11 December, 2017

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BASL Vs Ranjan Ramanayake: Don’t Legitimate Failed System, Support Speedy Reforms – AHRC

Instead of being apologists for a failed system of justice, it is better to take initiatives for speedy reforms

Perhaps for the first time in the contemporary history of Sri Lanka, an important debate is now taking place on the need for judicial reforms. This debate has come about as a result of a statement made by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka with regard to a public statement made by Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake MP, relating to corruption of some judges and lawyers.

Ranjan Ramanayake

Judicial reform covers a long range of issues such as corruption, extraordinary delays in adjudication, questions relating to the professional integrity of lawyers, threats to judicial independence and a long range of issues relating to failures in law enforcement and the rule of law.

At the centre of all these problems are some of the constitutional reforms that took place by way of the 1972 and 1978 Constitutions, which undermined the judiciary and favoured the undermining of the fundamental notion of the balance of power and favoured greater powers given to the executive. Clearly the executive wanted to diminish the influence of the judiciary and relegate its   role to a lesser position than what was envisaged under the Soulburry Constitution of 1948. The imbalance created has over a period of few decades spread into all the branches of the administration of justice. As a result, there is a substantial transformation of all the basic institutions of justice for the worse. These transformations have been well documented. Such documentation provides an important reference points on the areas which require urgent reforms. The Asian Human Rights Commission has in the past decades consistently pointed out to many of these serious defects. Here, we wish to reiterate some of the basic issues, with the view that in the course of the present debate, greater attention would be paid to these issues.

The entire process of criminal justice had been seriously undermined. The system of policing – which is the premier crime investigation institution in the country – is clearly unable to cope up with its primary obligations and public complaints about this institution have been seriously on the rise. The criminal investigation process which is envisaged in the Criminal Procedure Code is being often neglected to an extent that a tendency has developed among the public to distrust the possibility of the pursuit of justice even for very serious crimes. One of the causes for the increase of corruption is this distrust. People look for alternative methods for solving disputes rather than relying on the legal process.

The problems arising from the policing crisis has impacted both the system of prosecutions and the judicial process itself. When investigations are flawed, there is hardly anything that the prosecutors and the judiciary could do to ensure justice for the victims of crime. It is therefore, essential to improve the supervisory role over criminal investigations both by the prosecutors (Attorney General’s Department) and the judiciary itself. Some legal reforms, keeping in line with the law and practice relating to criminal investigations, in more developed jurisdictions may point to the direction in which such supervisory roles should be enhanced in Sri Lanka. Improvement of accountability for investigation into crimes, by the higher authorities of the police and proper exercise of their command responsibility are some of the essential requirements of such improvements.

At the heart of the problem is the stark deterioration of disciplinary processes in all the branches of administration of justice. Absence of a regulatory process where public complaints against the failures of the system is authentically, competently and speedily investigated is one of the major causes of the failures in the justice system. There needs to be improvements in the Judicial Services Commission, including expansion of the membership of the Commission, the introduction of avenues for making complaints relating to the failures of the Attorney General’s Department, and the speedy introduction of a regulatory framework over the legal profession as a whole, must be urgently attended to, if any credible change is to take place.

There is no justifiable reason at all for the failure of non-implementation of disciplinary processes, within these important institutions. The only way to assert that no one is above the law is to ensure that the required discipline is enforced within every branch of the administration of justice.

It is simply childish to engage in a debate as to whether corruption is prevalent within these institutional frameworks. Public anger against such corruption and inefficiency is overwhelming. The energies are better spent on finding ways to improve the system’s performance.

The legal community as a whole and the Bar Association of Sri Lanka in particular would do better if they direct the present debate towards finding best ways to improve the system as speedily as possible. No one benefits from being an apologist for a failed system. What is required is to use all the intelligence and energy available for speedy change which will benefit everyone except those who wish to remain corrupt. (Statement issued by the Asian Human Rights Commission)

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Latest comments

  • 2
    16

    BASL Vs Ramanayaka……WOW…. Ramanayaka must have at least a Masters in White Collar Crime…. Otherwise the Sorborne Graduate Yahapalana Ayotolla aka Whiskey Madam would not have picked him for Dr Ranil’s Cabinet…….

    • 5
      2

      KASmaalam K A Sumanasekera

      “Otherwise the Sorborne Graduate Yahapalana Ayotolla aka Whiskey Madam would not have picked him for Dr Ranil’s Cabinet…….”

      The approximate equivalent of a female Ayatollah is known as Lady Mujtahideh

    • 6
      0

      Sumane
      When the Yellow Robed Ayatollahs are ready to protect the War Criminals , State Looters , State sponsored Drug Dealers and State Managed Murderers why should we be afraid ??

      What a shame how they jump out of their slumber to Speak or Support WarCriminals and all the wrong Doers!!
      They’re speaking in the name of Lord Buddha ! Are they not??
      This country with these yellow Robes with their Threats to all LAW ABIDING CITIZENS TO PROTECT THE CRIMINALS , THERES NO FUTURE FOR THIS COUNTRY , THERES NO FUTURE FOR YAHAPALANAYA AND SUPPORTERS.

      THESE ARE THE PARASITES IN YELLOW ROBES WE HAVE INHERITED. They will continue with the rot until this country disappear from the Earth.
      They are bad news for this small island which enjoyed the Multiculturism until these Parasites took hold of this country.

  • 15
    3

    The justice system, like any system designed by human beings
    clearly has its flaws!

  • 13
    2

    K A Sumane,

    Who needs your 2 cents worth thuppaki comments.
    For once you have forgotten Batalanda
    Rest in peace Sumane

  • 18
    0

    why cant judges decide on high profile cases on a day by day basis and finish them off instead of giving long dates
    why cant the justice minister give them a time frame to finish their cases as prabakaran gave the judges in his territory
    justice delayed is justice denied because lawyers like arabs live on dates.
    we are not a middle east country

  • 23
    0

    Ranjan was correct. Can quote so many instances where flawed judgements have been given. Didn’t Sarath N Silva apologise to the nation ?

    • 3
      0

      Yes, Ruwani,

      That is one bit of self-damnation that can never be made to go away!

      Was it unique in World History?

  • 16
    0

    good on you ranja,for taking on a third world corrupt system.Let them file action and you can bring out one by one details substantiating your allegations,then they will realise that they have shot themselves in the foot.

  • 0
    17

    This man Gonja has never uttered a word about Bond scam and he is enjoying the luxuries of corrupt palanaya while accusing Hon Judges and lawyers of their credibility.

    • 0
      0

      He just can’t speak about the bond scam because he will be thrown out of UNP. At least he had opened a can of worms.

  • 14
    0

    The most corrupt entity within Sri Lanka’s system of administration of justice is the Bar Association itself.

  • 2
    0

    The justice system, like any system designed by human beings
    clearly has its flaws!
    AHRC riding Ranjan.R in a crusade ………….Ca………… Action ?

  • 3
    1

    I read that SAC is going to prosecute Nagananda Kodithuwakku. That looks like bullying, high ahdned ness when the corrupt nature was shown. It is not political influence. Look the justice system itself is corrupt in order to support it. I show in one place, Ranil wickramsinghe is talking to the chief justice. That looks the judge being obliged to the politician.

  • 1
    1

    He is focusing in one of the dirtiest defects in our system which is our justice system where cases drag on for decades and They are a heartless lot.It’s time we confront them and we must applaud like of Ranjan.
    We have so many self inflicted flaws in the country’s system and perhaps Amal could shout about Bond Scam.

  • 2
    0

    The main component of the “rule of law and order” is the unbiased prosecution system. Unfortunately this is being eroded in every country. Just across the Strait the police, prosecution counsels, courts bureaucrats are corrupt and quite openly. In spite of a relatively independent judiciary, the rot remains. Politicians use this weakness and so seem to encourage this.
    SL is no different BUT the silver lining is the recent uprising (if I may use this term) of Lankans to change. In SL, in order to get the loyalty of the police and army, allowed them to enter grocery, hospitality industry etc. A senior police officer even started a contract killing business. The army went for the white-vanning business. Known corrupt MPs were involved in the impeachment of a chief justice.
    Things are changing – no doubt because of anti-corruption campaigns initiated by local groups. The road to corruption-free SL is rather bumpy. Tireless and tenacious effort is now surfacing and success is visible.

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 2
    0

    Question is who is the professional. Ranjan or the BASL. Basically BASL is faulted. Everyone know that RW, MS and all the cronies in the Diyawanna are robbing. We have Pujitha with a short hammer, Forces with a weak hammer, Judiciary with a blunt hammer and BASL with a potta hammer. How can we blame the public. They have hammers without steel. All die and go to heaven. Gods will find that all their hammers were made in SL. Only Lord Buddha will appreciate them.

  • 4
    0

    Yes, K. Pillai,

    As you say, ” The road to corruption-free SL is rather bumpy,” but we must stay the course. We must ensure that prosecution of criminals becomes routine so that the average man doesn’t have to get in to litigation at his own expense for justice to be done. When that happens, only the rich get justice.

    *

    The Prosecution and the Judiciary must ensure justice for all, so that the underdog is protected. The view that most citizens have of our Courts is that it is merely an arm of the government.

  • 4
    0

    Srilanka is DOOMED JUST FOR THE REASON THE HEIRACHI CLOWNS FROM THE AYATOLLAS TO JUDICIARY TO Parliament Mafias who with one single Mandate!! Protect the CRIMINALS!!
    Protect the criminals in the name of Buddhism!! That’s the worst can happen in a country which is striving to move forward.
    There’s no way out for this CURSED COUNTRY.
    DOOM IS THE WORD FOR THIS COUNTRY.
    No point to in any arguments.

  • 2
    1

    BASL is a powerful arm of the Srilankan Criminal Mafia.

  • 4
    0

    I am a victim where by the orders of the four primary courts in my favour is undermined by a unaccountable police for the last 3 years, an IGP who believes in not answering complaints or gets his culprits to investigate them selves , Judiciary services committee that does not even acknowledge public complaints that has brought the law and order to a stand still. As for the lawyers they are so corrupt that it is virtually impossible to get decent opinion. all opinions are geared for them to earn money. BASL sits on complaints against lawyers for months on end until the complainant forgets it. Ramanayake is spot on The whole system stinks. BASL has nothing to complaint 90% of all sri Lankans agree with Ramanayake. It is time all prfessionals are controlled including the Medical profession.

  • 1
    0

    Why not Rajan W. forms a new party, coalition with the likes of JVP and clean our country from the top to bottom.
    People being stupid and even corrupt may not get the vote and that’s our folly.Majority seems to accept the low standards and it would be difficult for the taxpaying minority get justice.We are definitely on the way to become a failed state,unless we all wake up and demand high standards,starting from ones self..

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