Hot Air Against Impeachment
Posted on November 25th, 2012

Courtesy The Daily News Editorial

It does seem that those sections of partisan intellectuals and other interested civil society babblers who have taken cudgels against the impeachment motion against the Chief Justice (CJ) do not seem to know that there are contending sources of power, and that checks and balances intended in the constitutional document are for ensuring that the judiciary stands sentinel over the Executive and the Legislature, and vice versa.

It isn’t a one way street. Checks and balances do not mean that the judiciary keeps a hawk’s eye over the legislature, while the Legislature is supine, keeps silent and abdicates its responsibility to ensure that there is integrity, rectitude and impartiality in the Judiciary.

Yesterday for example, the Secretary to the Ministry of Justice of a historically insignificant bygone – the significantly out of touch Mr. Nihal Jayawickreme, making a contribution of The Island newspaper, takes umbrage against another writer who referenced the Bangalore principles with regard to the current impeachment proceedings against the CJ.

Jayawickreme is seen going into an apoplexy of righteous indignation saying in effect that the Bangalore principles have nothing to with impeaching a Chief Justice!

For being purblind, Jayawickreme should be given a Raspberry if for no other reason, the fact that he is unable to read the not so fine print from the end of his own document/article, and relate it to the issue that he brings up for argument.

States the former Secretary at the end of his rather superciliously toned tract on the current impeachment imbroglio, that judges can be removed for a few specific reasons only, such as “proved incapacity, conviction of a serious crime, gross incompetence, or conduct that is manifestly contrary to the independence, impartiality and integrity of the judiciary.” (This, as per the UN sponsored Judicial Integrity Group.)

The Bangalore principles, as any law student would be able to tell our readers, deals more with issues that pertain to the integrity of the judiciary than anything else. If judges could be removed for conduct that is manifestly contrary to the independence, impartiality and the integrity of the judiciary, who says that the Bangalore principles, which deals with integrity issues of judges, have no relevance in matters of impeachment of judges though the Bangalore principles may not have been drawn up expressly for that purpose?

Who says so, but Mr Nihal Jayawickreme, the effete legal-eagle of yore, now moonlighting as the Jack in the Box authority on everything pertaining to legal affairs, just because he continues to suffer from the hangover of past hubris as a result of onetime exalted office. (Read Justice Ministry Secretary, a position then inflated by the fact that he was Secretary during time justice was often thrown by the board.)

Either Mr. Jayawickreme does not know the meaning of the word integrity, or has no integrity himself, hence making him issue such a skewed opinion on the relation between impeachments and the Bangalore principles — or he is now in the doddering stages of early onset senility, lapsing therefore into frequent episodes of baseless loquaciousness. The last being the more charitable of the judgments we can draw about his frequent opinions which are becoming more conspicuous by the day for their inability to get the facts right, something seemingly directly proportional to his fondness to prostate himself before the partisan factions he seems over-eager to please …

So to reiterate – the fact of the matter is that Judges can be removed for matters that compromise the integrity and independence of the judiciary, and that’s according to what Jayawickreme himself points out, for once, correctly. The Bangalore principles are basically a Code of Conduct for Judges that specify the standards by which such integrity and independence of office is maintained.

Ergo, if the Bangalore principles are seen to be heavily transgressed by a sitting judge, he or she must have compromised the integrity and independence of office that warrants removal, by Mr. Jayawickreme’s own quoted yardstick.

Therefore, unless the Secretary has-been has some difficulty in English reading comprehension, the Bangalore principles are very relevant to the viability of remaining in office, and of course, to take a rather tortured legalistic view that these two are different things – – well, it points out to the fact that integrity in matters of intellectual relevance doesn’t seem to be, to put it mildly, this Secretary has-been’s strong suit.

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