Sarath Fonseka’s invitation to Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake
Posted on December 21st, 2012

Editorial- The Island

The process of impeaching Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake has taken a dramatic turn with attempts being made in some quarters to intimidate lawyers supportive of her and the Golden Key depositors stepping up their protests against an alleged move to pervert the course of justice in favour of the crooks who cheated them out of billions of rupees. The CJ, too, has sought legal remedies and her supporters have adopted extra-parliamentary methods in a bid to scuttle the impeachment move. The government says it will oust her, come hell or high water! The hallowed precincts of the Superior Court Complex have become a venue for anti-government protests.

While the impeachment drama is unfolding like a Shakespearean tragedy (or tragicomedy?), former Army Commander Gen. Sarath Fonseka has invited the beleaguered CJ to enter politics to bring about good governance. One is intrigued. The CJ is young enough to hold that high post for a few more years. If she is to take to active politics, she will have to resign the way Gen. Fonseka did prior to entering the presidential fray in 2009. Does he want her to throw in the towel and enter politics? Or, is it that he expects her to do so after retirement or possible impeachment?

The CJ’s response to SF’s invitation is not known. She may remain noncommittal as she has already been accused by no less a person than President Mahinda Rajapaksa himself of behaving like a politician. Anything she says will be used against her. However, there have been precedents of judges taking to politics. Former Chief Justice Sarath N Silva has become a politician in all but name and former High Court Judge W. T. M. P. B. Warawewa joined the UNP immediately after his retirement a few moons ago. Politics has become the last resort of many a professional.

Gen. Fonseka’s invitation to the CJ reminds us of his entry into politics with the help of a rudderless Opposition. Unable to challenge President Rajapaksa at the zenith of his popularity following the war victory, the UNP, the JVP etc turned to the war winning army commander. JVP leaders wanted to take revenge from President Rajapaksa for causing a debilitating rift in their party and engineering crossover and the UNP wanted someone to lose, not win, the presidential contest on its behalf. The rest is history.

Today, all those who rallied round SF in a bid to bring down the Rajapaksa government have thrown in their lot with the CJ to achieve the same goal and, in the process, left SF in the lurch. If they fail in their endeavour again, they will look for another hero or heroine. Their interests take precedence over their allegiance to personalities. They are notorious for their karapincha (curry leaves) method; they use and discard anyone to further their interests.

On Thursday, while extending the aforesaid invitation to the CJ, Gen. Fonseka reiterated that he had won the last presidential election but been deprived of his right to lead the country. In other words, he said justice had been denied to him. Interestingly, the Supreme Court currently headed by Dr. Bandaranayake rejected his election petition where he claimed that by reason of separate and cumulative effect, the re-election of incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa was void and that he (Fonseka) should have been declared the elected President. The five-judge Bench which dismissed the petition without costs included Dr. Bandaranayake, others being Chief Justice Asoka de Silva, Justice K. Sripavan, Justice P. A. Ratnayake and Justice S. I. Imam. So, how could Gen. Fonseka reconcile his claim that he won the presidency in 2010, which was rejected by the present CJ et al with his invitation to her to join his campaign to cleanse politics, restore the rule of law and ensure justice and fair play?

The Opposition bigwigs who rejected the outcome of the last presidential polls, insisting that President Rajapaksa had secured a second term by means of a computer jilmaat or fraud and took Gen. Fonseka around the country claiming that he was the People’s President have ditched him. He is not invited to joint-Opposition events where even former presidential candidates who could not poll more than a few hundred votes each are present. It will be interesting to know what JVP Leader Somawansa Amerasinghe and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe have got to say to Gen. Fonseka’s claim that he won the presidency.

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