27 September, 2020

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I Stand Here Before You Today Having Been Unjustly Persecuted

I Stand Here Before You Today Having Been Unjustly Persecuted, Vilified And Condemned

By Shirani Bandaranayake

Chief Justice Dr Shirani Bandaranayake

I am the 43rd Chief Justice of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. As the Chief Justice, I have an obligation and an unwavering duty towards the judges, lawyers and the citizens at large of  my country.

I stand here before you today having been unjustly persecuted, vilified and condemned. The treatment meted out to me in the past few weeks, was an ordeal no citizen let alone the Chief  Justice of the Republic should be subjected to. The 32 years of continuous service at the University of Colombo and the Supreme Court, during my 54 year lifespan, I have rendered in varying capacities  towards my motherland, is rewarded unfortunately, in this unjust manner.

Though I was accused and arbitrarily convicted by the Parliamentary Select Committee, I have been  vindicated in the bastions of the law. I take solace in the fact that, the due process and the rules of natural justice of which I was and continue to be an advocate and a firm believer, have been upheld by the superior courts of this country. The Supreme Court, acknowledged by the Hon. Speaker as having the sole and exclusive jurisdiction in interpreting matters relating to the Constitution, in its  recent interpretation, unequivocally declared that the PSC and its proceedings therein were unconstitutional and illegal. Moreover, a Writ of Certiorari was issued by the Court of Appeal quashing the findings of the PSC. Therefore, the decisions of the PSC are ultra-vires, null and void and have no force or validity in law.

In the circumstances, in my country which is a democracy, where the rule of law is the underlying  m threshold upon which basic liberties exist, I still am the duly appointed legitimate Chief Justice. It is not only the office of Chief Justice, but also the very independence of the judiciary, that has  been usurped. The very tenor of rule of law, natural justice and judicial abeyance has not only been  ousted, but brutally mutilated.

I have suffered because I stood for an independent judiciary and withstood the pressures. It is the  People who are supreme and the Constitution of the Republic recognizes the rule of law and if that  rule of law had prevailed, I would not have been punished unjustly.

The accusations levelled against me are blatant lies. I am totally innocent of all charges and had  there been a semblance of truth in any allegation, I would not have remained even for a moment in  the august office of the Chief Justice. I can stand before you today as the Chief Justice, a citizen and a  human being, purely because of that very innocence.

Since it now appears that there might be violence if I remain in my official residence or my chambers
I am compelled to move out of my official residence and chambers particularly because the violence  is directed at innocent people including judges, lawyers and committed members of the public. The 16 years I have spent in the Supreme Court have been dedicated to uphold the rights of the  people in this country. I have always considered it my solemn duty to protect, to the best of my  ability, the life and liberty of human beings and the rights of children and their education. I have  always acted to that end.

I thank all those who stood with me and the greater cause to fight for the independence of the judiciary.Even though I have not been meted out with justice today; time and nature will justify what I have  done and what I and others who shared my beliefs have stood for. Many will come and many will go. What matters is not the person who is the incumbent custodian of  this position. What matters is the continued existence of an independent judiciary.
Thank you.
Dr. Shirani A. Bandaranayake
The 43rd Chief Justice of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
15thJanuary 2013

Read the speech in Tamil here

Read the speech in Sinhala here

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Latest comments

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    So this is the great favour Professori was doing to the higher Courts in introducing the lady to do that parachuting. As she was leaving in her vehicle she was more political speaking in Sinhala insisting she will always be with the people. The cat was out of the bag when a journo asked her to give a message in English. And our Chief Justice said “I am always IN people” further adding to the claim this was our first CJ who could not speak in English even to basic levels.

    Those large number of GKCCC depositors will be wondering if they are not part of the “people” she was trying to make a point. It is sad
    mediocrity has contaminated most of our once respected institutions.

    Senguttuvan

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      Dear Senguttuvan ,

      i always hold the view that you are above the trivial politics and represent the moderate views of the intellectual Tamil brethrens , over the years i have seen how you handle the media , especially the print media .you never lost control of the objectivity and never allowed emotions to control you, over hearsay or innuendo. Regrettably you have chosen the gutter politics to attack the victim, i know CJ is not an angel and every one is fully aware of her biased decisions, but this is not the time for witch hunting and frankly the last thing one can expect from a person of your caliber.

      About her English knowledge, for god sake she is a P.hD holder from the prestigious university of London , you ought to know the standards of the university , can any one without adequate English comprehension finish a basic degree from Imperial college ??
      Senguttuvan I can tell you this , even in sinhaleese language we tend to fumble in a tricky situation , so don’t jump the gun.

      • 0
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        Dear Srilal! As for the English, at the Universities, there are volunteers who come and correct your English, reading every sentence of your Thesis.
        They get a nominal fee from the University for the services, which they normally refuse to take. Often they would dine with you after drinking beer, whisky, vodka or whatever your brand of liquor, if the University insists payment and they get their fees. Some remnants of British Democracy!

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          “at the Universities, there are volunteers who come and correct your English, reading every sentence of your Thesis “

          is there any thing wrong in that process Dear learned wolf ?? do you know that there are professionals who are ready to write your proposal and whole thesis for a $ price tag , for me that is cheating and plagiarism.

          • 0
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            please read as Dear Leanard Woolf , not as ” Dear learned wolf” .

  • 0
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    Dear Srilal,

    Tku. I am sorry I have caused you some distress – albeit unintentionally. I appreciate your coming to Mrs SB’s defence. With your permission, I will allow my views to stand. She was brought by Neelakandan to Galle Face Hotel a few years ago to deliver the annual memorial lecture on (either) Pon Arunachalam or Ramanathan to a distinguished audience – mostly of educated Tamils. She shocked everyone in delivering her written talk in Sinhala. Most of them did not know what she said. Clearly, she did not possess the confidence to even read a written script in English.

    Allow me to add, there is nothing wrong in making an address in the ancient, respected and beautiful Sinhala – a language I speak fluently, read and write to some degree. But then, as we were taught there is always a time and place for many things.

    In today’s Sri Lanka – where the English Language still carries an aura of elitism, respect and is associated with proper learning – I would expect my Chief Justice and President/BASL to speak this officially recognised language of the country unhaltingly, fluently and, if possible, beautifully as did most earlier CJs and Presidents/BASL. Both named disappoint all of us today. It is always a pleasure to hear two other Sinhala ladies of the law speak this foreign language so charmingly – Prof. Savitri Gunasekera and Dr. Deepika Udugama. As does Dr. Radhika Coomaraswamy from the other side of the spectrum. When and wherever these ladies speak formally to audiences of consequence either within or outside the country they generate a great deal of respect and dignity to Sri Lanka.
    I have only mentioned 3 ladies. I am sure there are dozens more in their splendid calibre in the country.

    Thank you for the kind remarks you have made of me.

    Sincerely/Senguttuvan

    • 0
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      So you and your TNA mates are going to make this “beautiful language ‘ the official one in the “Homeland” under your two in one solution.

      Praba must be grunting in his grave.

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      Dear Senguttuvan ,

      Thank you for your explanation , yet i’m not entirely convinced of your elucidation and incidents are the real indicators of CJ’s English language comprehension measurements , let us get this BASIC ENGLISH LANGUAGE skill clam of yours to some perspective , shall we ? as you know CJ successfully completed her P.hD in English medium in a English speaking country ,not from an ordinary university but from one of the best in the world . before completing a P.hD degree one needs to master set of skills , regular presentation is one such mandatory prerequisites , roughly every 3 to 6 weeks time , prospective P.hD student has to come before a panel of lectures and describe in detail the process and new finding of the desired project/Topic , during the session you are bound to get barrage of questions from each Letcher and there is hardly any chance of getting away from the grilling , this is the standard practice for the entire duration ( varies from 3 to 5 years ), apart from the continues presentations , a major thesis needs to be written and in the end , student needs to defend its entire contents , usually 3 copies are sent to 3 different universities and required their ratification before approval of the final work , please tell me Senguttuvan how could one get the P.hD , if that person is unable a give a speech (merely reading a paper) how is it possible to overcome mind boggling ,arduous sessions of a P.hD ?
      beside her excellent academic achievements , she was a lecture , dean of the faculty , and a judge , are you suggesting that she was unable to deliver a speech in english in her respective positions ?

      Senguttuvan, as Jayantha explained may I respectfully suggest you to listen to her recent speech which she delivered couple of weeks ago .

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    Sumane,

    The beautiful language will be given preference when the time comes soon. You know something, when that happens that past where many elite families from the A’pura, Polonnaruwa areas preferred to send their own rattaran puthas for a better education there, in preference to Colombo/Kamdy will be revisited – with new Maithripala Senanayake, KB Ratnayake, Hurulle and others. Comprehendo?

    Semguttuvan

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      Senguttuvan

      Today in an article “1 Country-2 Nations has a chance!”
      Ishara de Silva quotes your article as follows:

      On Monday January 31, 2011, The Sri Lanka Guardian , some time afterwards, ran a piece, using reverse phraseology for this same slogan, originally sourced from the Chinese model of ‘1 Country-2 Systems’ for the handover of Hong Kong from the British to China, which headlined an article using the caption: ’Two Nations One Country Option: way out of impasse’.

      The article, by I. S. Senguttuvan, said “Our conflict is essentially race-based. From ancient times two nations have lived in the Island. In the circumstances, a way out on a Two -Nation One-Country formulae (Sinhala and Tamil Nations) should be looked into.

      http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2013/01/1-country-2-nations-has-chance.html

      Do you have anything to add to Ishara de Silva’s comments?

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    My friend Native Veddah:

    When I floated the idea, years ago, it was an orphan. Now many come forward claiming they fathered the idea. So what? The important thing is Sri Lanka must force itself in the path of peace and unity where we may, hopefully, regain that ethnic tranquility of the pre-1950s since the British dropped in with their own forced visit.

    The LTTE’s idea was 2 entirely and geographically separate States whereas mine is that reality within an undivided island, which has a greater chance of seeing the light of the day in the circumstances we find ourselves in. I say we were divided by language-based politics that brings in the dispute between 2 ancient realities. The latter Muslim factor, thrust into the debate in the 1980s, was, in our view, a conspiracy to weaken the vibrancy of Tamil resistance and to create confusion and mayhem. From today’s perspective, it certainly has although the Tamil resolve did not lose steam. We now see, in exasperation, a section of the Muslim leadership is floating the idea of a Tamil-Muslim common front – something for which the Tamil Nation might not have much appetite to.

    Senguttuvan

  • 0
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    This is the situation for a CJ under rule of MR….

    She is screaming for help – asking to look them after…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYtHAg17tcw&NR=1

  • 0
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    This is an another evidence that the Impeachment process was illegal and not at all consituational.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=p9z7BBdv-18

  • 0
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    Dear Srilal,

    I get no benefit at all if the lady is poor in her English. As to British PhD’s, you know what the standards there are now. Gadaffi’s son got one and the chief of LSE had to resign – questioned on that.
    May I suggest a simpler method that will also help the good lady who is convinced she got a raw deal. Charles Havilland of the BBC would love to do an interview on her – and he is ubiquitous in Colombo. Additionally, Al Jazeera may love to get into the act for which one
    must contact Michelle Fernandes (Moratuwa?)

    By the way how did that JHU legal lunumiris Udaya G get his Degree in English speaking Australia – even the Crocodile Dundee variety?

    Senguttuvan

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      Dear Senguttuvan

      Gadafi’s son went to LSE as the son of the famous leader Gadafi , obviously with strings attached , on the contrary SB went to London just as an ordinary 3 rd world scholarship recipient , there is huge difference between Gadafi’s son and SB , nevertheless Gadafi’s case was a black mark for the integrity of the institution and i hope you are not naïve to compare this isolated incident with SB’s p.hD.
      About Udaya G Ausi higher education, i personally believe Udaya G and Patali are well educated and talented duo , unfortunately they have chosen the easy short cut for power , which is selling the sinhala Buddhism . i’ve been told that Udaya G became the islands first in Math’s stream in his A/L year and got the scholarship for Monash university , i’m not sure the veracity of the story , though .
      P. hD degree duration varies from major to individual performances , for example Dr Nalin silva ( yes , that nut case )finished his P.hD in 18 months , i have stated the average time as 3-5 years .

      ps. i was questioning your assertion of CJSB’s basic English comprehension Senguttuvan !

  • 0
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    By the way, dear Srilal, just for the record – I have in no way questioned the lady’s PhD. Also, does the process take as much as
    5 years you mention?

    Senguttuvan

  • 0
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    Srilal,

    Tku. Is the opportunity to explain to the people in the country and the world by the lady via the vast network of BBC not taken?

    As to Udaya, currently I see a piece in the Sri Lanka Guardian titled
    “What happened 100 years ago” where he, characteristically, this time,
    inflames the Sinhala people against the Muslims. He begins the article with the words “there was AN animosity towards the Muslims in the Sinhala polity 100 years ago…” Is that the quality of language that Monash U tolerates in recognising its students for honour? I talked briefly to Udaya both in English and Sinhala when he came to the Sarvodaya branch outfit in Colombo 5 a few years ago and know what I am talking about. I do not question Udaya’s talent as a student.
    My point is acquiring an average level of speaking and writing English – a language widely used in the country – has to be necessarily a part of the skills portfolio of an aspiring student. As to Nalin de S – that incurable and scheming racist – the quality of the English that he writes and speaks is light, comparatively, years ahead.I do not subscribe to his prescriptions to National Unity. But in his speaking, writing and thinking he certainly is an intellectual
    who will stand the test anywhere, anytime.

    Senguttuvan

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    Dear Madam, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, let me thank you for standing firm to defend justice, rule of law, and basic human rights of any accused person. The Government members of the PSC came on state media and showed their partiality even before pronouncing their conclusions. What more can we expect from people of that caliber? The president himself had to come out and play in the open. So, thank you for giving us, the voters, a chance to see the truth of these fake patriots. Their journey is clear-to corner our country once marked on the World map to be larger than its true size, to be a forgotten dot in the Indian Ocean, and then to appear as saviors to win back the country in the eyes of the gullible. For Rajapaksas, all what they need to have in a corrupt dictatorship is already there with the Divi Naguma bill coupled with the 18th amendment. Thanks for highlighting the flaws of the former.

    Finally, please pay attention to your own security, because you are up against notorious underworld thugs (hope you saw on media, how they behaved in the streets to harass and physically harm peaceful citizens who stood with you, and how the law enforcement agencies behaved.

    Mother Lanka is being raped by a gang from Madamulana. Thank you for speaking up on her behalf.

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