University academics tell public : Assess the impeachment critically
Posted on January 3rd, 2013

Disna Mudalige – Courtesy The Daily News 

Sri Lanka Open University Senior Lecturer and Lawyer Raja Gunaratne requested the people to view the impeachment motion brought against Chief Justice Dr Shirani Bandaranayake more critically and intelligently, taking into account that it was entirely a Constitutional procedure. Addressing a press conference organized by the People’s Movement for Justice at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute yesterday, he said this procedure to remove judges in superior courts is similar to others anywhere in the world.

Citing an example from the US Judiciary, he said according to the stand taken by the US judiciary, the decision to impeach cannot be re-examined by the court,since it would lead to instability while adversely affecting the balance of the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary. He also said impeachment motions had been brought against 61 judges at Federal and lower levels in the US as at 2009.

He further stated if amendments to the Standing Orders which apply during an impeachment motion are needed, those could only be made after the conclusion of the ongoing process. He said therefore such claims could not be considered sensible at this stage since two judges of Superior Courts had been removed in Sri Lankan history using the existing Standing Orders.

Sri Jayewardenapura University Senior Lecturer Prof Sampath Amaratunga observed if the Chief Justice is not guilty of financial impropriety charges made against her, she could have easily proven her innocence with correct data and accounts without walking out of the due procedure. He observed the facts and figures relevant to financial deals could have been presented instantly by the CJ if she had not been guilty of them. He noted the persons who are holding the highest ranks of public service must act honestly and fairly and be an example to other public servants.

Sri Lanka Open University Senior Lecturer Hemasiri Jayathilake questioned how the Supreme Court being in the highest position in the judiciary direct matters against the impeachment to the Appeal Court violating the usual tradition. He also observed the Parliament judgment on the impeachment is still pending and therefore it is wrong to go before the court in this regard at this moment. He noted the legal fraternity who are opposing the impeachment are aware of the contradictions of their own moves, but deliberately doing so to cater to the vicious plans of the Western elements who are against the country. He said certain NGOs are also behind this conspiracy. He said certain groups are ready to betray the country for personal gains and agendas. He also said the CJ had been directly responsible for the injustice caused to over 9000 families due to Gloden Key issue.

Colombo University Senior Lecturer Prof Premakumara de Silva said the country should not be made unstable by giving way to conspiracies of the Western powers who want to set up puppet regimes in Third World developing countries. He said it was unfortunate to see that even the persons in higher ranks have fallen prey to these conspiracies.

Kelaniya University Economics Department Head Dr Ajith Dissanayake said it was pathetic to see how the persons who are holding higher ranks in the judiciary mingle often with complainants and respondents. He said it was a humiliation of the judiciary. He also observed it was a good to see the government and the main opposition party, the UNP, stand together with regard to certain matters pertaining to the judiciary. He observed these two parties collectively account for 90 percent of the voting base.

Colombo University Senior Lecturers Nihal Hewage and Rohan Perera were also present.

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