Justice Delayed is Justice Denied-Justice Bullied is Justice Buried!
Posted on February 29th, 2020

By Aurelius

Under-reported and nearly unnoticed was Gotabaya’s keynote address at the 2020 National Law Conference, held in Negombo on 14th February this year.

The address began with Gotabaya paying banal courtesies to the Judiciary, making that inevitable reference to Laws delays and pontificating about ‘Separation of Powers’.

It was then that Gotabaya dropped a bomb!                                                          

Many at the gathering were caught unawares when, throwing caution to the wind, Gotabaya cast aside his velvet gloves and menacingly bared to everyone present a deadly iron fist.

Threatening the Judiciary, Gotabaya hissed, Considerable harm could be caused to democracy by the judiciary needlessly interfering in the functioning of the executive and legislative branches of the government.  It is therefore important that the judiciary does not obstruct the development efforts undertaken by the executive to ensure the well-being and prosperity of the people.”

These are the classic words of tinpot dictators who have blotched the global stage of history, time and time again. Gotabaya had the impudence to utter these words in the precincts of the legal fraternity. 

Who is coaching Gotabaya to mouth such drivel? Is it Moragoda and his pack of Weeratunges, Goonetillekes and Colambages, whom the Americans have unleashed to keep Gotabaya in line?

 It was the Americans who portrayed Gotabe as a dictator.

And now, are the Americans setting Gotabaya up to make such statements, making him believe, that by making such statements, he projects himself as a fearless leader?

Does Gotabaya not realise that by making such statements he is augmenting the image the Americans have created for him?

Does Gotabaya not realise that such conduct makes him extremely unpopular with the people and that he is being manoeuvered into a dangerous collision course with the Judiciary and the people?

The legal fraternity in the audience appeared shell-shocked.

The politicians present at the event, including front seaters like Wickramasinghe, Karu and Siripala, seemed unfazed; indeed, visual images of the event gave the impression that they were pleased as punch to hear what they were hearing.

The question being asked by many is, Why is Gotabaya being led by the nose and doing exactly what the Americans want him to do?” 

Is it that they have some ‘dirt’ on him and he is being blackmailed to do their bidding or is he, as increasing number of people describe him, a crypto-American, working in tandem with the Americans on the MCC plan?  

Contrary to what Gotabaya suggested by innuendo, Sri Lanka boasts of a Judiciary which works within the framework of the Constitution; the judiciary and the legal fraternity have, time and time again, saved the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka and safeguarded the fundamental Rights of the people.

However, that space is fast shrinking.

Members of the legal fraternity who had the will, inclination and the skill to present in Courts, arguments against the MCC, have got prestigious appointments in the Government sector. Consequently, many of them do not have now, the time or inclination to pursue action against the MCC.

It is in the context of the MCC threat to the integrity and sovereignty of Sri Lanka  that Gotabaya’s threat to the judiciary and the legal profession, has to be viewed. 

 Considerable harm could be caused to democracy by the judiciary needlessly interfering in the functioning of the executive and legislative branches of the government.”   – G Rajapakse

From Sri Lanka’s experience, the instances of the Judiciary interfering with the instruments of the Executive and the Administration has been, if not never, very rare.

The corollary however is true where the Executive and the Administration have both attempted to interfere with the workings of the Judiciary and the Legal system

The threat issued by Gotabaya is a clear example of the Executive attempting to interfere with the Judiciary. As Gotabaya himself has pointed out when one arm of Government interferes with another arm of Government, Democracy is imperiled.

There is a NEED for the Judiciary to intervene when the Constitution is violated, when the people are being robbed of their sovereignty and when the fundamental rights of the people are under attack.

What does Gotabaya mean by ‘Needless’ interference? The judiciary is there to interpret the law when called upon by the people to do so. There is nothing needless about it; interpreting the law is their business.

There is ample and conclusive evidence to successfully argue in a Court of law the many pitfalls in the draft MCC Agreement, some of which are given hereunder.

  • The draft MCC Compact is Unconstitutional.
  • The draft MCC Compact contravenes the laws of the country.
  •  The draft MCC Compact surrenders the country’s sovereignty
  • The draft MCC Compact is incompatible with International Law.
  • The draft MCC Compact physically divides the country into two.
  • The draft MCC Compact is the strategical plan of the US to establish a ‘beachhead’ in Sri Lanka.
  • The draft MCC Compact is a trojan Horse.
  • The clear nexus between the draft MCC Compact, ACSA, SOFA, the US Indo-pacific strategy, the militarisation of the Bay of Bengal, the ‘Pivot-to-Asia’ policy of the US and the takeover of the country by the US.
  • The draft MCC Compact will result in
    • Degradation of the environment without any degradation assessment plan or degradation impact-plan.
    • A robbery of our mineral resources without any knowledge on our part of what is being made available to the robbers.
    • Wiping out of historical and religious sites without maintaining any record of what is being erased forever.
    • Approximately 4 million people being made landless and homeless.
    • The establishment of a terrorist caliphate in the Eastern Province which has the potential to destabilise the littoral states and shipping, in the Bay of Bengal
    • Large areas of Sri Lanka being taken over and owned by US and US allied countries.
    • Laws within Sri Lanka being replaced by foreign law.
    • Sri Lankan Courts being replaced by foreign Courts
    • Sri Lankan lawyers, judges and professionals being replaced by foreign, lawyers, judges and professionals
    • A private company, set up by the MCC, replacing Parliament in the control of State Funds      
    • And many more that will reduce the country to a colony.

Gotabaya is aware that the Judiciary is Sri Lanka’s only hope that could possibly save her from the MCC menace. The draft MCC Agreement would never see the light of day if taken to Courts.

Gotabaya’s plan was simple; crudely attack the Judiciary and the Legal profession.

After his tirade, would the Judiciary continue to have the same courage and resolve to act independently? Would there be lawyers available to argue cases against the MCC?

Speaking to this writer, Saman, a run-of-the-mill tut-tut driver said, There is no place for the MCC in Sri Lanka. The judges and the lawyers need not worry; a 6.9 million people are a one-hundred percent behind them. The lawyers who have been given ‘positions’ by the Government must resign as a mark of protest”.

The reason for Gotabaya’s outburst is clear. The only way forward for the MCC is by attempting to influence the Courts and the lawyers.
And, Gotabaya did exactly that.  

Did  Gotabaya’s conduct  that day in Negombo border on criminality?

It is therefore important that the judiciary does not obstruct the development efforts undertaken by the executive to ensure the well-being and prosperity of the people.” – G Rajapakse

 What is Gotabaya attempting to convey to the Judiciary? Is he saying,  ‘Do not give an opportunity to the people to challenge the MCC draft Agreement in Court?’ Or, is he implying, ‘Misinterpret the Law and allow him to implement the MCC programme of the US, unchallenged?’

This coercion is being applied by one arm of the Government – the Executive – to another arm of the Government – the Judiciary -.

In the Republic of Sri Lanka Sovereignty lies with the people and this sovereignty includes the powers of Government.

In the context of the Executive Power of the people, it is exercised by the President; in the context of the Legislative Power of the people, it is exercised by the Legislature; in the context of the Judicial Power of the people, it is exercised by the Judiciary.

The Powers thus delegated to the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary remain the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Powers of the people.   

It is highly preposterous for one arm of the Government, ‘The Executive’ in this instance, to advice/threaten another arm of Government, ‘The judiciary’, about what they should or should not do. Each of the three arms of Government has got its power from the people and each arm of Government is responsible to the people and not to each other.

It is the people who have all the right to challenge the workings of the three arms of Government, to whom they have delegated their power. The President has no such authority; indeed, if Gotabaya does attempt to do so, he is culpable of abusing his power and much more.

As the temporary custodian of the Executive power of the people, a President is required to do, during his period of office, what the people required him to do and what he promised the people, he would do.

Any Economic plan the President, may wish to execute on behalf of the people has to be within the framework of the Constitution and within the framework of Sri Lanka’s laws. If such economic plan does not conform to the Constitution or the laws of the Country, he has no right to tell the judiciary ‘to look the other way’ or ‘do not interfere unnecessarily’.

If these so-called Economic plans transgress the Constitution and the Country’s laws the people have delegated authority to the Judiciary to use their power and NOT permit the Executive to execute these Unconstitutional and illegal plans.

These checks and balances are written into our Constitution to safeguard the rights of the people.

If the Executive has threatened the Judiciary, it is a matter of grave concern; by so doing, he has threatened the people and the necessary judicial measures laid out in the Constitution need to be taken against the Executive. 

Gotabaya would do well to remember that he is only a temporary Caretaker and Protector of the Rights, Privileges and Assets of the People. He is required, on behalf of the people to uphold and protect the Constitution which guarantees the security of our unitary State.

A President may not therefore do anything which falls short of that guarantee.

A President is NOT empowered to act in a manner which exceeds the mandate given him by the people; if he breaks faith with the sovereignty of the people, he makes himself culpable for a range of issues. His dictatorial tendencies pose a threat to Democracy.

To expand on Alice Wells’ allegory that Sri Lanka is a piece of real estate in the Indian Ocean, Gotabaya could be described as being  employed by the owners of the estate as the ‘hewarala’ or watcher of this estate. The previous watcher was dishonest and sacked when it was found that he was trying to sell the estate.

The owners were surprised when they found that the new watcher too is dishonest; they discovered that he too is trying to sell-off the estate to the same buyer, and vanish.

 Caught red handed, the hewarala is now threatening the owner. And, there are indications that he is ganging up with the watcher who was sacked.

-Justice Bullied is Democracy Buried –

3 Responses to “Justice Delayed is Justice Denied-Justice Bullied is Justice Buried!”

  1. Gunasinghe Says:

    I am very disapointed by Gota’s acts recently. He does not have any concept of protecting enviornment. MP like Chandrasena starting to clear all land and use for personal gain. Lot of bad things are happening. No different between him and previous government.

  2. Charles Says:

    We have been colonised for a considerable period of time. The result is that we continue to go along with the systems introduced to us by the Colonial powers to the extent of loosing whatever identity we have. It had been so with Democracy. We want to be more democaratic than the developed countries of the West which we imitate. In recent times we want to become a Singapore. Now with regard to the separation of powers in a governing system we want to go to another extreme. Baron Montesquieu extended a theory exposed by Locke. That was in the context of the systems of government that existed in Europe at the time specially the Monarchies.

    We after becoming independent of the Colonial Powers should try to trace our own path to development instead of adopting what we have learnt from the west lock stock and barrel.
    We are a developing country therefore the systems we adopt should be our own or adopt what we get from others to suit to what we are. Otherwise we will for ever be a developing third world country. The separation of power does not mean that the Executive , the Legislature and the Judiciary should be put into sealed compartments. They are only a part of a system of government. They have to be separate, but interact for the betterment of the law and order, and the development of the country.The Executive the Head of the State has been given a mandate to prepare a government suitable to the people, and give the people in short a respectable living condition, health wealth, peace and security . In that the the three powers should work together without the Executive Against working against the Legislature, and the Judiciary against the Executive etc.

    What the President said is correct that the three powers should work together without interfering into the work of government. The Aim of the three powers is to develop the country in all respect and give the people peace, security and prosperity. At that Law Conference the President only reminded that the Judiciary should help in the easy flow of development work the government has undertaken. That is what is necessary living in a still developing country.

    In October, 2018 there was a change of government and the President wanted to dissolve the parliament to avoid a difficult situation in governing the country. The Judiciary after long deliberation ruled against the President who had proposed to dissolve the Parliament in the interest of the people. The Constitution had several clauses with regard to the President’s right to dissolve the Government in an emergency situation as it was then. But the Supreme Court’s decision showed that they had not read all the relevant articles of the Constitution such as Article 33 which gave the President a right to dissolve the Parliament. The SC stuck to only one article that disallowed the President from dissolving the Parliament before the end of four and a half years. It was the country that suffered from that decision and delayed the election for a new Parliament.

    Therefore the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was correct in what he said at the Law Conference in Negambo. That was also during the time that some judges had been scandalised by their telephoneconversations with a third class Parlimentarian.

  3. aloy Says:

    When the Prez gives wrong signals to the citizens you are bound to get criticism like this. I believe there is nothing wrong in what he said. But he has given wrong signals by appointing corrupt people to his fold and tarnished his image. Can he explain the reasoning for giving a separate municipality for Sainthamaruthyu which is the birthplace of Saharan and muslim militancy?. It is akin to giving a present for a job well done and also the start of breakup of motherland. When he realized the folly it was too late as another bombshell in the form of Airbus has come to the scene. They will be in for a rude shock.

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