26 August, 2019

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AG’s Appeal On CJ Impeachment: SC Judges Urged To Uphold Judicial Independence As Non-Negotiable Foundational Basis Of Society, AG Says “You Can’t”

The controversial appeal by the Attorney General from the Appeal Court ruling that the so called impeachment inquiry of the Parliamentary Select Committee against Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake was taken up today (28.11.2013) before a special bench of 5 judges nominated by de facto Chief Justice Mohan Pieris.

Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake

Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake

The judges (S. Marsoof, Chandra Ekanayake, Sathya Hettige, Eva Shanthi Wanasundera & Rohini Marasinghe) were urged by Attorney General Palitha Fernando, to hold that no court has any right to go into (even look at) what Parliament does. He said that if court goes into the matter and holds the impeachment invalid, it would seem like the judges are biased. AG did not mention that the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) was consisted of majority of MPs under the Rajapaksa regime (obvious high bias), who misbehaved and abused Dr. Bandaranayake causing all opposition members to walk out in disgust and protest.

At one point, Justice Rohini Marasinghe observed that it seems clear that surely if the process is clearly wrong under the constitution, it is not sensible to say that court can’t make at least a declaration that there is unconstitutionality. She asked the Attorney General to respond on that. AG replied that unfortunately, courts can’t. AG first came into the case in the Appeal Court only on a special request by the Appeal Court judges to just assist them with submissions on the law (a status called in legal jargon as “amicus curiae” – court’s friend). The AG controversially turned into an appellant after the judgement, attacking the Appeal Court judgement through this appeal. According to reliable sources (who requested not to be named), this was due to heavy pressure from the Rajapaksa regime. Normally it is not for an “amicus curiae” to appeal against judgement. Protests against this by the parties to the case were earlier rejected by the same 5 judge bench.

Appearing for R. Sampanthan, MP (Tamil National Alliance – TNA) who was a PSC member who walked out of the kangaroo style PSC session protesting that this was no way to treat a judge or any lady, counsel M. A. Sumanthiran urged the court that only court is given the duty to interpret the Constitution, and that while it is Parliament that should impeach, if it is done against the Constitution and law, it is the court’s duty to go into the matter, when it effects rights of a citizen outside Parliament (in this case the Chief Justice) are being deprived without even basic requirements of fairness. He informed to the court, that in civilized democratic judicial systems, this principle has been upheld. He mentioned the example of the longterm position in the United Kingdom. He pointed out to court several judgements on these points in many countries and urged the judges to uphold judicial independence in the country by overruling the absurd arguments of the Attorney General. He asked the court to consider that judicial independence is a non-negotiable foundational basis of society, and that the manner of removal of a judge can only be properly looked at with that in mind. It is a duty that court should not wash its hands off, he said.

Counsel J. C. Welimuna made submissions, representing Vijitha Herath, MP (Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna – JVP) who also walked out of the PSC and reminded the judges of how the whole inquiry by the PSC was a sham. The government MPs (Rajapaksa controlled) who were controlling the PSC abused Chief Justice Bandaranayake, abused her, didn’t even allow her to properly know the charges or meet (clearly bogus) allegations. He said that all this is on record and that court must not fail to consider the seriousness of the matter and that it affects the future of the entire judiciary. He argued that if court fails to do so, the rule of law fails.

Both Sumanthiran and Weliamuna urged the court to hold that impeachment of a superior court judge can only be done constitutionally by passing a law to provide a proper, impartial procedure to properly inquire into any allegations. They warned that otherwise, there can never be judicial independence and rule of law for citizens of the land.

The lawyers were asked to file written submissions in this case. The court reserved its judgement. No date was given for delivering the judgement. This is normally what happens for Supreme Court judgements unlike other courts.

In the other similar appeal case fixed for today, junior President’s Counsel Nigel Hatch appeared for the appealing parties (actually Rajapaksa supporters say a source close to the regime) who were claiming public interest as their motive that tried unsuccessfully to intervene in the same original Appeal Court case. This appeal case was specially refixed for 20.12.2013 before the same 5 judges because the other case took up the whole of today.

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Latest comments

  • 5
    0

    once again your excellencies are challenged….. challenged by the cowards who use their immunity and impunity and utter trashiness in dictating how and who the law is.
    my sincere hope is justice and law will prevail and the hallowed buildings which has time immemorial has meted justice and withstood adversaries will be alive to deliver justice for the people. may god save this country.

    • 6
      0

      It’s becoming increasingly clear, if such clarity was ever needed, that what will in the final essay prevail in this country is that which is determined by the Rajapaksas.

      The ordinary man on the street in Colombo will tell you this.

      Given the acknowledgement of this truth across every socio-political divide , what defeats logic is why any right thinking judge must continue playing out this farcical charade and thereby prove that they are not biased. Being APpointeES of the de facto CJ however, WHO IS A LAPDOG APPOINTEE OF THE PRESIDENT one might EXPECT, at best, a token OBJECTION TO THE AG’S STANCE THAT IS A CLEAR BREACH OF LAW AND IS A CRUDE ARROGATION, AN USURPING, WITH GOVERNMENT APPROVAL,OF THE SUPREMACY OF THE JUDICIARY.

      ALL THESE SERVILE “PLANTS’ IN THE JUDICIARY ARE SO APPOINTED EXPRESSLY FOR THE END OBJECTIVE OF DELIVERING VERDICTS ‘DICTATED’ BY THE EXECUTIVE,SO MUCH SO THAT ONE MIGHT VALIDLY ASK WHETHER WE NEED ANY MORE PROOF THAT SRI LANKA HAS AN UNCOMPROMISING DICTATORSHIP THAT RULES BY THE THREAT OF A FATALLY SWIFT MILITARY STRIKE TO CRUSH ANY FORM OF JUSTIFIABLE DISENT,

      FEAR IS THE KEY..AND JUDGING BY ITS RESULTS, IT’S PROVED TO BE AN ENORMOUSLY POWERFUL WEAPON.

      WHAT’S HIDEOUSLY NAUSEATING IS THAT THIS GOVERNMENT STILL HAS THOSE SHAMELESS APOLOGISTS WHO ARE NOTHING BUY POND SCUM SWIMMING ABOUT IN THE FAECAL WASTE OF THE GOVERNMENT’S NAKED POLITICAL IMMORALITY.SRI LANKA HAS BECOME A NATION OF COWARDS SO EASILY BLUDGEONED INTO SHAMELESS SERVILITY.

  • 0
    6

    What is all this fuss? Why cannot the president simply sack the chief justice and be done with it? What is the problem? Who are all these people trying to oppose the president? Where are the white vans?

  • 3
    0

    It is to be hoped that the court will rule upholding fairness,impartiality,supremacy of the law above opinions of mere citizens unfamiliar with the legal system, & who are members of the executive,who could not even hold an impartial polite inquiry.

    • 8
      3

      @Justice
      “It is to be hoped that the court will rule upholding fairness, impartiality, supremacy of the law”

      Wonder if the sacked ex CJ ever upheld those principles when she was drunk with power and ruled several controversial verdicts till the time the music stopped for her.

      • 3
        4

        Nari Sabri,
        Please quote the “several controversial verdicts” you refer to.

        • 0
          0

          I am not a lawyer to advice you. But follow the Golden Key cases and her behaviour and actions related to them after becoming the CJ, I am sure, you can find more than “several controversial verdicts” by her.

  • 2
    0

    AG is officially there only to help Court and not to misdirect Court. The present AG is an obedient lap dog of the President. He has been appointed by president to look after the interest of the royal family and not to uphold the rule of law. In a country where streams of justice flow through muddy channels, justice in its real sense cannot be expected. Both Palitha and Mohan are a disgrace to the legal profession.
    Their days are numbered and soon they will be confronted with Natural Justice and they will vanish into think air.

  • 2
    0

    Well the last opportunities to save the independence of the judiciary is gone. How serious is this for the entire country is understood by any educated citizen. No one can forget for a moment that judiciary is our LAST resort to redress against government oppression or violation of rights. There is simply no other place for us to go. Here is perhaps a one of those last opportunities to make a statement that these attacks on the judiciary is wrong and unacceptable.

  • 5
    2

    This woman who has not practised in any court anywhere in the world should never have been appointed as a judge in the Supreme Court. Bandit queen who thought she will be the executive prime minister for ever in Sri Lanka did so with an ulterior motive. So she has no credentials to be independent.

    • 3
      1

      Banda,
      Court experiance is not always necessary to be appointed to high judicial posts.
      Professors well versed in law have ben appointed to the highest posts in the judiciary in developed countries.
      A judge interprets finer points of the law and how a verdict should be arrived at in trials by jury.
      In no other country does a group of politicians judge the alleged guilt of the highest judge of that country.

    • 0
      0

      justice,
      Did not a trial by the Senate was convened as a court to inquire an impeachment motion by one third of the House of Representatives against 23rd Chief Justice of Philippines, Renato Corona? Had not those ‘politicians judges’ began a trial and found Corona guilty of an impeachment filed against him pertaining to his failure to disclose to the public his statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth on December 12, 2011? Do you not know that’s how the chief justice of the Philippine Supreme Court, Renato C. Corona, was removed from office.

  • 0
    0

    Now Sri Lanka has only a ONE MAN LAW.

    • 0
      0

      What was Singapore like under Lee Kwan Yew for decades?

      • 0
        0

        You are correct. And to make SriLanka anothe Singapore, we need a local Lee Kwan Yew.

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