By Basil Fernando –
Even the worst of criminals have a right to a fair trial before an independent judiciary. A judge in an impeachment proceeding in Sri Lanka does not have that right. Article 107 of the Constitution and the standing orders as they stand now preclude that right.
Is the quality of citizenship of a judge of an inferior quality than that of others?
This brings us to Article 12(1) of the constitution, which guarantees equality before law to everyone. However, in impeachment proceedings judges do not have that equality.
What, then, is the quality of the citizenship of a judge?
There is a tragi-comic absurdity here and a fundamental illegality.
Within a framework of such an absurdity and illegality, can the PSC make a legally valid decision?
If a PSC tries a case of murder, will that be valid? Of course not. Whosoever it is, if ever subject to such treatment, has a right to resist participating in such a proceeding.
Would it be a violation of parliamentary privileges if such a person on such an occasion resisted participating in such a proceeding? That cannot be so as the legality of the proceeding must first be established before proceedings are to be legal.
But, it appears that, regarding judges, such legality need not exist. If the PSC calls them they should comply.
The illegality of these proceedings have already been declared by international law experts and authorities.
What is it then that is taking place before our own eyes?
Is any kind of perversity permitted against the judges?