27 November, 2020

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A Final Chance To Honour The Constitution And Natural Justice

By Friday Forum

Professor. Savitri Goonesekere

The Friday Forum made a recent statement which drew the public’s attention to the deeply flawed nature of the procedures adopted for investigating the charges made against the Chief Justice. This statement analyzed the procedures from the perspective of the Constitution and other legal provisions. We recommended that in the absence of essential safeguards, the impeachment proceedings should be terminated.

Our worst fears have been confirmed by the manner in which the Select Committee of Parliament has conducted the investigation and arrived at its conclusions. The public is aware that the basic requirements of a fair investigation have been flouted by the members of the Select Committee representing the government, who constitute the majority on the Committee. From the very first sitting of the Committee, there appears to have been an arrogant disregard of the laws and standards of natural justice and fair procedure that ought to be followed according to Sri Lankan law as well as International law and practice. The members representing the opposition parties on the Select Committee also failed in their duty to ensure that the basic elements of fair investigative procedures were in place before the Chief Justice was summoned before the Committee, and she and her lawyers attended its sittings. This appears to have resulted in confrontational arguments during the sittings, vain protests on their part, and an eventual withdrawal from the proceedings by the Chief Justice and her lawyers.

Even worse the Chief Justice and her team of lawyers are alleged to have been subjected to attempts to intimidate them at every sitting they attended, two members of the government on the Committee even resorting to vituperative abuse. That legislators and senior government officials who have acted in this way in their interactions with the public in the recent past have not been held accountable for such conduct has encouraged the unimaginable behaviour of the present Parliamentary Select Committee.

The Select Committee’s report and findings were arrived at in unseemly haste, after the withdrawal of the Chief Justice and her team of lawyers and the representatives of the opposition parties. They were all protesting against the arbitrary and unfair manner in which the proceedings were conducted. In these circumstances it is fair to surmise that the findings and report are seriously flawed, and indicate unjust, unfair and discriminatory investigative procedures.

We wish to remind parliamentarians that the proceedings of the Select Committee are being challenged before the courts on the basis that they are ultra vires the Constitution.

The public has a right to expect its elected representatives to act with decorum and dignity. We ask that the Chairman of the Select Committee and those who abused the Chief Justice tender, to the Chief Justice, her team of lawyers, the judiciary, Parliament and the people of Sri Lanka, a public apology for their conduct.

We call upon the Speaker to advise Parliament that the report is not acceptable, and persuade the House not to base an address to the President on the Report. We also call upon the President not to act on any address of impeachment based on this report, even if presented to him by Parliament.

Jayantha Dhanapala                                  Professor. Savitri Goonesekere

On behalf of The Friday Forum;

Jayantha Dhanapala, Professor Savitri Goonesekere, Rt. Rev. Duleep de Chickera, Professor Arjuna Aluwihare, Anne Abeysekera, Dr. Jayampathy Wickremaratne, Tissa Jayatillaka, Professor Ranjini Obeysekere, Shanthi Dias, Damaris Wickremasekera, Dr. Deepika Udagama, Sithie Tiruchelvam, Lanka Nesiah, Dr. A.C.Visvalingam, Dr. Camena Gunaratne, Suriya Wickremasinghe, D. Wijayanandana,    Radhika Coomaraswamy, Faiz-ur Rahman, Manouri Muttetuwegama,  Daneshan Casie Chetty, Rev. Dr. Jayasiri Peiris, J. C. Weliamuna,                     Dr U.Pethiyagoda, Ranjit Fernando, Dr. Devanesan Nesiah, Ahilan Kadirgamar, Javid Yusf, Mahen Dayanada, Chandra Jayaratne.

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    People who have had injustice perpetrated on them and have suffered, will always have special light and vision on injustice.

    Voicing the democratic right, request or mandate of people is democracy. When that voice is retaliated by any government with brutal force, resisting such force with arms is not terrorism.

    Nelson Mandela did that against apartheid South Africa.

    The LTTE resisted the inhuman state terror by the armed forces of Sri Lanka(SL) against the people of Tamil Eelam(TE). It also stood firmly for the mandate given democratically by the people of TE in 1977 to liberate their country, even when the democratically elected Tamil representatives were not speaking of that mandated right.

    Therefore, politically, LTTE was democratic and heroic.

    More than 20 assasinations of Tamil political leaders done by the military of SL are not yet called state terrorist either by the International Community or the UN.

    But, why are the political assasinations done by the LTTE branded as terrorist and not political? Prejudice ?

    Nations too, like individuals, need to heal by probing the wounds, seeking causes and pursuing redress.

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    Wow! What a forum, if you can not learn from this lot who can you learn from. Listen !!!! Powere that ,are, Christmas is coming to an end unless you listen. And, carefully take in ,what they say

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    The PSC s based on the constitution. In the past two other Chief Justices were impeached. JR sacked 7 Judges in 1978. Where were all the legal experts of the Friday Forum then? There was not a hum from them. There are 14 Charges level against the CJ. If so, what is wrong in asking her to appear before the PSC. Her beloved husband has been charged for msiappropriation of nearly Rs.390 ruppees. She had been given a discount of Rs. 1.6 million by Ceylinco and they are involved in a few cases and they are heard by CJ. Why is the Friday Forum composed of retired people with ‘dementia’ defending someone who is accused of corruption? Neville CJ was charged by JR for making a speech in a night tutory and sent before a PSC.

    Dr. P.A.Samaraweera

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      I am now a Dr. Hope you noticed. Jerks!

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      P A Samaraweera from Melbourne

      Two wrongs does not make a right.
      The Friday Forum was not in existence during the 1970 and 80’s.
      It’s exactly incidence of that nature we now have civil society organisation such as Friday Forum

      The husband you refer to(appe miniha)was CEO and was acting not alone.
      It is more than likely Cabraal knew all about it.(“we tried to cover it up quietly since he was our man. That is how we do things, No!”)

      The Daily News should also report how many others received discounts amounting to 1.5m on fire sales.

      If you look at the caliber of people at Friday Forum, sorry you will not be able to hold a candle to their intellect and integrity.

      Chandra “Marco” Page

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      Dear Sumane,
      The question is not whether CJ is right or wrong but whether she has been given a fair chance to defend herself.
      Nevil’s case took about 6 months on one charge. He was not intimidated (abused) during the trial.

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        Sumane should be corrected as Samare

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    I agree with the views expressed. Can we expect any better conduct from these politicians who have failed to even declare their own assests but attempt to investigate a person who has made a declaration? I would welcome some one to take up the non declaration of the assets by politicians to court. I am sure that too may come within the fundamental rights jurisdiction.
    Srinath

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    I do not think the Wesamuni Maharaja will read and listning to this. This is poison for him. If the govt act in this manner from whom we can expect justice. Dr weerasena is doing what he has been instructed to do, he is well off by doing that He appears to be the brother of Dr Merving Silva.

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    It seems this Forum is even higher than the Supreme court to order the Speaker and the PSC to do what the it wants.

    The intriguing aspect is these Forums were no where to be seen when poor mums and dads were getting blown up in buses and trains, kiddies were frightened to go to school and the whole country was in total disarray.

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      Oi fora is plural of forums. Even I know that!

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      Any relevance between your two sentences Sumanasekera. If there is, could you please explain.

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    Sumanasekera. what is the plural of Forum. Before you make stupid comments, learn some English. That will be good. Forums my foot

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      Definition of forum
      noun (plural forums)

      The plural of forum is usually spelled forums; the plural fora (as in the original Latin) is chiefly used when talking about a public square in an ancient Roman city.

      Oxford dictionary
      http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/forum

      A little learning is a dangerous thing. It can also make you look like a bit of a twit.

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    Dr.P.A.Samaraweera may have obtained his residency in Australia as an original inhabitant of that land. He seems to be fond of Kangaroo courts!
    Yes. The spouse being given and his accepting a plum post is something the good lady will have to eventually answer for. That does not mean that she should be tried by a Kangaroo Court. The Friday Forum should also issue their observations in Sinhala.

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    The members of the sellect commitee are all rougs, swindlers, murderers, drug dealers, bribe takers ect. The mighty Weerawansa has 7 standered education, leader of the Commitee appears only for Kassipu cases, the rest educational qualification is above comment, how can they conduct an inquiry of a Chief Justice, MaRa must be nuts to appoint this commitee, now he says he is not aware of what was going on, he is a bloody born lier, he may be thinking he will live for ever, bugger will kick the bucket very shortly becouse all he has been doing is against God.

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    The King doesn’t want anybody, above his knowledge or qualifications like the Friday Forum, to be partnered with. He think they will undermine his Kinship, which is NOT BECAUSE OF INFERIORITY COMPLEX….OR not because who could advise THE KING……

    That’s why he is more comfortable surrounded by grade nine school dropouts,half educated lawyers and Kelaniya Rajas and mere chartered accountant as CB chief….and other Ministers and corporate bosses…… .why….why….why…..Think Deep.

    Because by placing all these at correct places the King COULD DO WHAT HE WANTS, WHAT HIS SIBLINGS WANT, WHERE HE WANTS, WHO HE WANTS AND WHENEVER HE WANTS……WITH HIS COUNTRY……..Period.
    This is the easiest way for Rajano to become Gasano….

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    Prolieration of anti government foundations like the lawyers collective,Lawyers for democracy,Foundation for social justice.the Friday forum , platfor for freedom and many many others is due to the indiference and lethagy of the leaderless political opposition.The emergence of anti govt movements fill this vacuum and dissipates public frustration.The need of the hour is for all these right thinking people to get their act together without hidden agendas and propose a common minimum program to the people.I hope CJ will head such a movement.

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      The development seen is not just ‘prolieration’ of ani-govt. foundations but a surge of opposition from an overwhelming majority of intelligent sections of the public whose voices were silenced all this time intimidation and threat of violence of different forms. Now these voices are beginning to realise that enough is enough and the country needs responsible leadership. That is their pro-people agitation. Of course they should have a common programme to change the on-going negative political culture. The leadership of such an initiative should not be entrusted to a single person; it should be a collective leadership.

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