Sacking of Chief Justice and emergence of new consensus
Posted on January 15th, 2013

by Mario Perera, Kadawata

At the end of the war, the President on addressing parliament introduced a slogan which according to him should henceforth  govern the legal, social and moral conscience the nation. It was about the entire population being divided into two water tight segments; those who loved the country and those who did not. This declaration received continuous sanctity through its adoption by government high rankers, especially his brother the defence secretary.  Judged by any standards that attitude was a pompous one which lent itself to the interpretation: “ƒ”¹…”those who are not with me are against me’. What of liberty of thought and expression which endorses a wide spectrum of views and opinions between all extremes?

The statement itself reached out far beyond the war context and encompassed every national issue since then. Those who opposed Divi Neguma were labeled “ƒ”¹…”traitors’ by anther brother of the ruling family. The television broadcast before the nation and the world, thugs armed with wooden poles assaulting with impunity anti-impeachment demonstrators while armed police and security personnel looked on complacently making it clear where the orders came from. These are but random examples of immediate knowledge. The much decried colonial policy of “ƒ”¹…”divide and rule’ is mild when compared to the government policy of not only divide and rule but destroy those not toeing the line. In conformity with colonial measures, the security forces and thugs are always at hand to strike down anti-government demonstrations and to protect the pro-government ones. This situation of return to quasi-colonial style of governance escapes the notice of those government stooges who attack opponents as colonial agents and international conspirators.

No better example for all that than what is the talk of the day; the impeachment, verdict, sacking of the chief justice and the appointment of her replacement. All this was done in total disregard of the Supreme Court and Appeal Court decisions rendering the total procedure null and void “ƒ”¹…”ab initio’. Strange with the legislature and executive showing such contempt for the judiciary, the President should state before the BASL that demonstrations by lawyers in the Supreme Court complex went against the dignity of the judiciary. What respect for the dignity of the highest courts of the country could be expected from the citizens when their representatives, including the highest in the land spit on it?

The entire country waited anxiously to know the position the actual chief justice would take in the face of her illegal sacking, and the appointment of her replacement. She made it clear with the majestic utterance: I AM STILL THE CHIEF JUSTICE. She thereby held aloft the dignity of the court she represents as its head and its binding decisions. If she left her official residence it was to protect herself against the unleashing of governmental violence against her, a violence so current as to be a facet of normal life in Sri Lanka.

What can the people think of the attitude of the BASL? It was reported this morning that this entity was willing to work with the new chief justice! They have gone back on all their undertakings to safeguard their impeached chief justice. They were vociferous in denouncing her fake trial. They were totally supportive to the demand of fellow lawyers that no judge or lawyer should step into the breach and that no recognition should be granted to an eventual new nominee to the post. What they said and how they acted before the President stood out against their hypocrisy in black and white (I am referring to the black coats and ties and their white shirts!). What the television showed viewers were not lions of the bar but bleating sheep before the stick wielding shepherd. What we saw was puppy dogs, all smiles all assistive to the utterances of the boss, the dispenser of all graces and source of retribution. They even exculpated themselves and distanced themselves from “ƒ”¹…”others’ of their kind: no no, not us but they!! I was reminded of one batch of school boys defending itself against another before the principal for fear of a caning!

Quite rightly a venerable monk recently referred to the people of this country as a backboneless bunch, a country where lions become sheep and puppy dogs at the dawn of the moment of truth. Some other lawyer groups have publicly stated that the fight will go on relentlessly even to the shedding of blood. Yet others have demanded that judges not sit with the new appointee to the high seat. That too can well turn out to be smoke without fire, judging by what “ƒ”¹…”smoking Wije’ metamorphosed into at the interview with the President, that is into a fireless “ƒ”¹…”President’s dasa’. Indeed an unforgettably pathetic image of abject servility. The burning deck is not the place for our self imagined heroes.

The new appointee to the exalted seat cannot but add to the indelible stain this entire episode has smeared the President with. The impeached chief justice was thought culpable of improprieties, legal, financial, and even moral. The new one is not the knight in a shining armour the post was supposed to require to dispel such prejudices; far from it. Recent newspaper revelations have revealed him to be involved in major financial irregularities. Furthermore if the President’s desire is to uphold the independence of the Supreme Court, he has missed his goal by astronomical miles. The rapport of the new appointee with the President is all too well known. He was a government appointee to the post of Attorney General. Then he was made government spokesman at many Geneva conferences to cite what is best known. His latest appointment was as legal advisor to the President; in every respect a President’s man. With such strong ties to the President cannot this appointment be called the starkest of hypocrisy? What independence from the executive can he wield? The much cited quotation that such a person must be above suspicion is good for the goose but not for the gander! The new appointee being a Catholic, I may as well quote from the scriptures: judex ergo cum sedebit, quidquid latet apparebit (when finally the judge does sit, everything hidden within him will be revealed). That revealing hand will be the one holding up the puppet.

Now the war being over, and in the light of the orientations this country has taken, the slogan about those who love the country and those who do not is outdated and in need of urgent revision. The correct evaluation would be to divide them into two different categories apparently differently but essentially the same: THE SHAME-FULL AND THE SHAMELESS. This is the stench emerging out of this all putrid rot of which Sri Lanka has become the garbage dump.

Tour guides would now have another attraction to show their tourist groups. When passing Hultsdorf they would say; this is “ƒ”¹…”aluthkadey’ the most famous of our cemeteries. The white monument in the center is a massive tombstone that covers the ashes of the independent judiciary. “And the figures dressed in black loitering around with grave faces, who are they?” the tourists would ask. “Oh, they are grave diggers and undertakers called BASL ensuring that the ashes do not resurrect!” would be the apt reply.

 

10 Responses to “Sacking of Chief Justice and emergence of new consensus”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    You are entitled to your respectful opinion. Thank you Lankaweb for publishing ALL SIDES of the story.

    Let me point out some thingys.

    1. “thugs armed with wooden poles assaulting with impunity anti-impeachment demonstrators while armed police and security personnel looked on”

    It happened both ways. Pro-impeachment thugs also attacked anti-impeachment thugs. Our media owned by LTTE Maharaja, CFA Wicrkramasinghe, Pawn Brokering Swarna, etc. are not the least impartial.

    2. “What can the people think of the attitude of the BASL?”

    Now this is where I agree. I told so. These are spineless money greedy leeches. Given the billions at stake, they will even work under Lucifer!

    3. “Then he was made government spokesman at many Geneva conferences to cite what is best known.”

    Not the govt. But the nation. He DEFENDED the nation! That is enough reason why he should be given a top job.

    There is Pakiasothy Saravanamuttu and the NGO gang. They will bring war crimes against SL in SL courts (they can’t do anything in ICC!!). That’s why they need a lacky. But when a DEFENDER of SL is made the CJ, they lose the plot!

    4. Ever wondered why UNDISPUTED traitors were on the anti-impeachment camp?

    I agree some socalled traitors are actually patriots who are against the Rajapakshas but loves SL.

    e.g. SL Gunasekara, Elle Gunawamsa

    But there are traitors we all can agree.

    e.g. Pakiasothy Saravanamuttu

    BTW some traitors supported the impeachment.

    e.g. Hack-him

    Govt. would call them patriots. My foot!

    My theory is – “everyone in SL is a traitor until proven otherwise”.

  2. Kamal Says:

    1.”The Chief Justice buying a flat from Trillium while judging their cases. It is clear she understands this was wrong, inasmuch as she withdrew, immediately after the impeachment resolution, from that Bench.

    2, “The Chief Justice replacing the Bench hearing the Trillium cases with a Bench headed by herself.

    3. Referring to the high position given to the husband of Chief Justice, Mr. Kariyawasam, he said “no judge or spouse of a judge should be offered or accept office from government.

    4. “The Chief Justice was given a substantial discount on a purchase from Trillium when there was a Court Order enjoining that the highest possible price be obtained for these.

    5. “The Chief Justice did not submit a Declaration for 2001.

    6) “Concealment of funds by emptying accounts just before March 31st each year, as is alleged was done by the Chief Justice.

    7) “Accumulation of misleading statements as seems to have been the case with the Chief Justice.

    8). “The ‘moral conduct of an exceptional degree’ expected from a Chief Justice that the Committee believes is necessary was not forthcoming.” (Sunday Island — January 13, 2013)

  3. Dilrook Says:

    Mohan is a widely respected Attorney General than most in the top posts of the profession. I can’t believe he accepted this very important appointment so soon.

    BASL lost its dignity a long time ago when it was politicised.

    Real issues are now not even discussed in the public domain thanks to this needless episode.

    Ease of doing business index is a global index relied on by investors. Sri Lanka does reasonably well given the circumstances. However, registration issues, tax matters, property and contracts enforcement are the areas scored very badly. If not for these drawbacks the ranking could improve dramatically. Now these legal framework related indices will further go down. It eventually affects FDIs flow into the country which has been steadily decreasing since 2008. This decrease is the main reason the government plans to borrow a further $ 1 billion from IMF just 2 and a half years after it borrowed $ 2.6 billion.

    This drama may be a political victory but a defeat for the economy which still depends on FDIs for investments and, the justice system.

    Loss of faith in the justice system by the international community leads to a stronger call for independent investigations into allegations of excesses during war.

    I’m amazed at the speed the Parliamentary Select Committee concluded its investigations within such a short time during the festive season. This has set a new low poltiical (thankfully not a judicial one) precedent.

  4. cassandra Says:

    mario,

    I see that in the course of your article you have seen fit to quote from the Scriptures. Still staying with a scriptural theme, may I say tha, however valid what you have had to say is, on this website, at least, yours will be like that proverbial ‘voice crying out in the wilderness’

  5. mario_perera Says:

    Dear Cassandra,

    I believe that in scriptural language ‘wilderness’ means the desert. To me it is obvious that his entire country is engaged in a desert crossing, but unfortunately with no Moses in the lead. I know that the highest religious authorities of the land pleaded with the President to revoke the impeachment move, but to no avail. What is alarming is that those very same religious leaders backed off since then taking refuge in silence. The New testament scriptural personality who cried out in the desert was willing to pay with his head for having the courage to persist. Not so our religious leaders, which shows that their crying out is ‘sounding brass and tinkling cymbal’, hollow of substance as is the case with men without a mission.

    Our religious voices in the wilderness have no prophetic import, which means no endurance nor persistence. I remember what a Catholic priest once wrote about his hierarchy: that Jesus Christ had no where to lay his head, but that our religious leaders have all the pillows in the world but no heads to lay on them. In the same vein I also recall what one Mahanayake said after his plea that General Fonseka be released fell on deaf ears. He said: what more can we do, the leader does not listen to us. That was it and that was all. And the leader concerned knows it. He know that our religious leaders will never be thorns in his side. He knows that as long as religious leaders had velvet pillows to lay their hollow heads on they will not be a threat to him. That is the difference between genuine men crying out in the wilderness and fakes in the garb of religious leaders.

    Thank you Cassandra for your contribution to this debate.

    Kind regards

  6. Lorenzo Says:

    Actually Lankaweb is a REPRESENTATIVE CROSS SECTION of the SL society.

    MAJORITY of SLs are very contended with the outcome. That was why they didn’t disrupt it. Some even celebrated it with fire crackers, paarl choru and other sweets!!

    The majority is NOT ALWAYS right. Sometimes they are wrong. But majority rule is the BEST AVAILABLE in the world.

    This applies to the UNHRC as well. :((

  7. mario_perera Says:

    Henceforth, the ‘UTTARITA’ parliament can split up into criminal and civil jurisdictions with Appellate and Supreme Court powers, and directly hear the cases of the people. These same powers can be conferred on provincial parliaments and by extension to other provincial council and palath sabha groupings. No need then for a camouflaged and face-saving puppet judiciary with the power of the people being directly exercised by the peoples representatives.

    Now that the snow-ball has been launched with parliament’s total rejection of the Supreme Court and Appeal Court judgments in its regard, let the government fearlessly go the whole hog and set in practice what it has preached. This will also mean the abolishing of law college and law faculties with the representatives of the people arguing the cases of the people as well. The recent impeachment event has amply proved that knowledge of the law is not necessary to argue a case. The law will therefore be what the people decide it to be. The supremacy of the people will then be enthroned in an untouchable manner and its judicial power exercised directly by the people for the people. With two-thirds of the parliamentary votes at the government’s disposal, the time to act is NOW for ‘now is now the only time that may be’.

    Mario Perera
    Kadawata

  8. Nanda Says:

    Yeah,
    Now it is the time to abolish 13A, but doubt the government will do it.
    13A problem is long frogotten now.

  9. douglas Says:

    Mario_perera – Thank you. After continuously reading the Daily News of Lake House in this web page, I had the opportunity to read something different and that is stimulating.

    You stated the first announcement of HE after the war:” We have two classes of people -” Those who love the country and those who don’t love the country and no more class of people called minority community”.

    This has now changed to “Ape Miniha” (Our Man). You know what I am reffering to.

    To Kamal: Your comment item No. 3. You too are out of touch with the news. For your information, a Senior Cabinet Minister Prof: Vitharana recently in an inerview with a daily paper stated that, he discussed the appointment of Mr. Karayawasam as the Chairman of NSB with the HE and was informed that CJ Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake made a request to appoint her husband to the post and he could not say “NO”. This statement has neither being denied so far by the President and the Cabinet Minister. So it stands correct.

    This would tell you that it is not only “Ape Miniha” but also “Ape Nona”. In my opinion the point of time of this request by Dr.Shirani Bandaranayake should have been made use of to “kick” her out of office. That would have been more appropriate and avalid reason to “impeach” her than what took place recently. This is the theory of “You scratch my back and I will scratch your back”.

    Now both “Ape Miniha” and “Ape Nona” are out, but new of same types have come in.

    To Lorenzo- Your reference to the Nation’s Representative at Geneva. Yes he did it and failed the whole nation by making a reference to the missing cartoonist – Eknaligoda. He said “Eknaligoda is hiding in a foreign country and he is aware of it” But when summoned to give evidence in the disappearance case of Eknaligoda in a Magistrate Court in Sri Lanka, he said that was an “error”. This evidence is now on record and “explicitly” communicated to Geneva.

    So Lorenzo, this is what another “Ape Miniha” has done to this Nation.

    So we now continue to live with “Ape Miniha” and “Ape Nona” concept. Let us see how that works.

  10. Lorenzo Says:

    Douglas,

    “This is the theory of “You scratch my back and I will scratch your back”.

    Now both “Ape Miniha” and “Ape Nona” are out, but new of same types have come in.”

    They don’t become apes just because they are different. Unless I’m missing something here.

    Eknaligoda is a well known NGO funded anti-SL criminal. At that time MP would not have known his whereabouts. He didn’t fail defending SL. He has at least DEFENDED SL UNLIKE SB and her hubby who ROBBED and DISCREDITED SL and the courts!

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