13 July, 2024

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Do Not Use Your Office To Comment On Matters Pending In Courts: Lawyers For Democracy 

President Ranil Wickremesinghe stated at the Coconut Growers Annual Conference on Friday, 04 August 2023, that the Government would not heed orders or advice from any other party except Parliament with regard to the debt optimisation measures. This statement was followed by the comment that there were attempts to utilise the courts for political agenda by seeking prohibitory orders. The President was obviously directly commenting on several applications made to the Supreme Court by which citizens are challenging the domestic debt restructuring proposal on the basis that it would adversely affect the retirement benefits of millions of people. The President’s commentary that ‘halting this program could have negative consequences, as foreign countries might be less inclined to engage in business with us’ is a serious misuse of power with the aim of intimidating judges of the highest court of the land.

People’s sovereignty, by which the office of the President also derives power, is expressed through Parliament, the Judiciary and the Executive. For one arm of government, which has considerable power in the form of an executive presidency, to make public statements that deny the power of the courts to review any complaint in relation to executive or administrative action is an abuse of power. For the President to also comment on ‘the negative consequences’ of judicial orders to halt a process that is under review by a court is a breach of the rule of sub judice.

Lawyers for Democracy categorically states that the President must refrain from using his high office to comment on matters pending before the courts. Citizens’ rights to seek justice and submit their complaints to a court is constitutionally guaranteed. Any interferences amount to an assault on judicial independence and weaken the trust people have in the judicial system as a whole. Such autocratic conduct, among others, continues to undermine democracy in Sri Lanka.

Lal Wijenayake

Dr Jayampathy Wickramaratne

K. S. Ratnavale

Convenors, Lawyers for Democracy 

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Latest comments

  • 9
    0

    How can RW talk so stupidly? Foreign countries are not run by fools. How can Sri Lankan Parliament be regarded as supreme when the members are mostly uneducated and frauds while supreme courts are engaged with professionals? No logical statements from RW. Best to hold presidential elections asap..

    • 12
      1

      This was not “Stupid” but a well calculated move to send a message to the court. This guy is as crooked as they come. If the first citizen of the county behaves this way what can you expect from others.

      Now you know why law enforcement has gone to the dogs. No insult intended for dogs.

      • 4
        0

        Bert

        “Now you know why law enforcement has gone to the dogs.”

        However Sri Lanka Brief reported
        “Sri Lanka: 29 Buddhist monks in jail; 19 for child abuse. Another 19 are in remand. Hindu & Islam prists 7” .
        08/08/2023
        https://srilankabrief.org/sri-lanka-29-buddhist-monks-in-jail-19-for-child-abuse-another-19-are-in-custody-7-hindu-islamprists-too/

        How come the Justice department has thrown these men of the cloth in prison? Where did the functionaries find their b***s or go wrong?
        Maybe these are people who don’t enjoy political patronage.

        I wonder if nimal fernando know about these facts and figures.
        If he genuinely believes these numbers are a fraction of actual crimes committed by men of the cloth, then he would of course tie his amude, pull his socks, …..

        • 2
          0

          “How come the Justice department has thrown these men of the cloth in prison?”
          Its more to do with the individuals than the justice dept. Pedophiles and Rapists do not like been in the public eye, so gives little opportunity to do politics. Only men of the cloth that do politics have the protection of the politicians.

    • 2
      1

      Death optimisation measures is very curious and it is better to obtain proper advice from experts!

      • 1
        0

        It was debt not death, regret for the error!

    • 3
      2

      “Foreign countries are not run by fools.”
      What makes you so sure?

      • 0
        1

        America is not letting its previous Langkang Ambassador Julia go home, but didn’t UK return you promptly and no other countries have offered any thing for you. Same time America it is keeping Hitler King out of America because it knows all Tom, Dick, Harry, Jill, Cyril all will file a case in American courts against Hitler, for each day of the years Hitler lived in Langkang.

    • 2
      0

      Ad,
      “How can Sri Lankan Parliament be regarded as supreme when the members are mostly uneducated and frauds while supreme courts are engaged with professionals?”
      I am not taking sides, but have you never heard of legal professionals such as Sarath Silva, Mohan Pieris, or even Sarath de Abrew. Or the very “professional” DIGs Vass Gunawardena and Deshabandu?

  • 7
    2

    I don’t need to read the article. The Title tells it all.
    Your, ‘Best to hold presidential elections asap’, sounds as if though you know someone who can take us out of our misery.
    Who do you have in mind?

    • 1
      1

      Nathan
      Good question.

    • 2
      0

      Mathan

      A few days ago you wrote elsewhere
      “Ficus religiosa – locally, Banyan tree -, grows from its seeds as well. The seeds get scattered, far and wide, when the birds that feed on them excrete.”

      PBS reported:
      Maui wildfire burns 150-year-old banyan tree, threatening survival
      Nation Aug 11, 2023 10:20 AM E
      https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/maui-wildfire-burns-150-year-old-banyan-tree-threatening-survival

      Our Saffronistas are unaware of this grave incidents which took place recently in Hawaii. Perhaps the Americans are bent on destroying all global evidences “small or large” of Sinhala/Buddhist faith, culture, heritage, wisdom, symbols, ….. everywhere.

      I wonder whether the Chief Saffronistas know about American conspiracy?

      • 1
        1

        Native,
        The Banyan tree is Ficus Bengalensis, not Ficus Religiosa.
        I suppose the evil Americans mistook it for a bo tree.

  • 9
    1

    Had the Courts given an adverse verdict on the EPF/ETF cases would President RW resort to other means to intimidate Judges?

    After all his Uncle JRJ RESORTED TO STONING THE RESIDENCES OF THE SC JUDGES after judgement in the Vivienne Gunawardena case on the violation of her Fundamental Rights several years ago……..

    • 3
      0

      “After all his Uncle JRJ RESORTED TO STONING THE RESIDENCES OF THE SC JUDGES”

      ROFL …… couldn’t stop ………

  • 6
    1

    I think we have got hold of the wrong end of the stick.

    The wrong lies with Law Enforcement which includes the Judiciary. If Law Enforcement (Police, AG & Judiciary) is well fortified with people of integrity, self-discipline, and moral character, why do they have to heed and be subjected to whatever outside influences (threats, intimidations, abuse, etc)? They have the spoon, and it is their bonding duty to dish out the law squarely and on equal terms to all as the laws provide with responsibility and accountability.

    Haven’t we had such “Illustrious” personnel in Law Enforcement? We had and have even today. Unfortunately such “Illustrious” and “Exemplary” personnel are FEW in numbers. That is our problem – “Naduth Hamudruwange, Baduth Hamuduruwange” public opinion.

    • 3
      0

      Douglas,
      Fully agree with you!
      We need to have people who would take strong decisions, such as the famous ‘Gedera Yana Gaman’, types, who dispensed Intuition and Justice took a back seat!!! The culmination in my substantial and definite decline in in dispensation of Justice and Jurisprudence!!!???
      If not for him and his forethought, we would have had a ‘Country Flowing with Honey and Milk in Abundance!!??? The one and only good thing was that Terrorism was eliminated, perhaps with Unlimited HR violations!!!??? Missed out due robbery and looting public and Public Coffers with their 20% ‘FEE of ACCOMMODATION’ or TOLERANCE to exist as citizens of their own country!!!????
      DISADVAGES OVERWEIGHED all CUMULATIVE advantages!!!???
      Therefore, the blame game goes on and the uneducated and uninitiated continue to vote thinking that these imbeciles are the only salvation available for “REDEMPTION”!!!???
      Sadly, SAFFRONS of all SHADES & HUES are AIDING & ABETTING!!!

      • 3
        0

        Mahila: Thank you. The latest “Order” given by the Speaker of the Parliament, is that no decision by the Legislature should be challenged in the Judiciary. This was in compliance with the President’s view that ” I am only guided by the dictates of the Parliament”.

        AKD of NPP raised this in Parliament and many of the Opposition joined him to protest this “Order” of the Speaker and requested that it be withdrawn. This “Order” was intended to cripple all the court cases filed against the “Local Debt Restructuring” program under the IMF agreement. Already we see two cases pertaining to “EPF & ETF” have been thrown away. Many to follow.

        This man Ranil W is dismantling the very basics of Democracy and on his way to being a “Dictator” while wearing the “Cloak” of Democracy. It is the “Aristricracy” of Democracy.

  • 4
    0

    In commenting, I will go entirely by what is stated here in this article. Alas! There is no direct reference to courts or judicial review to directly accuse the Axcellency of belittling the judiciary but that is the impression any ordinary bloke would get. The whole thing stems from the agreements reached with the IMF (World Bank). Only a limited number of fellows get involved with the discussions culminating into an agreement. The humans in the Sri Lankan delegation have only one target, namely, to formulate the Sri Lankan position so that it looks agreeable to the IMF to get the loans hook or by crook. The wider implications are never investigated. Everything in Sri Lanka is very urgent and therefore haphazardly done. Whether court orders are defied or not, the very fact that an order is given against any part of the accord reached would only make a sensible World Bank to turn around and say “Why the hell did you agree to a plan which is illegal in your own country? You just came up with some crap to please us and thereby deceive us”. If they also say no more further disbursements, then???

  • 3
    1

    This is the behaviour of the first citizen of the country.

    A few days back we heard it read out in parliament of the state of the first religion of the country.

    “Significantly high number of imprisoned Buddhist monks”

    Lanka is going to hell in a handbasket.

  • 7
    1

    Three lawyers (Lal Wijenayake, Dr Jayampathy Wickramaratne and K. S. Ratnavale) take responsibility for what is stated here; to wit: the “unelected-by-the-people” Ranil Wickremasinghe (RW) is in the process of setting up a Dictatorship. That is the truth, and thank you for saying it.
    .
    RW has been legally manipulated (with himself resourcefully playing a lead role in doing so) in to the position of Executive President. However, in the eyes of the world, in the view of most citizens of this country, and in my own opinion (for all that it is worth), he lacks legitimacy. It’s a bit difficult to prove and RW and his small but vociferous on Colombo Telegraph supporters keep challenging what I see as the truth.
    .
    There’s little that we who hold that view can do to “prove” our case except to ask intelligent readers to work out the truth for themselves. RW and his “government” are tying to make out that they can now do anything they please. We disagree with this.
    .
    Has this been said elsewhere as well? Yes, and quite forcefully in Parliament:
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duhNDlxYkL0:
    .
    Seventeen minutes; all in Sinhala.

    • 5
      1

      Continuing:
      .
      “all in Sinhala”.
      I know that many CT readers will not be able to fully comprehend, but there doesn’t seem to be a way out. We have, for all practical purposes, three languages in this country, and most of us don’t understand all three..
      .
      Sometimes (only very occasionally, it is true) I find that a link takes me to something in Tamil. I can’t understand it; never mind!
      .
      However, I do realise that too often, it is those classified as “Tamils” who are left guessing what all that talk signifies.
      .
      Anyway, in those seventeen minutes, first AKD, then Dayasiri Jayasekera, and finally Sajith Premadasa tell the Speaker, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, what they think of his actions.
      .
      Unfortunately, it looks as though it’s all water on a duck’s back:
      .
      https://english.newsfirst.lk/2023/8/11/sri-lanka-ddo-speaker-says-won-t-reverse-decision
      .
      Solution: Lasantha Pethiyagoda has been saying it tirelessly: a second Aragalaya which will overthrow this regime by force seems inevitable. I’m glad to see nimal fernando now regularly joining in:
      .
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/bleeding-hearts-brave-hearts/
      .
      See what they say there. My preferred option: Elections, of whatever sort for a start.
      .
      Ultimately, we need a new government that better represents the will of all the citizens, but so organised that minority views also are heeded.
      .
      The conducting of elections is fundamental to solving all problems; of course they will not suffice. Much hard work ahead for all.

      • 1
        1

        Sinhala_Man,
        This remark is prompted by your constant assertion that the President lacks legitimacy.
        May I know the infraction?

        • 2
          1

          I am with you that his appointment is crooked.

      • 1
        0

        SM,
        By your logic, why not make the CJ the Finance minister too?
        And, by the same logic you use on the President, can we trust a Supreme Court that isn’t elected?

  • 5
    0

    I do not think Ranil Rajapakser has any feeling for the long-suffering people in Sri Lanka. On the contrary, he is only good at playing politics as a kind of hobby. Outside that, there are only threats to whoever might be serious in agitating for the rights of poor people, like Lal Wijenaike or Jayampathy Wickremaratne, both nice people from Kandy. In addition to protecting his cronies and election campaign donors (who are treated to poor people’s money via tax concessions like the sugar tax drop scam) he overtly perverts the course of justice by influencing the judiciary, which is beholden to their employer, bribing the police with perquisites to keep them onside and openly joking about elections or lack of them. To him, everything about governance is a big game, in which he plans to revel in, as long as he lives. He does not care about the thousands dying every week, of starvation, lack of basic health or medications, malnutrition and desperation through becoming unemployed in the informal sector. It is therefore very important that the people unite under one umbrella and take on these evil, parasitic class of political and corporate scumbags, not to mention the yellow robed sycophants who feed off the people’s fears. Under UN conventions, the people have a fundamental right to free themselves of an oppressive state, regardless of the means adopted.

  • 2
    0

    Do Not Use Your Office To Comment On Matters Pending In Courts: Lawyers For Democracy

    And all believe that an independent judiciary is the crown jewel of our constitutional republic.
    How the president is president without people power but with parliament power as the bench justifies his president and what is saying is in this power the President is Exposing his ideas to the danger of controversy. Keep the election then comment

  • 1
    0

    For years now Judiciary has been selling its soul to the Politicians and this is the final result. If only the Judiciary and Police act honestly and according to the laws of the land taking independent decisions the financial crisis and racial crisis we see in Sri Lanka would have not happened.

    Even today it appears that a person to be a judge requires only three qualifications. 1) Ability to keep postponing or withdrawing from cases at the last minute 2) Ability to give the decision “nidos kot nidahas”. 3) Ability to give decisions as per the requirements of the politicians.

    Its time we citizens demand that foreign judges should be allowed to sit in the bench.

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