21 August, 2019

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Artistes And Cultural Activists Appeal For An Independent Judiciary

By Colombo Telegraph

“We urge all those who believe in democracy to resist the attempts to destroy the independence of the judiciary. Let us also mobilize ourselves to restore, defend and protect an independent judiciary which is vital for the democratic survival of our country.” says a group of  Artistes and Cultural Activists.

“It is no secret that the integrity of the Chief Justice was compromised by her husband’s political appointment to public office. However, the allegations of morality leveled at the Chief Justice on this issue should apply with equal validity to the President as well, who appointed her husband to positions that are usually reserved for political loyalists as rewards for patronage.” issuing a statement they further say.

We below publish the full text of the statement;

For an Independent Judiciary which can Command People’s Trust

The judiciary in Sri Lanka is facing a grave and unprecedented challenge today.

It is no secret that the integrity of the Chief Justice was compromised by her husband’s political appointment to public office. However, the allegations of morality leveled at the Chief Justice on this issue should apply with equal validity to the President as well, who appointed her husband to positions that are usually reserved for political loyalists as rewards for patronage.

It is obvious that politicisation of the judiciary over the past several years has had an adverse impact on democracy in this country. In such a context, the Executive has been able to use the judiciary to serve its own political agenda. This is part of a dark history that goes back to the predecessors of the present President and the Chief Justice as well.

In our view, the present attempt to impeach the Chief Justice is a repetition of the same unfortunate history of the Executive’s direct interference with the independence of the judiciary, which we have witnessed since the 1970s. We wish to reiterate that any attempt by the Executive to subjugate the judiciary will amount to the erasure of even the limited democratic space that is struggling to survive in our country. Meanwhile, we note with serious concern that no suspect has so far been brought before the law in connection with the attack on the Secretary to the Judicial Service Commission. Furthermore, it is also quite clear that there is a direct connection between this impeachment initiative and some recent determinations of the Supreme Court on some government bills such as Divi Neguma. These are determinations that did not serve the whims of the Executive.

On the other hand, the parliamentary process of impeachment is nothing but a constitutional façade, designed to provide justification for the arbitrary actions of the Executive. In the name of natural justice, this executive action needs to be resisted. Indeed, the outcome of this impeachment process is certain to convey a chilling warning to all other members of the judiciary as well.

The most important message which the present impeachment process conveys to the country is that the judiciary as well as other key public institutions such as the Departments of Attorney General, Auditor General, Public Administration and the Elections Commission should come under constitutionally established and independent commissions. It also highlights the need to divest the political executive from the responsibility of making all appointments to the judiciary, including that of the Chief Justice. Even the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission accepted the principle of de-politicizing the police and the election commissioner’s department as urgent for democracy and good governance in our country. In short, Sri Lanka needs a new constitutionally established mechanism which has the power and authority to act as a check on the arbitrary actions of the Executive in collusion with parliament.

As artists and cultural activists, we are deeply concerned with the future of democracy of our country. We also believe that an independent judiciary is the first as well as the ultimate guardian of democracy.

That is why we view the impeachment initiative as an attempt to rob the judiciary of Sri Lanka of its independence and institutional autonomy.

We, therefore, urge all those who believe in democracy to resist the attempts to destroy the independence of the judiciary. Let us also mobilize ourselves to restore, defend and protect an independent judiciary which is vital for the democratic survival of our country.

1. Dr. Dharmasena Pathiraja

2. Dharmasiri Bandaranayake

3. Parakrama Niriella

4. Dr. Sunil Wijesiriwardne

5. Prasanna Withanage

6. Prof. Sucharitha Gamlath

7. Prof. H.L. Seneviratne

8. Prof. Desmond Mallikarachchi

9. Dr. Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri

10. Dr. Liyanage Amarakeerthi

11. K.B. Herath

12. Dr. Siwamohan Sumathi

13.W. Jayasiri

14. Kusal Pererea

15. Prof. Sarath Wijesooriya

16. Ranjan Ramanayake

17. Piyal Kariyawasam

18. Chandragupta Thenuwara

19. Sunila Abeysekara

20. W.A. Abeysinghe

21. Upul Shantha Sannasgala

22. Kapila Kumara Kalinga

23. M.D. Mahindapala

24. Deepthi Kumara Gunaratne

25. Gamini Wiyangoda

26. Wijayananda Jayaweera

27. Budhdhadasa Galappaththi

28. Jayathilaka Bandara

29. Pradeepan Raveendran

30.Manjula Wediwardene

31. Sudharshana Gunawardne

32. K. W. Janaranjana

33. Lakshman Mendis

34. Gunasiri Silva

35. Athula Pathirana

36. Anoma Rajakaruna

37. Ajith Jinadasa

38. Jayathilaka Kammallaweera

39. Kathleen Jayawardene

40. Chulananda Samaranayake

41. Thumindu Dodamthenna

42. Gihan Chikera

43. Cyril Dharmawardane

44. Ajith Galappaththi

45. Priyanjan Suresh de Silva

46. Mahesh Munasinghe

47. Kumari Kumaragamage

48. Jagath Manuwarna

49. Sampath Jayaweera

50. Saman Liyanage

51. Gamini Wijesinghe

52. Pujitha De Mel

53. Channa Ekanayaka

54. Sita Ranjani

55. Janaka Inimankada

56. Hareendra B. Dasanayaka

57. Indika Udugampola

58. Hiniduma Sunil Senevi

59. Sudesh Manthilaka

60. Sanjeewa Pushpakumara

61. Athula Samarakoon

62. Priyantha Fonseka

63. Mahinda Kumara Dalupotha

64. Sunil De K Gunarathna

65. Sunanda Karunarathna

66. Tenison Perera

67. Karunasiri Wijesiri

68. Sugathapala Senarath Yapa

69. Malkom Machado

70. Chinthaka Ranasinghe

71. Mahinda Prassad Masimbula.

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    Not very long ago the Artists of this country were singing praises to MR and ridiculing RW. I wonder why this change of heart is? What is the view of the MPs who are Artists who are supporting the Impeachment?

    • 0
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      Could it not be because that RW is now with MR on ensuring the supremacy of the Parliament above the Judiciary?

  • 0
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    Mps who are artists were recruited by Rajapakshas to wash their dirty linen, in return for perks and privileges provided to them.

  • 0
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    Some so called artists have given their body and soul long time back and they are being paid back at present. [In and out of parliament] Its give and take for some of the selected clan who thrive under present political clout. But the most of the names in the above list have good standing among the public and they have served the country in a respectful manner during various political regimes. On gamini’s comment: I do not understand why you always drag RW into everything. Although, he seems to be bit honest than many of these rotten politicians in the house, he did lot of blunders in his political career. But, I agree that he did not and will not plunder the national wealth like these morons who rule the country at present. CJ too did mistakes in her/SC rulings which are detrimental to country at large. But, wish and hope to see CJ wins the case as this one is politically motivated and it would create a bad precedent for future of the country.
    MaryamSri

  • 0
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    It is welcome to see that all segments of society are against this unjust motion. As stated the President is eqqually resonsible for luring the CJ into a trap by appointng her husband.

    Same technique is being used to trap politicians, journalist, Artiste by giving laptops, duty free permits, housing loans etc. Then these people are under obligation and remain silent when the Government is involved in corruption and waste of tax payers money.

    Once we understand the crooked mentality of these people we realise that we have been tricked.

  • 0
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    Some of these people may have been singing the praises of MR but they have now realised the dangerous road MR is leading the country on. So, we must welcome their change of heart.Many SLFP-ers are realising this too. We must encourage more to do so.

  • 0
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    It is a welcome gesture coming from a group of Artistes and cultural activities in realizing ,at least now, of true colour of MR to whom they once cynically supported unconditionally. Artists and cultural groups in the past have used their insight,wisdom and intelligence for the cause of the suffering common masses. But today’s commercialism has made their mindset to a technocrat who could easily succumb to commercial dole outs (such as vehicle loans,laptops ) which in fact are ‘bribes’ offered by a bribe-giver seeking favors to him in return. What he wanted is the vote and your support to languish in power in the term or for another term in office to him or his next of kin . It is so simple as that in return !! so, why not grab the opportunity they might
    think. But count the surmounting misery the common man has got in return the erosion of judicial independence is only one aspect of it. They say it “of the people, by the people for the people” !!

    The judicial independence is paramount without which no democratic living is possible and power of autocracy would prevail. Lots of mud slinging directed against CJ is taking place by politicians in parliament and outside.What is important who is more corrupt – politicians or judiciary? Are we to allow corrupt politician to prevail upon. The politicians who have been penalized by courts,criminal or civil, for which they entertain a vengeance on it cannot be a crusader of CJ the highest office of Judiciary in the impeachment proceedings.The state media has started a campaign to telecast speeches made against CJ by some politicians in the past.Can they also telecast speeches made against MR by politicians of both sides , before and after cross- overs at least for amusement . In that are we to believe what they have uttered in public today whist enjoying paybacks from MR or earlier when not enjoying them. Can we act on these politicians on any matter!! It is for the survival of them the dogmas that says there are no permanent friends or enemies for politics.
    Are the people of this country is still willing to believe what these disgruntled ,vultures utter on this issue ?

  • 0
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    nirmal artist?

  • 0
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    You cannot blame the artists.It takes time to find the real charagter of people. People like wolves in sheep’s clothing. Now the real charater is shown the artists have come out Bravo Keep it up

    • 0
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      Ispelling is rong!
      When did Kusal perera become an artist? He is a line paid journalist who works only on Saturdays.

  • 0
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    Only 71 jokers!

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