CJ’s Saga – A Woman’s Perspective
Posted on December 31st, 2012

Janaki Chandraratna, –  Perth,  Australia.

 One of the reasons given by the Chief Justice (CJ) for the walk out from the Impeachment Panel enquiry was the alleged use of “ƒ”¹…”inappropriate’ language. There is some scope for the CJ to receive a touch of empathy for this claim, in particular, by women working in executive positions.

 As we know, girls and boys are generally conditioned to fit into the respective socially and culturally appropriate roles from the time of birth. Girls are generally “ƒ”¹…”wrapped in cotton wool’, preferably pink and encouraged to play with dolls and tea sets. They are moulded to grow into caring and nurturing women, have families, be submissive and bring up children to perpetuate the socially acceptable role. Boys generally are exposed to tough surrounds with the expectation of being assertive; task oriented and groomed to be future bread winners.

 In this scenario language is a powerful tool to differentiate behaviour. Girls are expected to be soft spoken, graceful, enduring and tolerant. Generally, if a woman raises her voice, there are the husbands, colleagues and associates both male and female who are quick to quieten her down reminding her that she is a woman behaving inappropriately. On the other hand a bit of aggression from the boys is considered assertive, manly and even attractive. Although the feminist movement has brought some changes to even out the differences, such as women’s suffrage, equal pay, right to abortion and other women’s rights the norms and expectations of the sexes still continue in differing degree depending on the cultural traits of the respective societies. In the scale of acceptance of women in workplaces, the western world ranks high as most accommodating because of the large number of women in the workforce both at the lower and higher levels. Sri Lanka is in the middle range as women are exposed to education, employment opportunities and feel much safer than the current Indian surrounds. After all, we had the World’s first Prime Minister!  There are however, several countries and cultures in the world that still consider women as servants to serve the male masters and not allowed to participate in the outside world leave alone workplaces.

 Despite the above, women in rare occasions have broken through the proverbial “ƒ”¹…”glass ceiling’, to executive roles in both public and private sectors. In fact generally, women are suited to perform exceptionally well in high positions because of their innate attributes such as perseverance, intuition, ability to see and work through situations. Needless to say that on many occasions’ women in these positions need to brazen themselves to face the challenges, particularly confrontations, which sometimes can be difficult with the conditioned up bringing.

 Generally, opportunities to break through the “ƒ”¹…”glass ceiling’, are created in circumstance when women are either highly skilled, have linkage to seats of power and authority or there is no one willing or available to take up the role. CJ is one of those fortunate women who have broken the “ƒ”¹…”glass ceiling’, through whatever attributes/recognition she has, to be the Head of the Sri Lankan legal system. In such circumstances she needs to perform to the expectations of the position regardless of her upbringing. Her withdrawal in part due to alleged foul language appears to be a lame excuse generally provided by women to get out of tough situations. Such an action does not augur well with the expectations of the position and no man would have such a privilege. It is also an insult and disgrace to capable women who have out smarted men in the corporate world, on many instances. Her supporters including the opposition parliamentarians in the impeachment panel walking out from the enquiry, in part due to alleged inappropriate behaviour of panellists is also a ploy to confirm the notion of incompetence/inability of CJ by being a woman and for that matter all women to handle pressures in high offices.

 The second claim the CJ has made was that she did not have confidence in the panel to deliver an impartial outcome. This again is a lame and immature excuse which can be unfortunately classed as a sissy (womanly) response. How many of us are able to not front up to a court of law just because we do not have confidence in the presiding judge or the jury. It is unfortunate that the CJ opted to follow such a strategy and thereby undermine the ability of women in general.

 The CJ as a public servant regardless of gender excuses has the duty and obligation to uphold the ethics of the Public Service. Ethical principles generally include Integrity and Impartiality; Promoting of Public Good; Commitment to system of Government Accountability and Transparency. I am pleased to note there is a Code of Ethics for public servants in Sri Lanka and the CJ is duty bound to preserve the sanctity of the high office by adherence to the said code of ethics. If she was astute enough to be compliant with the rules of conduct which include the primary precept of “conflicts of interest”, she would not have the need to adopt the “ƒ”¹…”cut and run’ strategy with lame excuses or allow her to be embroiled in the current political mayhem. It appears that she had provided an opportunity to shrewd politicians and hangers on to transform a simple disciplinary enquiry into a baseless constitutional crisis disguised as the “Independence of the Judiciary”.

The fact is either the CJ is guilty or not guilty of the alleged allegations. Unfortunately, the strategy she has followed has denied her of the opportunity of exonerating herself from the alleged allegations.

4 Responses to “CJ’s Saga – A Woman’s Perspective”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Why can’t the govt. FINISH this QUICKLY?

    Another PSC hearing on 11 January. Looks like it will not be over even by Thaipongal.

    Just sack Shi(t)rani.

    Justify it later.

    When SF was arrested, some clowns shouted. But the govt. persisted Then the clowns shut-up. The more we delay it, the more trouble it brings.

  2. dhane Says:

    There are Black Coat and NGO clowns to shout. But at the end she will be sacked for sure. Then all clowns goes down & shut-up. Creating a record of been first female CJ & impeached CJ in Sri Lanka.
    With grace she would have resigned as her husband got involved with corruption charges. Now both husband & wife got exposed to public.

  3. Kamal Says:

    We can see where the criticism comes from, Perth Australia, where SB’s sister lives, for whom she bought the property with incentives and perverted justice.
    Please read the following excerpts from Mr Mahindapala.
    “Fact 2: Before he retired Chief Justice Sarath N. Silva gave a ruling to the effect that the Senior Judge Shiranee Thilakawardena, who had sat with him and followed the lengthy trial of Lalith Kotelawela Golden Key trial, should handle the case. What does Chief Justice Dr. Bandaranayake do? She walks in and takes over the case with two other judges on a single petition sent to the courts. Worst is, she excludes Justice Thilakawardena? Why? Why should a senior judge who had sat through the case be excluded from the Golden Key Trial and only two new judges hand-picked by the Chief Justice be included?
    Fact 3: Justice Thilakawardena had reported the Chairman of Trillium Residences, Janaka Ratnayake, to the CID to investigate the discount of Rs. 1.6 million given to Chief Justice Bandaranayake, when she purchased a residence at Trillium Residences belonging to the Golden Key enterprises owned by Kotelawela. Ratnayake later admitted that it was a bribe. After she took over the case from Justice Thilakawardena the Chief Justice had made no further inquiries into the bribery charge. So was the removal of Justice Thilakawardena from the case because there was no room on the bench or because she knew too much of the case?
    Fact 4: Dr. Bandaranayake’s moves are quite clear : a) she discards the ruling of the former Chief Justice that Justice Thilakwardena should hear the case and (b) stops inquiring into the bribery charges investigated by the CID. These two facts are co-related. It is obvious that (b) had to follow (a) — and both point a finger at the Chief Justice. Besides, Justice Thilakawardena had reported to the CID to investigate the Rs. 1.6 million given by Chairman of “Trillium Residences” to the Chief Justice. So the exclusion of Justice Thilakawardena from the case is self-explanatory.”

  4. lingamAndy Says:

    over even by Thaipongal ! – on 14/01/2013 Thaipongal chinaththu vedi ( Chinese fire work) will start by Ellalan Paddai !!!

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