Colombo Telegraph

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.

Back to Home page