Suicidal politics of Hulftsdorp
Posted on January 10th, 2013

H. L. D. Mahindapala

When a senior judge of a superior court puts words into the mouth of an innocent man and sentences him to  a maximum period with the entire legal system looking the other way without raising a finger to save the innocent man, then it is time to ask whether the sovereign people can expect justice from the “Temple of Justice” (CJ Shirani Bandaranayake)?  When at the annual general meeting of magistrates and judges evidence is produced by fellow-judges that the judiciary is riddled with issues of integrity and corruption, with the Bar Association and the big-wigs of the judiciary, including the Chief Justice, doing nothing about it, it is time ask what chances are there for the sovereign people to expect justice from the high priests of law presiding over “the Temple of Justice”?  

When two judges of the supreme court refuses to sit with another senior lady judge of the same court for giving evidence before a legally constituted investigation, doing her duty, it is time to ask whether the boycotting judges were upholding the law, which they are sworn to do, or playing politics with the judiciary, undermining the basic principles of delivering justice to the sovereign people? When the Chief Justice standing at the entrance of the highest courts in Hulftsdorp accepts with a smug smile of a Cheshire cat, like Alice in Wonderland, her black-coated coconut-dashers declaring their political support for her at the Parliamentary Select Committee it is time to ask whether she was depending on the legal process or street politics to meet the charges facing her? When the Chief Justice and her legal team decided to cut and run instead of facing the charges at the PSC — mark you, just at the time the evidence required by the legal team was handed to her — it is time to ask whether she and her team ran away because they knew that they had either lost their case, or lost their mind, or both? When three judges sit in judgment over a Constitutional issue and read, with three pairs of eyes, ONLY one part of one sentence in one para, written on one page of the Constitution, ignoring the other critical part of the same sentence that does not fit into their legal agenda, it is time to ask whether it is the fault of the ophthalmologists who prescribed their spectacles or whether the Constitution was read with the spectacles sitting on their foreheads?

These — and more — are not peccadilloes of irresponsible louts who are ignorant of the law. These are acts of learned judges and lawyers who are wont to quote the highest ideals in legal and political theories. There are equally glorified political pundits with, of course, Ph.Ds attached to the tail of their names, mouthing only the first part of morality that suits them and conveniently ignoring the second part that is critical for balancing their argument. Of course, it is quite expedient — and even fashionable — to indulge in this game of moral hypocrisy of picking only the bit that suits their political agenda and omitting the inconvenient truths. Their favourite industry is to float in abstract theories without relating them to the ground realities. It makes them feel holy and superior even though their feet are stuck in the stuff that normally hits the fan.

Take the case of the black-coats and other pundits who are backing the Chief Justice –they have a right to do so — with selected quotes from everything within the range of their sight and memory. That’s fine. But how many of them have related their principles to the basic charges confronting the Chief Justice. For instance, she has deliberately chosen to go against the three fellow-judges  provoking serious suspicions about her motives and conduct: 1. Despite Justice Mark Fernando warning her to keep away from cases involved in devolution because the first case against her expressed fears of  her siding with devolutionists, the Chief Justice decides to sit on the Divi Neguma Bill  and predictably declares it unconstitutional  ; 2. despite Chief Justice Sarath N Silva who made a note instructing that Justice Shirani Thilakawardena — she had sat with him in Golden Key case from the beginning — should continue to hear the case, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake walks in with two new judges and takes over, removing Justice Thilakawardena from the case; 3. despite Justice Thilakawardena ordering an investigation into the bribery charges levelled against CJ’s husband  it was brought  to a complete full stop without any explanation b y the Chief Justice. Why has the Chief Justice made it a habit to disregard her own principle enunciated at the Annual General Meeting of the Magistrates and Judges where she said: “Justice must not only be done but seen to be done”? Can the high priests of law, political theorists (with Ph.Ds)  and Friday Forum Freaks inform the sovereign people whether the Chief Justice  has special powers to  be above the rest and violate her own principles?

From the word go the Chief Justice Bandaranayake has proved to be a fiery political animal . Each calculated move she made clearly pointed  to the fact that she has decided to fight her case in the political arena  than in the competent legal courts. Every action of hers was designed to mobilize the cadres in Bar Association or in the Buddhist temples dragging the monks to pull her chestnuts out of the fire. Her decision to cut and run from the hearing at the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) was to create a political drama, not a legal defence of her position. At no time has she — or her legal team — countered the allegations against her by dealing with each one of them with a substantial defence. The superficial statements made earlier have been countered/negated by the evidence presented to her and by the witnesses (including a senior Judge of the Supreme Court) that appeared before the PSC. She was seen more politicking and praying (sign of guilt?) rather than defending.

Politicizing her case has pushed her into a corner from which she cannot escape now. She and her team blundered all the way. Both were depending on procedural and legal technicalities to defend them and not confronting the serious allegations threatening the image and the job of the Chief Justice. Avoiding the allegations and relying on technicalities can only go thus far and no further. Ultimately, Parliament like all legislatures (examples: US or UK)  can impeach judges on two simple issues: 1. misbehaviour and/or 2. incapacity. Legislatures are not bodies with powers to put judges on trial for any crimes committed by them. That is left to courts. Parliamentary investigations (not trials) are merely to determine whether the judges had misbehaved and report it to the Speaker. The fact that the PSC is a body set up to only to investigate is proven by the lack of powers  to pass sentence on judges, if found guilty like the courts. Parliament is tasked to decide only whether the judges have misbehaved or not which is less of a complicated process  than in a trial in courts.

For instance, if Parliament decides that Justice Bandaranayake had misbehaved in removing Justice Thilakawardena from hearing the case and suppressed the investigation ordered by the latter into the charges of bribery PSC can come to the conclusion that the Chief Justice has misbehaved. If Parliament accepts this report of the PSC and the Speaker sends it to the President the decision to pass sentence is left with the President alone.

Even her political allies are caught in a bind. The first to make accusations against her was the UNP when her husband was appointed as Chairman of National Development Bank. Quite rightly, the UNP and the media, by and large, were baying at the time demanding her resignation as there was an apparent conflict of interest. To quote the Chief Justice: “Justice must not only be done but seen to be done.” It is also reported that Lakshman Kiriella, trying to recover from his kata kadiccha idiocy in which he declared that any cow can wage wars and challenged the Security Forces to go to Killinochchi, had admitted, after seeing the documents, that the CJ is guilty. But he pontificates as if he is the guardian all moral principles known to man, woman and hermaphrodites. (No offence to hermaphrodites in the UNP).

But CJ decided to ride it over. By then she had caught the common disease that deadens the moral sensitivities of the black-coats of Hulftsdorp in general: developing a coconut head with a thick skull which covers the moral vacuum inside. Her career was mired in politics from the time she was catapulted from the Law Faculty at Colombo University and flew over the heads of other senior judges and landed on a bench in the  Supreme Court. Besides, her political allies do not add much credit to her image or cause either. The other day Vijitha Herath was posing in front of cameras, like an over-stuffed sausage waddling across the Supreme Court premises, as if he is the hero who brought the victory to his heroine, Dr. Bandaranayke. In this act he looked exactly like the JVP — Jilmart Vihulu-kara Parripu-vaas. These JVPers are now desperately hanging on to the sari-pota of the Chief Justice to win back the voters they have lost right round the country. Their aim is to save themselves by making use of the Chief Justice and then drop her like the way they misled and dropped Gen. Sarath Fonseka.

By now she should realise that when you lie down with dogs you get up with fleas. She has lost her credibility by giving a nudge-and-a-wink to these Jilmart Vihulu-kara Parripu-vaas. Neither the Babu English of her lawyer, K. Kanag-easvaran, coloured with barbaric clichƒÆ’†’©s borrowed from Prabhakaran’s Law College, nor the Jilmart Vihulu-kara Parippu-vaas can save her from the kind of politics into which she has fallen. She has dragged herself to a position where she is unable to go back to her seat in the judiciary, if she has any sense of dignity at all. She has been exposed in the public eye as a political prawn carrying all the muck on her head and yet crying: “I am clean”. (A Sinhalese idiom). Her camp-followers in the judiciary too have shown their political hand by boycotting a fellow-judge who had offended them by not toeing their line of going all out to support the Chief Justice. In short, she had not only politicized the judiciary as never before and divided it into two camps.

Can a judiciary divided into camps function as a credible institution delivering justice to the people? How clean, principled and just will the judiciary be if the President lets her get way with her politics?

A provisional judgment of a partisan judiciary, batting for their side without any compunction, and declaring not out when the video replay announces that she is OUT, need not prevent the Umpire from ordering her out. Either she must go back to the pavilion, or retire hurt. If not she must await what is coming for her from the Umpire.

17 Responses to “Suicidal politics of Hulftsdorp”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Justice Sri Skandaraja who made the stupid judgement is a big time crook associate. His close relatives hold almost all agency rights of hardware in Jaffna stores. They also lend money at high interest rates, use thuggery to collect it, evade tax in very large scale and buy properties out of illegal money. They are the biggest donors to TNA Colombo office.

    These are well known to the Jaffna Tamil community.

    Without legal support, these crooks would not have survived for so long. Investigate him and his close relatives for fraud.

  2. dhane Says:

    To avoid all unpleasant legal & political battle regarding impeachment of CJ Shirani Bandaranayake I believe Minister of Justice would have call her to his office.
    Explained her husband’s case, Golden Key case, 20 Bank Accounts and few other important charges. Then tell her the Government is keeping eye on her. Therefore to consider by herself the gravity if an impeachment brings into the Parliament and consequences thereafter. Giving reasonable time to write her own resignation letter. If nothing comes from her side within the period of time given then taken the impeachment.
    The Government would have saved time, money, and lose of value productivity time in economy etc.

  3. Nanda Says:

    Justice Sri Skandaraja is a good associate of minister Douglas Devananda. Why didn’t DD influence him is also suspicious.

  4. Leela Says:

    ShiraniB is SF’s twin and a protege of CBK. So, she will not go back to the pavilion, or retire hurt. She’ll have to be fired and locked out of her chambers to see the end to this episode of the drama. But that won’t end the story for NGOs, separatists, WOGs and their backers hadn’t found an alternative so far. They’ll use her to continue their ‘spring’.
    Leela

  5. lingamAndy Says:

    Leela
    ShiraniB is SF’s twin and a protege of CBK- any one who opposit MR they should protege of CBK & NGO agent !!!
    Dayan should be next one !!!

    dhane
    just imagin if you want to become CJ of Sri Lanka wolud you do all these crime ! NO , CJ is previlage job not have any money value !!!
    so all these charges are fault even 5th grade student knows !!!
    walk up chinhala brother !

    Lorenzo
    Justice Sri Skandaraja- Thamil, he must be theive ?? no other way !!! Thamil are crooks no exception !!!

  6. Lorenzo Says:

    D.E.W. Gunasekara the pro-TE communist has said he will ABSTAIN from voting.

    Some others might follow him. SACK him after the impeachment dust settles.

    Bring the army, STF and paramilitary forces to Colombo IMMEDIATELY.

    Pro-Shitrani terrorists plan to riot after the parliamentary vote. NEUTRALISE THEM NOW!

  7. Lorenzo Says:

    Another traitor Chandrasiri Jagadira MAY abstain from voting.

    Unconfirmed reports say Hack-him and his SLMC will make demands for them to vote for the impeachment.

  8. lingamAndy Says:

    Hack-him and his SLMC will make demands for them to vote for the impeachment.- CM post , CM of EP will satisfy Hackim !!!

  9. Leela Says:

    Lorenzo, I do not think separatists and their backers dare try riots in Colombo. Although a lot of commentator in various web sites writing under Sinhala names madly argue Sri Lankans to start street riots, ordinary people are not interested. All those who like it, like NGO sharks, black coats and WOGs are cowards and schemers; they don’t like to get hurt.
    Leela

  10. Charles Says:

    The American Embassy deeply concerned, warns the government, “…The United States, along with our partners in the international community, continue to urge the Government of Sri Lanka to uphold the rule of law and respect the principles of democratic governance,”

  11. Marco Says:

    Not sure if any one saw on TV or heard (audio) the Parliamentary proceedings the past two days.
    There were two speeches made that will undoubtedly be recorded in history (Hansard) to be note worthy in years to come when we in our yesteryears to be brilliant and mind boggling relevant in trouble times ahead

  12. Lorenzo Says:

    JEYAWEWA!!

    We won. Traitors LOST AGAIN, AGAIN and AGAIN!

    After all the big talk by UNP and TNA only 49 losers voted against. Hoooooo!

    Mohan Peiris is a good CJ. Good decision. SACK that crook Sri Skandaraja too.

  13. Lorenzo Says:

    Leela,

    Yes, the LOSERS dispersed without incident. But a LARGE military presence including STF was brought to Colombo as a precautionary measure.

    They remember NANTHIKADAL very well!! So they dare not try it again.

    Anyway a very good outcome. Better than what I expected. 155 to 49. If it was a basketball match, such a score would lead to the losing team sacking the coach, the captain and the manager. But our opposition leaders stay for life!

  14. Marco Says:

    I often wonder if the Lankaweb moderator is in deep slumber?
    Moderator- You are correct- Mind you, due to time difference when you post your comments we will be in deep slumber.

  15. cassandra Says:

    HLDM,

    You state, at the start of your article, “When a senior judge of a superior court puts words into the mouth of an innocent man and sentences him to a maximum period with the entire legal system looking the other way without raising a finger to save the innocent man, then it is time to ask whether the sovereign people can expect justice from the “Temple of Justice”.

    I take it you were alluding here to an incident which you had referred to in your article of 28th December, (Judges expose systemic failure in corrupt judiciary) as having been recalled by Justice C. V. Wigneswaran. There was nothing in what you had written to show that the incident was widely known until Justice Wigneswaran sought to reveal it.

    It makes no sense, then, for you to talk about “the entire legal system looking the other way without raising a finger to save the innocent man.” How could the “entire legal system” respond to something it was unaware of? To suggest that it could have is patently absurd. Clearly, you need to think through what you write.

    You have noted in paragraph 5 of your article that the CJ “has decided to fight her case in the political arena than in the competent legal courts.” But she did seek redress in the courts, but when the Supreme Court gave its decisions you were not prepared to accept them. You have preferred instead to refer to the courts, as you do in your concluding paragraph, as a “partisan judiciary”. Surely, you cannot have it both ways.

    The purported cricketing analogy you provide is just as confusing. Merely stringing together a few cricketing phrases does not provide for a coherent example. And if you are to employ cricketing imagery it will do well for you to reflect that in cricket we rely for a definitive verdict on “neutral” umpires who are competent and trained in their tasks. You can hardly say the PSC that enquired into the allegations against the CJ was “neutral” or demonstrated outstanding competence.

    And just one question – “If you had been in the shoes of the CJ, would you, in all honesty and good conscience, be able to say that you were “tried” by a fair, neutral, independent – and dare I say it- competent group of persons?

  16. mjaya Says:

    The leeches knew that they had no hope. Thats why they said that they will not accept a new CJ.

    Now its time for Shirani to join Sarath Fonseka and form a new political party…….

    Party name the SLMTP – Sri Lanka Murunga Tree Party

    Party motto “For a quick rise and quicker fall”

  17. mjaya Says:

    Any other suggestions for the new Sarath-Shirani alliance are welcome (and encouraged)! :D

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