21 October, 2020

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Chief Justice Says Some Lawyers Too Old

By Elmore Perera

Elmore Perera

Elmore Perera

Under the above caption the ‘Sunday Leader’ of 17.11.2013 reports that the CJ says “most Lawyers above 70 years old are not up to date with the current laws and regulations” and “lose cases making an unfavourable impact on their clients”.

Still laughing, I telephoned my friend Stanley Jayasinghe to give him the good news that he will not, in future be required to distrust me. He had never been able to come to terms with my advise to him (when I was about 70 years of age) that “Even I should not be trusted when I am in my black coat.”

Within 24 hours I became aware of the fact that the ‘Ceylon Today’ of 16.11.2013 had carried an article under the caption “Presidential Poll plan runs into a Storm”. It was reported therein that former CJ Sarath N. Silva (who is well nigh 70 years of age) when contacted had, inter alia, said that :

(i)       the 18th Amendment does not specifically mention about holding a Presidential Election after 4 years were completed in a second term,

(ii)     the 18th Amendment does not state the President can contest for the third time before completing his second term,

(iii)   one might argue that if the President can contest for the presidency after four years of his second tenure, it has to be the same with the third tenure too,

(iv)   however, if the Constitution has not specifically stated that, the law does not accept it, and

(v)     the government appears to be stuck there, but they can go to the Supreme Court and seek an interpretation.

The fact of the matter is that in September 2010, the 18th Amendment amended para (3A)(a)(i) of Article 31 of the 1978 Constitution to read as follows:

“Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the proceeding provisions of this Chapter, the President may, at any time after the expiration of four years from the commencement of his current term of office, by proclamation declare his intention of appealing to the people for a mandate to hold office, by election, for a further term: provided that where the President is elected in terms of this Article  for a further term of office, the provisions of its Article shall mutatis mutandis apply in respect of any subsequent term of office to which he may be so elected”.

Sarath N. Silva has obviously not been “up to date” with this significant change in the Supreme Law effected within 16 months of his relinquishing the position of Chief Justice. This seems to justify the view expressed in the Bar Association that the termination should be at the age of 65.

Having stated categorically what in his view the Constitution does not state, Sarath N. Silva goes on to say that in such circumstances the law does not accept it and opines that the government can go to the Supreme Court and seek an interpretation.

There is not a shade of doubt that if the government acts on this seriously erroneous advice and seeks an opinion of the Supreme Court, the present CJ will meekly oblige by furnishing  the interpretation sought by the government?

Ironically, in this instance, acting on this patently faulty advice will have a most favourable impact on this client. This will not be the first time that, purportedly acting on advice tendered by “Legal Luminaries”, this government has circumvented unambiguous constitutional provisions.

*Elmore Perera, Attorney-at-Law – Founder CIMOGG, Past President OPA 

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Latest comments

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    When the Constitutional provision is so unambiguous, what is the NEED to seek a clarification? It will be interesting to watch the developments on this.

    Sengodan. M

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    Yippee!

    Why stop at lawyers? Get all professionals to retire at 65:

    Doctors, Surgeons, Judges, Accountants, Architects, et al

    I nearly said politicians…..but stopped, just in time when I realised that they are NOT and never will be professional.

    Carry on Mahinda.

    PS: message to young people – looks like emigration seems the best option.

  • 0
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    Who are the brainless idiots who draft this type of ambiguous legislation? Yet they continue to hold positions in the Govt and are advisers to the president.

    Why doesnt the smart alec cheap justice point out the discrepancy in 18A and have it annulled?

  • 0
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    The current CJ practices a law unto himself.

  • 0
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    Beware of white vans

  • 0
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    Can Sarath Silva give correct and impartial advice

  • 0
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    I think some lawyers as well s some MPs are too too old.

    they want to practice and earn until they drop dead on the floor by natural causes.

    • 0
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      If your leader has a vision, he could amend all these – not the other wayaround. That alone shows how donkeylike the leader has been.

  • 0
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    All LAWYERS are PROFESSIONAL LIARS …goes an old saying..
    Tell me, IF a LAWYER knows of his client being INVOLVED in a murder, would he not try to save the Murderer?

    ethics? where?… i’s Money talks…bullshit walks…

  • 0
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    check the fingers of aging lawyers… they are NOT straight and its coz of how Karma treats them for earning money without ethics… Their fingers cant even be bent to grab the money…

  • 0
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    Sarath N. Silva was obviously not “up-to-date” when he, as CJ, delivered that notorious judgement acquitting MR of misappropriation of Tsunami funds in the guise of Helping Hambantota (should have been “Helping the Humbug”).

  • 0
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    Sri Lanka is a riduculous country. So dont expect the Chief Justice only to maintain standards. We have heard about Mr Elmore Perera’s conduct when he was a Tennis club official, Survey Department , as a lawyer and later at Organization of Professionals. Did he raise standards in these places? I dont think so. Forget Elmore who is just shooting his mouth off while being hypocritical. I will give another example of how ridiculous Sri lankan Standards. There is another lawyer who was banned for life by an international sporting organization for corrupt practices. But immediately one local newspaper while speaking about raising standards of business in the country gave him a weekly column ! Just read that column to understand what a juvenile mentality this lawyer has ! If such a man can run a big business it shows everything in this country runs only on basis of bribery and corruption. His writing does not show either maturity, skill or wisdom.Such is the standards endorsed by our fourth estate !

  • 0
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    What to do Mr. Elmore Perera, when the fossilized lawyers say that drafting constitution and its amendments and legislation and their amendments and also interpretation of provisions should be done only by lawyers. Under such circumstances it is natural for Prez MR to seek advice from Lawyers who can give favourable opinion and interpretation from a non-controversial bench. Irrespective of age, Opinion (Interpretation?) of former CJ is as good as the opinion (interpretation?) of current CJ as long as the ultimate objective of seeking an interpretation (or collective opinion?) from SC can be interpreted as not inconsistent with the Constitution.

    As regards the CJ’s comment on lawyers who are over three score plus ten, a non-lawyer like me can reasonably conclude that “As they say Law is an ass and lawyers take clients for rides on asses by twisting the ears an tails of asses and the CJ wants lawyers above three score plus ten to learn to take their clients for rides by on young asses, not only by twisting their ears and tails but also by touching the sensitive organs.”

  • 0
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    sorry dude it happens to all of us .

  • 0
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    Dear Elmore,

    You are now singing the praises of Sarth Silva. Few years ago you were singing a different song when he barred you from practising as a lawyer. What made you change your tune?

    I am not a lawyer to weigh the pros and cons of retiring lawyers suffering from senile decay. I avoid lawyers like the plague, for making a mockery of our judicial system by postponing cases to milk the innocent litigants. If CJ can expedite our judicial processes and thereby reduce the delays and the cost of litigation, I will hail him as the CJ who stopped the rot.

  • 0
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    There are at least a couple of law makers including the current prime minister, who are above 70 years of age. If lawyers above 70 are not capable of representing their clients, how can these law makers be capable of taking decisions that are valid for the whole country?

    • 0
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      Lionel,

      It is not a couple (2). Many. Starting from Speaker, PM all Senior Ministers ….
      Above 70, if not suitable to practise law, Politics,
      let them disfranchise the old farts above 70.

  • 0
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    What about politicians?

    • 0
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      WHY SHOULD POLITICIANS RETIRE? WE VOTERS SHOULD KICK THE BUGGERS OUT

      THE MOMENT THE BASTARD LOSES AT THE NEXT ELECTION HE GETS A PENSION!!!

      OTHERS SLOG AN ENTIRE LIFE AND GET A MEASLY AMOUNT, AND THEY HAVE TO SERVE FOR 30 YEARS UNLESS MEDICALLY CONDEMNED.

  • 0
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    You guys are too old.. What do you know about life, we need 25 year old being judges they know all the laws, you can hardly remember your name you old farts.

    These young buck will make sure there is justice in this land, these old farts should be shot for their bullshit knowledge about blah, blah, blah, that’s all I take in from these old farts..

    They are costing way too much for our generation. I say lets have a culling, maybe we can send them to their ‘next life’. These old fools think there is more to life than money, bitches and fucking.. What fucking fools! Fuck these morons..

    • 0
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      Eazeee NaMal eazeee boy!

      Once daddy is finished, you will get your turn.

      You have all the makings of a sri lankan Caligula.

      All old firkers will be retired and sent to a nice settlement in Bintenne (nakiyang t’ gamak)

      Malaka will be education minister, Dumhinda for foreign minister, Rajpal can be medjia minister, Ramith Rambuckwella in charge of aviation, Sampath ChandraPushpa – minister of tourism…..

      Our island paradise will be the true young miracle of asia.

  • 0
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    I dream of the day when politics in Sri Lanka will be privatised!

  • 0
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    I hate lawyers of any age. I just hope that they will end in hell, and the keeper of the hell keeps postponing the date of their exit, for ever and ever!

  • 0
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    We need to stay strong if we want to win. We must make sure these terrorists never come up again. We can now walk on the street or bus without any worry, think of how good life is you fools?

    Look Just because I am the best rugby player in Lanka and the best person person to move this country forward, don’t say such bad worlds about me. My daddy and uncles are looking after the best interest of this country.. We will succeed, and we will prosper!! Hail Rajapaka!! Hail!! Hail!!

    I will be next making sure we Sri Lankans stride forward, one step at a time.. Jayawewa! Hip hip fucking hooray[Edited out].

  • 0
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    ALL Lawyers say Chief Justice is too STUPID !

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