistrates by the Chief Justice, was the apogee of the politicization of this crisis. If anybody thinks it wasn’t they should look at the photograph published a few days back in a daily newspaper, which was a clear depiction of a lady judge covering her face with a saree pota in the manner of a convict, when she was leaving the Supreme Court premises after attending the judges’ meeting.

The judge concerned may have got her inspiration for this singularly astounding act of concealment, from the remand prisoners she convicts every now and then. A lot of them are regularly seen covering their mugs on the way to the Black Maria.

But a judge covering her face after meeting the Chief Justice of the country in a closed doors meeting that is supposed to be of some professional nature? Never heard of!

This is the extent to which the needless heedless politicization of the impeachment issue has affected the judiciary, plunging it into a tumultuous pass from which it might never recover with its respect intact.

All this needless politicization seems to be with the Chief Justice’s active concurrence, if not entirely on her own initiative. Her backers have decided to make some sort of political capital out of a necessary investigation of professional conduct. However, she is the first woman Chief Justice of the country and not the first woman Prime Minister of the world – – her name is Shirani Bandaranayake, not Sirimavo Bandaranaike.

That being the case, why is she acting as if she is Sirimavo Bandaranaike, hands clasped, and more or less in campaign mode outside of the precincts of Hulftsdorp and Parliament? Her backers may take up the position that she has a certain coterie of supporters, and that perhaps she finds it hard to ignore them – but this is neither true nor tenable because she is actively feeding into this entire circus and media feeding frenzy that surrounds the impeachment. When she organizes judges meetings that are tantamount to a political campaign against her impeachment — she is doing nothing less than politicizing the issue, and when she lends herself to various mini-dramas in the Supreme Court premises or close to the Parliament, she is playing a role that is emphatically political as opposed to being independent or neutral, as judges are expected to be — no matter how dire their personal or professional circumstances.

Overtly political individuals backing her for their own narrow partisan ends is to be expected, but her lending herself to such shenanigans and advancing a thinly veiled political agenda herself by politicizing the impeachment issue is certainly backfiring as a strategy, and already the effect of the boomerang can be felt in the shape of the public reaction when she last appeared before the PSC.

Today, the Buddhist clergy and sections of the Bar have come out strongly against what they feel is a delegitimizing of the judiciary due to the highly visible politicized approach she had taken towards the impeachment. They have asked her to resign. This is what happens when a high ranking judicial officer who is supposed to be neutral, starts playing an incongruous and absurd political role.


  1. callistus Says:

    Anti SL forces pushed SF to contest for presidency. Is it happening here as well?. It will be naive of her if she sees this as an opportunity to challenge the president. She has already exposed her true knowledge and nature. Shameful act.

  2. Naram Says:

    This woman has left her fingerprint everywhere, from banking the profits from many kappams, the dealings manipulated with her husband, propertty purchases, taking over hearings on folks who sold her cut price price deals. What a world – now she wants to contest thr hearing under a ‘white’ flag like the former commander.

    Not bad for a former law lecturer without bar experience plucked to the post by the former President to prove her credentials for loyalty to gender.

    She should study the famous speech by another CJ ina Commonwealth country, Francis Bacon to frame her statement.

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