People’s power is supreme
Posted on December 9th, 2012

Editorial The Sunday Observer -Courtesy The Sunday Observer

The ongoing hearing of the impeachment motion against Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake is a matter for the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) appointed by Parliament for the purpose. Now that the PSC has presented its Report to Parliament and the Chief Justice has been found guilty of three charges, she will have to face the consequences.

The media has no right whatsoever to report on the PSC proceedings or comment on the outcome of the PSC probe though it could express the people’s views. Nevertheless, it has the right to expose those elements that resort to unconstitutional means to realise their selfish ends.

These undesirable elements, both local and international, who daydream of a regime change in Sri Lanka, are trying to put their agendas in motion under the guise of the independence of the judiciary. They are making a desperate attempt to project a gloomy picture by alleging that the independence of the country’s judiciary is at stake.

The impeachment motion against Dr. Mrs. Bandaranayake is a constitutional right of the Members of Parliament and the current process revolves round just one person – the Chief Justice in this particular instance. It is not against the judiciary and does not in any way challenge or disrespect other judges.

When a judge of the Supreme Court or Court of Appeal acts in a manner which is unbecoming of the highly respected judiciary, bringing in an impeachment motion is the only constitutional way to deal with such a person. Hence, there is no doubt whatsoever that the PSC, which probed the charges against Dr. Mrs. Bandaranayake, is well within the constitutional right of the legislature.

There have been several serious allegations against Dr. Mrs. Bandaranayake and she initially followed the right course of action by facing the PSC hearing. But her subsequent withdrawal on Thursday after failing to defend herself set a bad precedent. Her failure to defend herself and prove her innocence could cast a black mark on the judiciary.

At the same time, one cannot condone the action of the INGO mafia, which is doing its damnedest at Hulftsdorp. There were several notorious faces amongst the protesters who gathered at the Supreme Court Complex premises in support of Dr. Mrs. Bandaranayake on Tuesday. Perhaps, even the Chief Justice herself may be unaware of these sinister elements who are now trying to gain undue advantage of the situation.

Certain bankrupt Opposition politicians and INGO goons who are funding them are working round the clock to exploit the situation and project a dismal picture before the international community. Political Lilliputians such as Sarath Fonseka, who is incapable of even retaining his party seniors and rejected by the masses in toto, have nothing else but to use these protest campaigns to steal the limelight.

In contrast, the Leader of the Opposition, Ranil Wickremesinghe has set an example by declaring that the impeachment motion hearing should be confined to Parliament. Organising protest campaigns against the impeachment motion in and around the Supreme Court Complex sets a bad precedent.

Several lawyers were seen openly threatening policemen on duty at the entrance of the Supreme Court Complex on Tuesday morning. They virtually took the law into their hands and overruled the police decision by opening the gates to their goons. This was to facilitate full media coverage of the ‘departure ceremonies’ of Dr. Mrs. Bandaranayake. Thus, some lawyers with INGO links perhaps got their goons to hold protests against the impeachment motion.

It is needless to state that an impeachment motion against a chief justice is a constitutional right of the members in the legislature who are elected by the masses as their representatives. Hence, do lawyers have the right to protest against any move within the constitutional rights of the legislature which is superior to the judiciary?

Be it lawyers or anybody else for that matter, nobody should be permitted to undermine the supreme right of the country’s legislature. The aspirations of the masses are reflected through their elected representatives of Parliament who are accountable to the people who voted for them.

The charges levelled against Chief Justice Bandaranayake include over 20 undeclared bank accounts in the assets and liabilities, taking over the Ceylinco case heard by another Bench, buying an apartment from the company on Ceylinco Attorney papers, undeclared foreign currency deposits to the tune of Rs. 34 million and Rs 19,362,500 in undisclosed funds, which is unbecoming of a Chief Justice.

Do the lawyers who shouted themselves hoarse at the Supreme Court premises on Tuesday against the impeachment motion for a moment think that Dr. Mrs. Bandaranayake has immunity against these allegations which are of a serious nature? Do they expect her to be absolved of these charges?

Even the handful of people who air tainted views against the impeachment motion are doing so on sympathetic grounds. But they little realise that the INGO agents and elements which resort to undemocratic means to capitalise on this situation to achieve their petty goals.

It is an open secret that the impeachment motion and the PSC proceedings are being used by INGO goons and those with vested interests to sling mud at a people-friendly Government which has won fresh mandates from the masses consecutively. They are acutely aware that such a strong Government could not be thrown out by democratic means. Hence, they resort to other options to gain power at any cost.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s political sagacity and his fearless stance in the battle against terrorism would have perturbed certain leaders in the West. When a leader from this part of the world is not prepared to dance to the tune of the West, they insidiously attempt to groom a puppet leader who would be loyal to them. Understandably, the ongoing impeachment hearing is an ideal opportunity for them to project a dismal picture and mislead the international community.

All loyal and patriotic citizens should understand this grave threat and looming danger. The possibility of the LTTE rump funding such campaigns, to coincide with the impeachment motion, too cannot be ruled out. These anti-Sri Lanka forces, a well-knit network, is exploring every possibility for a regime change and install in office a leader who would dance the fandango round them.

This is certainly not the time to put one’s political agendas in motion. We should not leave any room for shady characters in the West and the LTTE rump to exploit the impeachment motion and project a negative picture.

Since Dr. Mrs. Bandaranayake had conducted herself in a manner which is not in keeping with the most respected position in the judiciary, she should at least now step down before being impeached. Since the PSC has found her guilty, she could now be impeached with a simple majority in Parliament.

People should desist from expressing their private view in this matter as the PSC, led by Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, has made its findings. The charges levelled against Dr. Mrs. Bandaranayake are of an extremely serious nature. She may naturally have her own side of the story in defence. Her fate, however, depends on the PSC’s verdict.

There is no point in challenging a constitutional process such as an impeachment motion against the Chief Justice, or even against the Executive for that matter. If the Executive President, who is directly elected by the people, too could be impeached by a motion in Parliament, we fail to see the logic as to why a few hundred lawyers and their goons should make such a big hue and cry over an impeachment motion against a Chief Justice facing serious allegations.

The Judiciary is supreme when it comes to judgments within its legal framework. But in this instance, Parliament is supreme as the members of the Legislature have every constitutional right to impeach the Executive President or the Chief Justice if there are charges against them. The people’s power should be supreme at all times.

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