Under normal course of events, as anticipated earlier, what in store for Sri Lanka in 2013 were the promised elections for the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) in September and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHGOM) in November. Until then the country was supposed to lumber on grudgingly though as usual, perhaps making some headway here and debacle there, as it always did, amusing the disparaging critics home and the international community abroad. Not even a major cricket event was supposed to take place in this resplendent island, to take the excess heat out of the masses, irrespective of the ICC women’s cricket tournament taking place in many other countries in June.
Of course the government was scheduled to face the next music in March at the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) in Geneva and even that was not considered to be of catastrophic proportions if not for the current blundering in the impeachment effort or the unwarranted harassment of the university students at the Jaffna Campus. Anyway, the government media or even the Ministers were always ready to say completely the opposite of what would happen in Geneva as if the Sri Lankan masses are like the ‘old school Chinese’ (konde bandapu cheennu). No insult to China or the Chinese is intended. Remember, the Professor was saying last time that Sri Lanka just lost the vote only by one, conveniently counting those who abstained from voting to our side! By that magic, 15 became 23.
Our politicians in power and their cohorts however are extremely an erratic lot. They are not easily predictable and if they don’t have an enemy to fight against then they would create one. They love to indulge in ‘shadow boxing’ against imperialism and see foreign agents in every nook and corner. What they most cherish is unleashing their thugs, official and unofficial, against their enemies particularly during election times. Even they are capable of biting noses or ears of the enemy. Unfortunately after the conclusion of the three provincial council elections in September 2012 for Sabaragamuwa, North Central and the Eastern, there was no exciting event that they could get involved in. There was no entertainment for the spectators either. The official TV shows on ITN and Repuavahini were getting extremely boring. Their voices were running ‘hoarse’ strangely this time for not being used against their enemies. Their paid trishaw thugs were not used for a long time and they were complaining being out of extra cash.
Finally finally they have found an enemy to fix all of these; this time around quite an extraordinary woman. Perhaps they thought it would be an easy prey judging from their own experiences at home or in their electorates. But she was the Chief Justice. She was just appointed for the big position by the big boss. Never mind she has proved to be ‘too big for the shoes’ given by the boss. She was not just a CJ but an internationally recognized academic in the field of law. The modus operandi of the struggle against the new enemy was the much maligned Impeachment in the Sri Lankan context. No previous effort on Impeachment had been successful after three attempts. They hardly understood what it involved but they had advisors from the same profession including the previous CJ and the previous previous one, reputed for Kekille judgements, giving unofficial advice on the sidelines.
The single enemy soon became the whole of the judiciary and all the ‘black coats’ also rallied round her for one or the other reason, reputed for their Hultsdorf mentality. All international conspirators, from the International Bar Association to the UN Special Rapporteur on Independence of the Judges and the Lawyers came in support of her. The Canadian Prime Minister, quite an imperialist one supporting the terrorists, threatened to boycott the scheduled CHOGM in November if the Impeachment against the CJ goes ahead. But the US and India were quite silent perhaps because the Rajapaksas are the buddies of the awaken giant of China.
They decided to conduct the Impeachment in the Gang-nam style and framed quite a long list of 14 charges believing more the charges are more the possibility of proving them. They appointed carefully selected seven known rogues (two buffoons included) to the Impeachment Court named respectfully as a Parliamentary Select Committee, all according to their own constitution but not the country’s one. All objections from the Judiciary or the lawyers of the CJ or the opposition members of the PSC were summarily dismissed. Within few days they were however got exhausted. ‘Why would we investigate all the charges, three would be good enough,’ they thought. Some of the journalists who sing weekly hosannas to the regime thought some ‘unproven charges’ are more profound than the ‘proven once’ for the necessary character assassination. In the meanwhile, the CJ, the lawyers and the opposition members left the proceedings quite unable to stomach the ‘parliamentary language’ of two of the buffoons in the kangaroo courts. With this happening, they were suddenly elated of the prospects of proving the charges in absentia and called open even some witnesses to the Diyawanna Wallawa where the proceedings were taking place. They had a marathon session in that Friday evening, quite a Guinness record, and produced their report on the following morning. They said that they investigated five charges and three were proved without objection.
Lo and behold! In the meanwhile, the cunning lady has applied for a Writ of Certiorari at the Court of Appeal. Then the big boss said his conscience was pricked and announced that he would appoint ‘another independent committee’ to review the report of the PSC before taking a final decision on the Impeachment. But later he unceremoniously retracted the pronouncement, as usual, in his style of dubious governance. Then some of the court jesters said that the CJ has appointed her own bench to hear her appeal without knowing the difference between the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. Perhaps it is more likely that they thought the people in the country would not know the difference.
To make the long story short, the first surprise in the New Year of 2013 would be the ruling of the Court of Appeal on the Impeachment proceedings against the country’s Chief Justice. As a bigwig on legal matters of yesteryears, Dr Nihal Jayawickrama, has said, “If the Court were to quash the findings of the Select Committee, that would be a binding and authoritative judgment on the matter.” If the Parliament or the President were to ignore the court ruling and proceed with removing the Chief Justice it would create a very serious constitutional crisis with considerable international implications. This is at the brink of the UNHRC sessions in Geneva in March.
In that even it is most likely, according to my reading of the political Oracle, the President will dissolve Parliament and go for premature Parliamentary elections in the near future however after removing the Chief Justice.