26 October, 2021

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Four Years Prison Term For Contempt Of Court Violates The International Covenant On Civil And Political Rights

By Basil Fernando – 

Basil Fernando

On 12 January 2021, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka found S. V. R. P. P. A. R. L. S. Alphonsu, known also as Ranjan Ramanayake, as guilty of having committed the offence of contempt of court and sentenced him to four years of rigorous imprisonment. The accused is presently a Member of Parliament, formerly a deputy minister, and is also a well-known actor. 

The reason for the charge and the conviction was an interview that was broadcast in 2017 with some words to the effect that the “‘Majority in Sri Lanka are corrupted judges, corrupted lawyers. They work for money’”. 

At this stage, we do not wish to go into the merits of the judgement. However, on the basis of the norms and standards established by the ICCPR and its Optional Protocol, the sentence of 4 years imprisonment for contempt of the court is a gross violation of the established legal rules based in the common law tradition and under international law. 

On 31st March 2005, the United Nations Human Rights Committee expressed its view on communication made to it by a Sri Lankan citizen Anthony Michael Emmanuel Fernando (Tony Fernando) (Anthony Fernando v. Sri Lanka, Communication No. 1189/2003, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/83/D/1189/2003 (2005)) who was found guilty for contempt of court and was sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for 1 year. After the matter was inquired into by the UN Human Rights Committee, it was held that whatever be the merits of the case, the sentence of one year for contempt of court is a violation of the ICCPR and of the Optional Protocol, to which Sri Lanka is a signatory. 

The UN Human Rights Committee said in its verdict the following: 

“The penalty imposed was a one year term of “Rigorous Imprisonment”. No reasoned explanation has been provided by the court or the State party as to why such a severe and summary penalty was warranted, in the exercise of a court’s power to maintain orderly proceedings. Article 9, paragraph 1, of the Covenant forbids any “arbitrary” deprivation of liberty. The imposition of a draconian penalty without adequate explanation and without independent procedural safeguards falls within that prohibition. The fact that an act constituting a violation of article 9, paragraph 1 is committed by the judicial branch of government cannot prevent the engagement of the responsibility of the State party as a whole. The Committee concludes that the author’s detention was arbitrary, in violation of article 9, paragraph 1.”

The Committee went on to hold that in terms of Article 5, Paragraph 4 of the optional protocol to the ICCPR that the “State party has violated articles 9, paragraph 1, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.” 

Thus, the UN Human Rights Committee expressed the view

1. The judicial branch has violated the ICCPR Article 9, Paragraph 1 and arbitrarily deprived the liberty of an individual. 

2. That besides the judicial branch the state party Sri Lanka is responsible for this violation. 

In July 2008, UN human Rights Committee expressed its view on another application which was filed by Dissanayake Mudiyanselage Sumanaweera Banda (S.B. Dissanayake) (Communication No. 1373/2005) who complained that by imposition of two years rigorous imprisonment for contempt of court by the Sri Lankan Supreme Court, his rights guaranteed under the ICCPR have been violated by Sri Lanka as a state party. The UN Human Rights Committee found that the author’s detention was arbitrary and in violation of Article 9, Paragraph 1. 

In both of these cases, the UN Human Rights Committee expressed its official view that disproportionate punishment for contempt of court amounts to arbitrary detention for which the court and the state party are both responsible. 

In both Fernando and Dissanayake’s cases, the UNHRC also stated that where any disproportionate punishment is ordered the court is under obligation to give the reasons as to why such excessive punishment was thought necessary. In the case of Ranjan Ramanayake the Supreme Court has not provided the reasons for why it thought that such a long sentence was thought of as necessary. 

The most recent case on contempt of court in India was against a prominent advocate Prashant Bhushan, who made a public statement that criticised sitting Chief Justice of India in a tweet, and criticised 4 other Chief Justices in another. Though the court punished him for contempt, it was mere token fine of Rs 1. The Supreme Court had also revived in this case an earlier interview of Mr. Bhushan in 2009 in which he accused 8 out of the then 16 former Chief Justices of being corrupt. 

Another well-known case is the contempt of court charge against Arundhati Roy, a prominent international writer and an Indian citizen, after which she was sentenced for 1 day.

The case and the sentence against Ranjan Ramanayake poses many questions regarding the law relating to contempt of court in Sri Lanka. Over a long period of time, there have been various expressions of dissatisfaction about not having a statute relating to the contempt of court in Sri Lanka. At one stage, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka even provided a draft for such a law, but it was gradually pushed under the carpet.

Thus, per the extremely serious criticism made by the UN Human Rights Committee itself, Sri Lanka’s practice in contempt of court cases, particularly on the imposition of long sentences, amounts to arbitrary detention, which is a violation of the ICCPR as well as the Sri Lankan constitution itself. This deserves to be taken up for serious debate by the Sri Lankan and international public. 

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Latest comments

  • 86
    1

    It is beyond the imagination of a rational mind to figure out the rationality of three learned gentlemen to pass such a harsh sentence to an MP who has spoken out the truth against an oppressive system in the interest of his constituency. It is a sad irony and a paradox that murderers, rapists, extortionists etc., can escape the Net depending on how close their political connections are. When political expediency takes priority over legitimacy it sets out a very dangerous precedence.

    • 49
      2

      Dear Friends,
      .
      Please watch the video below
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtZozpIFFQ8

      Srilankens judges are so clean. The best exmpale is SARATH N SILVA
      .
      Srialnken politicians are the most clean politicians – best exmaples are from Medamulana FAMILY
      .
      Srilanken politicians are not murderers – best examples are from Medamualan Family
      :
      We should all WORSHIP DA RAJAAKSHES to have been such a great FATHER.
      :
      His monuments were built by STATE FUNDS, but it was later paid off – and the crime investgaitons was stopped to the very same manner they worked on Pillayan s case. All is possible within our PREDOMINANTELY BUDDHAGAMA FOLLOWERS srilanka:

    • 54
      3

      These judges do not deserved to be addressed as such, they are members street thug gang of war criminal and robber Nandasena alias Gotler.
      These street thugs should be tried in ICC for aiding and abetting crimes against humanity along with Gotler.
      US which impeached Trump should drag these street thugs gang to ICC.
      Or they deserve a better treatment of being shot like dogs.
      I wonder whether 6.3million fools except those who part of the thuggery gang realize their mistake.
      I think citizens should organize a protest with thousands participateing against the supreme court judges and demand they go home. Let them charge thousands for contempt of courr. Corrupt bastards. Sorry for the indecent language but they well deserve it

      • 0
        14

        Dilshan,
        Does Judge C.Vigneshwaran also fall into this category?
        —-
        “These judges do not deserved to be addressed as such, they are members street thug gang of war criminal and robber Nandasena alias Gotler.”

    • 46
      1

      The judgment in itself proves Ranjan’s point . These guys are either corrupted to the core or law unto themselves .

      “Colombo High Court has ruled that the manner in which the Bribery Commission had filed its case against Minister Johnston Fernando, pertaining to using Sathosa employees for political activities, was unlawful.”

      LOL

    • 25
      1

      HP,

      Now people start respecting you.
      .
      Today, I happened to watch a YT video of a TYRE company – which was introduced to the country in 2017, but people s men Rajaapkshes reap the harvest. There are no single word about former govt. Can you imagine ? who is doing this …. it is the RAJAPAKSHE BIASED media mafia.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsdDa_FO0IM

      • 14
        0

        My Dear Friends,
        .
        If this would have been under ” GOOD GOVERNANCE”, today, then JOINT opposition would have worked on riots, as they are usually upto. Sajith Premadasas and Ranil wickramsinghes supporters are dead silent – they dont utter a single word about the TIRE FACTORY that their governement gave though it the birth.
        .
        This is the very different between RAJAPKSHES MLECHCHA POLITICS and the politics of DECENT GOOD GOVERANNCE rulers.
        :
        Much more to come, so that PEOPLE would see, as if THE Rajakshes are the architects of those NEW factories and road constructions. …. typical modayas filled srilanka. Media mafia do NOT add a WORD about former govt and their FULL particitipation in this projects.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsdDa_FO0IM

    • 12
      0

      I am not a lawyer but a sensitive srilanken living out oft he country for such a long time.I have been closely studying any kind of unusual developements in our my home country. Sometimes, locals would not, care much but we though update any unethical moves, we feel more whenever injustices continue in that island. Saddly, nothing seem to work on high criminals like killers of Lasantha, Ekanaligoda, Thadudeen or unknown number of whom, their families yet today are caught by torments of tantalus regarding any justice for the losses of their lovely ones. Lasantha’s dearest daughter, Ekanligoda s sons and spouse, Thadjudeens mother and mothers of those youth that went missing after being abducted by srilanken navy, and and…. These are not at all forgotten to hearted people of this country.
      :
      We should all be shameful, not many seem to have guts to take on against the verdict made to RR few days ago. I think current court verdict given to MP RR (aka Ranja, who always stood by various untold crimes oft he society representiving those middle class to poor fractions of srilanka) based on „contempt of courts“ is not quiet correct. Crimes that are treated with „beggar s wounds“ were addressed by Mr Ramananayake not for any rewards. If anyone would disagree, he or she should have to undergo a medical check-up.

      • 8
        0

        continuing
        .
        Few examples would work as food for thoughts for you all:
        1). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UgN6TUqyIE
        The man shown in this video is a diehard supporter of Rajapakshe family. However, victimized family by visiting RanjanRamanayaka revealed all the bits about their daugher being raped by Raththarana aka Pushpakumara, while going to visit his Kattadiya room seeking therapy for a boy child in the victimized family. However the other videos displayed the brutal incident are not taken away from YT. This rapist and his case were burried under the carpet since BP was close to Mahinda Rajapakshe
        .
        2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSK7HPrv3iI

        3) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSK7HPrv3iI

        4) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfHqiUIOIy4

        And alone the manner how COURTS, POLICE, LAWYERS that work for state today look to everyone as „ partial“: Not long ago, during Yahapalana rule, we srilankens were compelled to believe our eyes how some of today s ruling POWERFUL ministers were called for court cases based on their own provable crimes (including money laundering acts and complicity of murder allegations, with even young ones would feel that not putting them in jails would have been premedidated acts). Most of the investtigations, there were plenty of evidence came into light, however, lawyers, judges together did not let them proceed due to „untold reasons“.

    • 7
      0

      Dear Mr Fernando@

      I thought this YT video is no longer existent in WEB.
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pf8xDd0qKFw

      RR was only MP who revealed this rape. Rapist is a diehard PS leader of Mahinda Rajapkashe.
      .
      However Pushpa Kumara aka RATHARAN s case was burried under the carpet. What happened to the justice. MR et al made every effort to bury this, becuase he would loose votes in the region, if the case was further investigated.

      • 4
        0

        Every SLankans united and a betterment for everyone with Ven Sobitha for a good and prosperous regardless of caste and creed,but sadly we were assured that dumbo sira will save the country,and put 100 day program and bring the culprits and bring back the looted money!
        But we Thamils are not all LTTE supporters but how majorities of natvies are silenced same as we .

        • 2
          0

          Cugan@How can that ever be possible so long main stream media would continue fooling the nation? And their henchmen work entwined to them on social media platforms. It is almost like garbage dumps that would nt be resolved by anyone

    • 5
      0

      hanchopancha: Your comment: “When political expediency takes priority over legitimacy it sets out a very dangerous precedence”. I started reading through the “Judgement” and found a very interesting revelation. One among many evidence for the “Defense” was a book titled “Unfinished Struggle” (Nomini Aragalaya) written years back by Victor Ivon. This book “Exclusively” and “Comprehensively” dealt with the “Corruption”, “Misbehavior” and “Criminal” activities of the personnel in the Judiciary, including “Judges”, “Lawyers” and others in “Law Enforcemt”. The “Allegations” therein are very serious, but to date “NO ONE” has dared to “Prosecute” the writer. This book was allowed to be produced, ONLY if it was relevant to the PRESENT DAY judges and lawyers. In my opinion, this “Defendant” (Ranjan) was making his observations in general as that similar to what were dealt in that book. If that was “allowed” the “Defendant” would have had a very good chance of proving his “Innocence” PLUS bring in to public attention what was and is wrong with the “Judiciary. Why was it not allowed? Is it “Political Expediency” over “Legitimacy” and is it not “Very dangerous precedence”?. We have yet to find answers.

      • 4
        0

        Dear Simon, u are spot on it proves the current verdict is undoubtedly politically motivated.And this will be plus plus point for UNHRC to get back to their resolutions on srilanka that previous govt was able to resolve by proving the other way around.. Actions of a brutal family will push srilanka to usual corners. This ll be too much in today’s Covid crisis. Innocient people will have to face even more problems if trade sanctions and other barriers would be the ramifications of all these towards srilanka. Pressure from international community on srilanka will grow in next few weeks no doubt about that.

  • 36
    1

    A dictator will first make the media look like the enemy, pack his administration with dishonest “yes” men, threaten to harm or kill those who stand up to him, or in his little mind look like a threat to him, and put away, kidnap, or jail, anyone who is a political adversary. Jailing rivals, activists, Muslim lawyers, and political opponents, are the Rajapaksa’s methodology, we have seen this for decades.

    • 5
      0

      See if people would be kept away from the very facts and figures, they are made to believe, that god is the creation of their problems. This african tribe believe that this child s mental retardness is a blessing. Like our people thought Kali amma – controlled Dammika Paniya would have been only way out to come heal COVID patients.
      :
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3e8Z6WWzBI
      :
      Down Syndrome patients or any other mentally retarded have no choice in some countries in africa yet today. They have no other options but let living it up. To anyone from the west, they could explain it within hours by analysing the genetics of this child’s genetics (gene tests will reveal what kind of chromosomes the child cells contain – that proves the abnomality of child):
      .
      The very same manner, if SRILANKENs would not be adequately fed with truthful information -, how can the average would ever improve their awareness towards the mlechcha Politics being governed RAJAPAKSHES in the country today ?

  • 29
    1

    The Sinhala man and by extension, those who study a profession and reach a status of privilege and power are basically tribal in thought and behaviour. Take for example a senior consultant doctor at a hospital. If an attendant addresses him by his first name but carries out his duties diligently and far better than all the other attendants, the former will be so peeved that he would take punitive action against him. So too, a company chief executive, to whom a junior officer does not address as “Sir”, however good and efficient his work, he will be punished. These are mere examples where people with power assume such grand illusions about their superior status that they will want to hurt those who dare disrespect them in any way. This would certainly have been the case in the matter of having broadly accused a class of professionals that happens to be judicial officers who have sought to crush anyone who dared criticise them, regardless of how accurate a statement might be. Therein lies the nature of these punitive actions against a presumed “offender” and their severity. Holders of high position in mature societies are humble and act with great humility and very little egotism. They are then far more respectable and noble than those who demand respect by coercion.

  • 7
    2

    This is telling that two or three, at least for my knowledge, in line with Ranjan. I cannot name the people because that only expedite their fate or even may ensure their fate if it can slip accidental. In addition to contempt of Court provision, a better limit has to be provided to Supreme Court to take petty cases and they bar a respondent from the chance of appeal. Sumanthiran PC said there is nowhere said to punish one for contempt of court and SC justices should not get involved in that. They said that Ranjan saying 95% specifically included them too. The Indian case Basil mentioned is not like Ranjan’s case. The advocate specifically talking about selected SC justices. If not contempt of court, justices may even can find way to libel proceeding, on that of situation.

  • 28
    1

    Thank you Mr. Fernando .

    Having received the judgements from Geneva, I expect that our learned judges have studied them

    I conclude that 1 . They are unfit for office if they rendered this judgement without studying previous judgements. Or 2. They were under some compulsion or obligation to give Mr. Ramanayake a harsh punishment and did not care how it hurt their reputation and Sri Lanka’s as a democracy under the rule of law.

    I hope Mr. Ramanayake will appeal to Geneva and put our Supreme Court on notice

    Our contempt laws need rewriting after Sarath Silva’s admission that he did favours in his Hambantota judgement as detailed by Tassie Seneviratne (Sri Lanka Brief, Helping Hambantota: How Ex CJ Perverted Justice to Save Rajapakse, 26 Oct. 2014) and Kishali Pinto (Reducing of Sri Lanka’s Judiciary to a Mockery, 8 Dec. 2012), and Sunday Times (Helping Hambantota, Sunday Times, 26 Oct. 2014).

  • 30
    2

    The Judges in Sri Lanka are a law unto themselves. Even the Chief Justice and AG fall into the same category. If not how can the same AG Dept that filed cases when the previous Govt was in power withdraw cases now? How can every single SLPP MPs’ or Rajapakse slave MPs’ cases are disposed by the Judges “nidos kota nidahas”?

    These are not judgements due to human error could be called “wrong judgements” but intentional “wrongful judgements”.

    Its time the International communities, countries and legal bodies intervene and evaluate every single judgement that have been delivered by the high courts in SL since 2020 Jan and give their opinion on these judgements. The only solution left against “wrongful judgements” is strong condemnation. May be foreign countries should start placing travel bans on all Judges who give “wrongful judgements”.

    Any judgement given by the courts should be accepted by the citizens of the country as a reasonable and lawful judgement if not as what is now seen in SL there will be no respect for the courts.

    • 11
      1

      Buddhis1
      What do you think of our leaders who are governing the country, are they real buddhits,please answer?

      • 5
        0

        Noel,

        No our politicians are not real or even Buddhists. They believe in a religion of their own and are only worried about their positions and benefits (legal and illegal).

  • 8
    29

    Dumbos who shouted ‘Hooray’ when Ven. Gnanasara got six years are lamenting when Ranjan got four years

    • 21
      1

      EE
      Not really correct.
      Ven Ganaissara was in contempt of court which was in session – obvious contempt.
      Ranjan expressed a view which almost everyone echoes in private but afraid to say it publicly. Actually he should have argued on freedom of speech for his defence with enough evidence where so many have expressed their opinion that the judges favour some.

      • 5
        0

        My view, this is politically motivated and the judges are paid me by Rajapakse mlechcha rascals. And M r Fonseka and this great man in prison suit were displayed while good governance govt never displayed such photos. See alone there we see how these men prove themselves that counts , judges and Tajapakses work closely together under one agenda. RR helped the poor. He always stood by grievances of the unpriculedged fractions in the society. 😌😉😌😉😌😉😌😉😌😉😌😉

    • 4
      12

      Very true.
      Very very true.
      These were the very same guys who jumped up in joy when Gnasara was given SIX years of RIGOROUS IMPRISONMENT.

      Soma

      • 6
        0

        soman

        “These were the very same guys who jumped up in joy when Gnasara was given SIX years of RIGOROUS IMPRISONMENT.”

        Were you sad?

    • 17
      3

      Eagle ‘dumb ass’ Eye, here are the definitions;

      Ven/Venerable: accorded a great deal of respect, especially because of age, wisdom, or character.

      Ven/Venereal: of or relating to sexual pleasure or indulgence or resulting from or contracted during sexual intercourse venereal infections.

      This Gnanasara lowlife belongs to the 2nd definition. He is a Buddhist priest or Buddhist thug in a saree?

  • 26
    2

    It is a pity situation in Sri Lanka that the whole administrative institutions including President, Parliament, and Judiciary. It looks that not a single judge in Sri Lanka to challenge this brutal destruction of judiciary. The international community are keeping silent when a country is on fire. There is no single buddhist priest in this island to voice against brutal dictatorship.

  • 13
    1

    With some of the “Verdicts” that are being delivered on a daily basis, especially those connected with “High Profile” Politicians, Beaurocrats, and Law Enforcement personnel (e.g. Shani Abeysekera, Mendis) this country will soon be classified into a “Failed State” of a “Banana Republic”. The “Judges” and the “Law Enforcement” (including AG) Agencies are proving to be “Ignoring” International Agreements, “Exercising” due care in making “Justifiable” decisions, to show “Responsibility” to uphold the “Independency” of the Judiciary, to create an environment that everyone is “Equal” before the Law and ultimately making the “Judiciary” a “Mockery” in the eye of the “Public Perception”. No one can be blamed if that term, “Failed State” of a “Banana Republic” is used by the International Community, other than these “High Breed” of “Professionals” holding “Responsible and Accountable” positions in the State Functions. Already, we are “Down Graded” in terms of Economy and it appears we are fast approaching that status in the “Judiciary” too.

  • 13
    2

    Thank you, Mr Fernando. Like a few others here, I too hope that RR will appeal to the United Nations Human Rights Committee for it’s opinion, regardless of whether it will have any effect on the vile system that prevails in our motherland. Recognising the popularity of and down to earth integrity demonstrated by RR, I feel that this manifestly unfair and disproportionately punitive sentence has strong potential to backfire, and trigger something that can have terrible consequences for the brutal regime now in charge of things here.

    Here is the write up about Prashant Bhushan, in case your readers wish to delve a little, where, when asked to recant, he declared in front of the judges that “”If I retract a statement before this court that I otherwise believe to be true and offer an insincere apology, that in my eyes would amount to the contempt of my conscience and of an institution I hold in highest esteem” : https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/india/prashant-bhushan-fined-re-1-by-supreme-court-in-contempt-case

    And here is a poignant kaviya recited by RR himself which is self-explanatory and which correctly predicted which way the verdict will go: https://fb.watch/2-pFgZcZef/

  • 1
    7

    I searched the article for the word ‘Gnanasara’ . Not a single occurrence.

    Soma

    • 6
      0

      Dear S.
      How right you are. Nothing in the article.
      The first reference is the following comment by EE:
      ………..Dumbos who shouted ‘Hooray’ when Ven. Gnanasara got six years are lamenting when Ranjan got four years……….. referring to the Ven G. for first time.

  • 2
    5

    Very true.
    Very very true.
    These were the very same guys who jumped up in joy when Gnasara was given SIX years of RIGOROUS IMPRISONMENT.

    Soma

    • 3
      0

      soma’palan, then why are you talking about this thug?

    • 5
      0

      Soma,
      Open your heart and tell that Gnasara is not a thug and Criminal covered under Yellow clothes.

      • 0
        1

        Ajith
        It is irrelevant in law.
        Sentence depends on the particular offence.
        Weather you cross the red light or a thug crosses the red light the fine is the same. Should be the same.
        It is very very common to see an accused is cleared of some charges while others stay.
        How does ICCPR defines a thug?


        Soma

    • 1
      0

      Somu,
      When I was there I heard only one or two weeks light imprisonment for contempt of court. So I opposed when it was 19 years for Gnanam. My objection was not to prove Gnanam is innocent, but 19 years suggested that something peculiar was behind it. So now Gnanam is released but the same punishment is given to those who cannot get them out. Further Gnanam only cursed Sandhiya. It was not exactly contempt of court though it took place in the court. The interesting part was who killed Sandhiya’s husband was never punished by any court, any judge, any attorney general. Then why punish Gnanam, who only cursed her. In fact he came to power and released Gnanam. Even for a Wildlife Sanctuary SinhaLE Lankawe’s Sinhala Jury Only Courts, the murderer releasing from prison his acolytes, works with him, is insurmountable shame.

    • 2
      0

      Soma,
      Can you produce evidence to prove that Gnasara was given six years of RIGOROUS IMPRISONMENT?

  • 8
    0

    Sri Lanka simply has no people to call judges, their education , culture, mind set makes them only cheap careerist.

    All these chaps want is “raspect( respect for us-status)” , “Money” and car and bungalow. And almost always these so called judges are highly religious and superstitious.( religion for them is ritual)

    You cannot call them judges in an international sense. Individuals and institutions are not safe in their hands. Their crudeness will destroy both. Politicians love our judges, an important part of the larger fraud played on the stupid 23 million living here.

    Just look at their crude and foolish faces. In other countries judges look the part, intelligent and sophisticated.

    We are a failed society , living on the kindness of our donors ( also the foreign employers looking for drivers and maids, and the tourists like Ukrainians )

  • 5
    0

    The judiciary of Srilanka has been disgraced and brought to contempt by its very own guardians. One Chief Justice was interrogated by two night patrol police officers and an officer who happened to pass by when he emerged out of Diyawanna Oya after a quick night dip without his trousers on. In Houdini style the log book and police entries disappeared.

    The Cheap Justice assured the President that he is prepared to turn justice on its head to keep the President happy if he allows him to keep his job.

    How much pathetic the judiciary of Srilnaka can get ignoring miscreants like judges needing lime treatment to get sober to start his day’s work?

  • 2
    0

    Like everyone else I am also appalled by the severity of this sentence just as I felt when Bikkhu Gnasara was sentenced to SIX years of HARD LABOUR for contempt of court.
    If I had the discretion I would settle with 4 weeks of community service for the particular offence.
    The author of article Basil Fernando uses the term ‘disproportionate’ level of sentence.
    Now the question is how much our judges have leverage in deciding on the level of punishment before we blame them.
    .
    Will a reader in legal profession help us in clearing
    What is the MAXIMUM jail term permitted in our law for contempt of court
    1) for a politician
    2) for a member of a religious clergy.
    3) for a civilian.

    Soma

  • 5
    0

    It is good to hear that this excessive sentence on a member of parliament and one of the most talented actors can be challenged in an international court. There have been many judges whose actions did not meet the standards expected of judges. One was a De Abrew and I wonder whether the judge De Abrew who sentenced Ranjan was a relation of the Judge De Abrew who was accused of various misdeeds.

  • 7
    0

    Soma: Gnanasara got six years RI because of his outburst inside the courtroom where he abused and threatened the Judge, the Plaintiff, and the plaintiff’s lawyers. In the case of RR, he simply expressed his opinion during the course of an interview. Freedom to hold an opinion is a fundamental right. People should also have the right to criticize judges in a democracy – if not, it is not a democracy.

    • 0
      0

      Capton Morgan
      “Freedom to hold an opinion is a fundamental right”
      I wish that were the law.
      But if our law says that freedom does not apply in relation to the judiciary judges are helpless.
      Judges are there to interpret the EXISTING law.
      Not the way they wish to have it amended.
      People like Basil Fernando must campaign, agitate to change the law.
      Did someone say ” Worst tyrany is the wrong law”?

      Soma

  • 6
    1

    The author is talking about the ICCPR. Our lawyers, and that includes judges, are not wholly familiar with even the local laws. Most of them are pretty clueless about International Laws and International Treaties. Even when they happen to know these, they don’t seem to care. They have the arrogance of a certain kind of village idiot.

    • 1
      0

      Capton Morgan
      Does our Constitution say ICCPR supersedes the law of the country?

      Soma

      • 1
        0

        soman

        Does our constitution guarantee to protect you if you, murder, rape, steal, burn, …. your daughter?

  • 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

  • 7
    0

    What a difference between Sri Lankan’s SC judges and US Supreme court judges. Although US SC judges were appointed by Donald Trump thaey were not politically inclined. They gave a verdict aginst the case that the election was a fraud Even the verdict to acquit Pillyan was politically motivated There are many cases where the criminals escape and the innocents are sent ti Jail What do you expect from the Judiciary when the minister himself is questionable There is N their speaking men

  • 7
    0

    There are couple of questions a neutral mind would be looking into , in the
    case of Ranjan Ramanayaka . The first one would be , would he be ever
    sentenced if the government was from his party ? No rocket science , it
    would be a deafening “NO .” This exhibits the quality of our Judiciary ! The
    next question is , what did Ramanayaka want in politics ? Enjoying being
    a “Good Boy” among the Black sheep ? Was he exposing what people had no
    knowledge of ? He may be a good guy but that is not enough for politics ,
    when you enter politics don’t you know where you are treading on ? More
    questions than answers where life is miserable to everyone. The last thing
    one can do is , turning to Dead bodies , what more do you want from such
    a bottomless pit.

  • 7
    0

    Whether it is Gnasara or Ranjan Ramanayaka or Pilliyan the law should be the same and justice should be the same at anytime. The question is whether the judicial system including the government or president or Attorney general or the military or police are using the same? We should look at how all these institutions who are in the pay list of tax paid by the citizens whether it is Tamil or Muslim or Sinhala behaved between 2009 to 2021. They are accountable to each tax payer. Former Military Commander Sarath Fonseka was found guilty under Rajapakse government. In 2015, the same judiciary found that he is not guilty. Lasantha was murdered in 2009 but so far the police could not charged anyone? Now President and former defence minister publicly accepted that he murdered Pirabhaharn and he was responsible for many other murders. What can our law or constitution do? So, the governments are violating the laws of this country and do not respect the constitution. Do we need a Constitution? Do we need a govt? Do we need a judiciary?

  • 4
    0

    What Ranjan said outside the parliament was that there is significant level of corruption in Sr Lankan judiciary. Fact is a non brainer and everybody knows it. Only reason that three judges gave such a harsh verdict indicate either they are megalomaniac wanting to teach lesson to this MP or they want to please ruling politician either for their own survival or future gain of perks.
    Long standing political corruption has penetrated to the judiciary and administrative service. Need of this hour is to organized protest rally against all sort of corruption and leadership for that can be given by civil society , JVP or by samgi balavegaya.

    • 2
      0

      JVP and SJB have their own skeletons hidden in their respective cupboards it is not possible for them to organize a mass protest.

      • 0
        0

        Who has not skeletons hidden in cupboard if the politicians come from highly corrupted srilanka.?
        .
        I mean in today’s context
        .
        This had lot to do with sinhala genome than anyone elses .
        .
        If Sirisena and Wickransinghe managed to put the high criminals having respected the mandate hardly earned in 2015, no Rajapakshes and their shit bucket carrier s would all have been in jails today. Civilised world would have respected the island for having respected proper handling of high crimes. Srilanken courts would have earned respect internationally. If done so, UNHRC WOULD HAVE RESPECTED us. Investments would have boomed. 😉😉😉😉😉😉😉😉😉😉😉😉😉😉

  • 1
    1

    My opinion is he will be pardoned before Duminda Siva release to justify and be hero and neutral.20A is in hand

  • 0
    1

    Remember the old saying, “If a razor knife is given to a monkey, he will cut its own tail first ” RR is a Pea-Brain”.

    He will now be very popular among the criminals inside his jail, just like he was with the Central Bank Thiefs in Yahapalanaya.

    Eddie

    USA

  • 3
    0

    Attorney General who did not file a single case against any of the SLPP MPs who attacked the Speaker and destroyed the Parliament did not blink an eye to jump on Ranjan’s Parliamentary seat issue. What a crook this AG is. SJB and all opposition parties should move a motion in Parliament to impeach the AG who is bias.

  • 1
    0

    Joseph Pararajasingam MP was shot dead while attending mass at St Mary’s Church, Batticaloa on Christmas Eve 2005. One of the five persons suspected of criminal responsibility for the murder was Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan (alias Pillayan), the leader of Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP), a government-aligned political party.
    The CID arrested the former LTTE leader Pillayan on October 11, 2015 when he arrived at the CID office in Colombo to give a statement over the killing of former Batticaloa district Tamil National Alliance parliamentarian Joseph Pararajasingam.
    Pillayan was released on bail by the Batticaloa High Court Judge T. Wigneswaran (no relation of CV Wigneswaran) on 24 November last year.
    On January 13, 2021 the same High Court ordered the dismissal of the case filed against Pillayan. Also, four others, including former Eastern Provincial Councillors Edwin and Pradeep Master, who were remanded on suspicion of the murder, were also ordered to be released.
    When the murder case was heard in the High Court last Monday (11) before High Court Judge S. Subsidising, the Senior State Counsel appearing for the Attorney General informed the court that there is no need to file evidence in the case and proceed further. The Senior State Counsel told the court that the confessional statements obtained from the accused were under duress.
    1/2

  • 1
    0

    It was a well-known fact Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa took a personal interest in the Court case and tried to use his influence with the previous government for Pillayan release. It was MR who appointed Pillayan as Chief Minister of Eastern Provincial Council when his party had only 4 members in a Council consisting of 37 members.

    Pillayan along with Karuna Amman broke away from the LTTE in March 2004 and joined the government/army. Their cadres fought against the LTTE along with the Sri Lankan army. Karuna Amman was alleged to have killed 500 policemen who surrendered to the LTTE in June 1990. Last year during the heat of an election campaign and in an act of bravado told his supporters that he killed over 2,000 Sinhalese soldiers in a single day. And he is capable of performing a repeat performance even now. He was referring to his role in the capture of the strategic Elephant Pass camp on April 22, 2000.
    David Griffiths, Director of the Office of the Secretary-General at Amnesty International said “The collapse of this case marks yet another sorry milestone in the Sri Lankan authorities’ continued failure to ensure justice for crimes committed during the armed conflict. The Attorney General’s Office has not indicated any interest in re-opening the investigation into the murder.

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