23 October, 2021

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If The CJ Loses

If The CJ Loses She Will Be Hard Put To Find A Lawyer Even To Defend Her Husband

By  C. A. Chandraprema –

C. A. Chandraprema

The Lalith Athulathmudali memorial oration was delivered by a distinguished Sri Lankan legal luminary C.G.Weeramantry  last Thursday. The event was organised by the Institute for Democracy and Leadership headed by Ravi Karunanayake and sponsored by the Fredreich Naumann Foundation which is affiliated to the German Liberal Party. It was Judge Weeramantry who headed the team that drafted the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct which were extensively quoted in this column a couple of weeks ago.  We thought the entire hall would be packed with lawyers in the present context where the impeachment against the Chief Justice is the main topic of discussion in the country. Ravi Karunanayake in fact introduced Weeramantry with the gleeful comment that we were all waiting to hear what he has to say about the ‘present goings on’ in Sri Lanka.

However, we did not get what we were expecting to hear from Weeramantry. What we got from him was an oration couched in the most general terms. He did make statements like “If a judge fails in his duty of judicial integrity, that entire nation is lost. It is only when the community has confidence in the integrity and the capacity of the judiciary that that community is governed by the rule of law.  In other words, you don’t have the rule of law, you don’t have democracy in any community where the judge is lacking in integrity.” The only time he ventured to touch in direct terms on the goings on in Sri Lanka, was the assault on the Secretary of the Judicial Services Commission where he said that in his day, judges were perfectly safe even when trying cases involving the utmost violence.  Weeramantry said not a word about the impeachment.

The fact that he criticised the assault on the JSC secretary but said not a word about the impeachment against the chief justice is perhaps in itself a loud and unmistakable message. There are times when silence is more eloquent than words.  A judge is not a journalist or a politician who would make a career of being swept up in the rush of things but someone who would not be swayed by the sound and fury of public debate and would calmly consider whatever is before him on its merits. So you can’t really expect him to plunge directly into this unholy mess the way a politician or journalist would have. He was probably aware that the mere fact that he, the Chairman of the committee that drafted the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct was present in Sri Lanka at a time like this to deliver a lecture (of all things on) Judicial Integrity would have sent panic bells ringing in certain quarters.

The conspicuous absence of lawyers at the memorial lecture also can be explained by a desire on the part of the legal fraternity not to be present where there was the possibility of hearing any banned words such as ‘judicial integrity’. There is a desire on the part of members of the legal fraternity not to even be seen in a place where there was the slightest possibility of judicial ethics being discussed lest it rubs someone on the wrong side. Sagarika Delgoda, the Resident Representative of the Fredrich Naumann Foundation was however more outspoken than Weeramantry.  She said: “The present crisis occurs however, in a context in which there has been a steady erosion of standards in public life across the board, in politics certainly, but also in the quality of the judiciary. It is undeniable that there was simply no possibility of even some of the allegations that are now commonly argued in the media, being raised against judges in the era when jurists like Judge Weeramantry graced our supreme court. Thus while we must decry without reserve any and every attack upon the independence of the judiciary, the sobering reality is that at least some of the legal fraternity have themselves played a part by omission or commission in the undermining of public confidence and the legitimacy of the judicial institutions in the recent past… Moreover, the current turn of events underscores a matter of even greater significance. The inadequacies and flaws of the present constitutional framework with regard to the independence of the judiciary.  The procedure for impeachment of senior judges fails to meet contemporary international standards in a number of ways.  These weaknesses are compounded by a political culture that is increasingly intolerant of democratic values and constitutional restraint.  There will come a time, hopefully, when we will be able to reform our constitution so as to re-establish political pluralism, democratic governance and constitutionalism in our country.”

The CJ can do no wrong

Members of the legal fraternity would have been glad that they had kept away so that they did not hear what Sagarika Delgoda said. The second part of what she said was OK, but not the first part. If you ask any lawyer publicly, whether there was anything wrong with the judiciary, what you will get is most certainly a furious denial that there is anything wrong with the judiciary. (Privately, he may express a different opinion.) This brings us to the question of the culture within the Sri Lankan judiciary in particular and the legal fraternity in general. Though many people in Sri Lanka do not realise it, what we have within the legal fraternity is a tyranny more complete than any that a politician can ever conceive of.  For the most part, the mechanics of the tyranny exist but does not intrude into the public domain because the temperament of the chief justice often tempers the oppressive power he wields.  It is only when tempestuous characters who generate public controversy hold that position that the public gets to see the workings of the system.

The mechanics of this tyranny has existed from pre-independence days. Even in the 1947 constitution, the ex-officio head of the Judicial Services Commission was the chief justice a – tradition that has been followed in the 1978 constitution. This gives the chief justice complete and unfettered power over the appointment, transfer and disciplinary control of all judges from the high court downwards. The 1978 constitution gives the power of appointment of Supreme Court and appeal court judges to the president and their removal can be effected only through an impeachment process in parliament. While the appointment and removal of judges of the higher courts have been provided for, the little day to day details of a SC or appeal court judge’s life such as overseas trips, day to day office matters and the cases they hear and other such things are under the control of the chief justice. So in effect, the chief justice has complete control over the day to day lives of judges at all levels.

If you are in the judiciary, you cannot antagonise the chief justice and expect to survive. Even a judge of the SC or the Court of Appeal will find life a living nightmare if they cross the path of the chief justice even though they cannot be removed by the chief justice. Even if they are being harassed by the chief justice, the judges have no one to complain to. Members of the lower judiciary cannot complain even to other judges of the Supreme Court. If a government minister or even the president harasses anybody, there will be loud complaints – opposition politicians and the press will all take it up and the matter may even end up in courts. So harassment from the executive has remedies. Harassment within the judiciary however has to be endured in silence. In reality, a senior judge does not have even the basic rights that the humblest peasant in this country has. They are completely dependent on the temperament of the incumbent CJ. If the CJ is a learned and considerate man, they are OK. If he happens to be a tempestuous and vindictive bounder, they are done for.

What appertains in the legal system is an unbridled tyranny presided over by the chief justice. The judges dare not antagonise the chief justice because their lives would not be worth living after that, and the lawyers practicing in the courts dare not antagonise any judge down to the most junior magistrate for fear that it would affect their prospect of winning cases. A lawyer who has antagonised the judiciary will not be able to make living. A university lecturer who does not see eye to eye with his Vice Chancellor will still be able to survive and even hold his head high, but not a lawyer who has antagonised a judge. Even clients go to lawyers who they think have the ear of the judge. That’s how the system works. So in this very profession where the thrust and parry of debate and contending views is so vital, what we have instead is a culture of fawning, fearful, obsequiousness.

At the top of this pyramid of differential obsequiousness is the chief justice whom nobody in the legal fraternity dares challenge for whatever reason. So long as someone holds the position of chief justice, the legal fraternity deems him incapable of doing any wrong. The loyalty of the legal fraternity is to whoever holds the position of chief justice. The moment a person ceases to hold the position of chief justice, he is dumped in favour of the new CJ. The legal fraternity does not care two hoots for the president of the country. They don’t need the president but they need the chief justice for their survival. In 1997, when Shirani Bandaranayake was first appointed to the Supreme Court, a large section of the legal fraternity rose up against it. One of the main reasons why so many lawyers opposed her appointment was because the incumbent chief justice was unhappy about her appointment.

The incumbent chief justice had recommended two other names but the president had appointed Bandaranayake. Because the chief justice was upset, the legal fraternity was upset. This is of course not to say that the lawyers who spoke against the appointment of Shirani Bandaranayake to the SC in 1997 did not have genuine misgivings about her suitability to hold that post. The arguments presented indicated that they did have genuine misgivings. But those misgivings found free expression only because the incumbent chief justice was in favour of expressing those misgivings.  If for some reason, the then chief justice was in favour of Bandaranayake’s appointment no lawyer would dared have expressed their misgivings.  Lawyers practicing in the courts do not give a damn whether their opposition to Shrani Bandaranayake would upset the president who wanted her appointed – lawyers don’t need the president, they need   the chief justice whoever he or she may be.

Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake having been on the bench for long years knows how the system works. The crowds of lawyers shouting “Agavinisuruthumiyata jayawewa!” And “Doshabiyogayata bhangawewa!” is due simply to the fact that she is still the chief justice. She knows that the moment she loses that position there will be no more lawyers to shout “Jayawewa!” to her. If by some chance, her successor is not well disposed towards her, the very lawyers who are now rallying to her support will be snapping at her heels in order to curry favour with the new CJ.  If that happens she will be hard put to find a lawyer even to defend her husband.  The entire legal fraternity, the judges, lawyers and even the peons will forget that she even existed and will be kowtowing to her successor the way they kowtow to her today.

What someone may ask are the factors that give rise to this dictatorial system within the legal profession? The most important factor is of course the complete and unquestionable authority that the chief justice wields over the entire judiciary as we pointed out earlier. The second is the fact that lawyers are dependent on the judiciary thus controlled by the CJ for their very livelihood.  There are other factors at play here as well. Many senior lawyers make more money in a month than senior judges make in a year. In a private company, the boss always gets more money than his subordinates but in the court room, the presiding judge is the boss, but it is those below him who rake in the cash. The vast disparity in the rewards of being in the legal profession with the lawyers skimming off the money and the judges getting the awe and respect is obviously one reason why lawyers never grudge the obsequiousness they routinely bestow on the judiciary.

Lawyers are by the very nature of their profession, imbued with unquestioning obedience towards the judiciary on which they depend so heavily for a living. Their only head is the chief justice who presides over the judiciary and thus controls the fate of all judges and lawyers. So for a lawyer, the chief justice can do no wrong. Most of the time, this culture exists in the legal profession without outsiders even being aware of it. It becomes apparent only when the chief justice makes smelly stuff hit the fan as happened during the time of Sarath N.Silva and now Shirani Bandaranayake.  It is only then that outsiders realise that the legal profession is a monolithic structure dominated by one individual who gets the unquestioning obedience of everyone else. It is a structure that totalitarian dictators can only dream of. The horror is that this situation appertains in the very institutions where the thrust and parry of debate and the room to dissent is so vital.

Reforming the legal set up

Many lawyers have grown so used to this system that they probably do not regard it as any kind of oppression. It is the ‘way’ in the legal profession that many generations of lawyers have got used to. If you ask any lawyer today, “Are you an oppressed wretch who dares not express his opinion freely?” what you will get is a furious denial. It is for us outsiders to judge what the situation is within the legal profession by observing flip flops in the positions taken by the same lawyers depending on who the chief justice is. Watch what happens when the chief justice changes. This concern with fair play for Shirani Bandaranayake will disappear like a puff of smoke. This is not a criticism of the legal profession. If the present writer was a lawyer and dependent on the prevailing system, I too would have followed the same policy because it would have been foolhardy to do otherwise. No individual lawyer can fight the prevailing system, it has to be changed from outside. This culture of fear and of tyrannical rule within the judiciary and the legal fraternity has to end.  In this regard, we recommend the following steps:

1.       The composition of the Judicial Service Commission should change and the decades old practice of making the chief justice the ex-officio chairman of the JSC should end.  The JSC should be chaired only by someone from outside the legal profession (a senior public servant for example) as is the current practice in England. There can be other retired or serving senior judges as well in the JSC, but there should be a number of outsiders who will ensure that the appointment, removal and disciplinary control over the judiciary does not become a secretive and arbitrary exercise indulged in by persons who are not answerable to anyone but themselves.  Intimidation and arbitrary actions by the chief justice against other members of the judiciary figured prominently in the impeachment motion that was drafted against former CJ Sarath N.Silva and similar charges are in the present impeachment motion as well. Looking at it logically, there is no conceivable reason why the CJ has to chair the JSC. The JSC does not fulfil a judicial function. It’s an administrative body.

2.       The arbitrary power that the JSC exercises over the lower judiciary should end, with judicial officers who have been wronged by the JSC being able to appeal to parliament. While debarring the chief justice from sitting on the Judicial Services Commission, and making a non-lawyer the head of the JSC, another important reform would be to have Standing Committee on the Judiciary in parliament (like COPE or the Public Accounts Committee) empowered to among other things to inquire into charges of unfairness by the chief justice in relation to members of the higher judiciary or arbitrary actions on the part of the Judicial Services Commission with regard to the lower judiciary. As of now, there is no oversight over the judiciary at all and this branch of the state rather than becoming the guardian of democracy and fair play has become instead the very citadel of tyranny.

3.      Another vital need is to limit the number of years that someone can sit on the Supreme Court. Former Indian Chief Justice Y.K.Sabharwal once said quoting another writer – Most Judges are not sadists, but sooner or later most of them develop a ‘God complex.’ Shabarwal continued quoting the same writer: “When everyone keeps kowtowing to you; when people laugh at your silliest jokes and listen to your most, trivial utterances though they were the Sermons on the Mount; when the outcome of quarrels and arguments, and often the fates of men, and women and their children rest in your hands; when you cannot be sacked from your job, however, incompetent or senile you become … when, in other words you are treated like God, then it is difficult not to believe in your own divinity. You are addressed as “My Lord”, almost like Him, so naturally you are inclined to believe, He is your colleague. ” This is why it is so vital to ensure that nobody stays too long in the Supreme Court. This can be done in two ways, administratively by not appointing anybody below sixty years of age to the SC so that they will have to retire within five years. The other is to impose a limit of about five years after which the judge is mandatorily retired even he is still below fifty years of age. With such a limit in place many younger persons will not be interested in joining the SC. Well, so much the better because that will ensure that only mature people with long years of experience and the requisite temperament to hold such an august position are appointed to the SC. The last thing we want on the SC bench are ambitious, youthful bounders!

4.      We have to ensure a climate where judges are not afraid to deliver a judgement in accordance with their conscience and to dissent from the views of the chief justice if needs be. The press too should be free to make a fair comment on such judgements without the risk of being jailed for contempt of court. As of now, the press is free to praise any judgement, but criticisms may bring a contempt of court action against you.

5.      Another vital need is to abolish the power of the judiciary to deliver binding decisions on the constitutionality of bills. What we have in Sri Lanka is not a fully-fledged power of ‘judicial review’ which gives the SC the power to decide on the constitutionality of Acts of the legislature even after they have been passed as in the USA. In Sri Lanka the SC has the power to decide on the constitutionality of parliamentary bills only before they are passed. Even this power should be abolished. A study of other countries like the USA (Where this very concept of judicial review originated) and other countries like India which borrowed that concept from the American constitution will reveal that this is nothing but an impediment to the governance of the country. This is nonsensical ideological baggage that everybody has been hauling around for decades for no other reason than it looks intellectually appealing to have ‘judges’ judging the constitutionality of legislation. Perhaps the USA and India can afford to have periodic blow ups between the Judiciary and the Executive and legislature in those countries because they are not recovering from a war or under siege internationally. In Sri Lanka, any blow up between the Judiciary and the other branches of government are not considered an internal matter. Every Western country wants to give opinions on how the Sri Lankan parliament should handle the judiciary. This is a curse that this country can hardly afford. The answer to this problem is to do away with the power of the Supreme Court to determine the constitutionality of bills of parliament and to turn this into a non binding consultation on proposed legislation by parliament or the president so that the expertise of the Supreme Court can be availed of in drafting and fine tuning legislation. This will lead to greater cooperation and harmony and mutual respect between the two branches of government.

6.      A new provision should be introduced into the constitution whereby the courts will be bound to interpret bills in accordance with the ‘intent’ of parliament. The non-binding consultative process that we suggested above will help in acclimatizing the courts to the ‘intent’ behind a piece of legislation.

*Courtesy the Sunday Island 

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    Mr Chadraprema has made a useful suggestion which should be applied not to the Judiciary but to the Executive

    Most Presidents are not sadists, but sooner or later most of them develop a ‘God complex.’ “When everyone keeps kowtowing to you; when people laugh at your silliest jokes and listen to your most, trivial utterances though they were the Sermons on the Mount; when the outcome of quarrels and arguments, and often the fates of men, and women and their children rest in your hands; when you cannot be sacked from your job, however, incompetent or senile you become … when, in other words you are treated like God, then it is difficult not to believe in your own divinity. You are addressed as Your Excellency, almost like God, so naturally you are inclined to believe, that you are God. ” This is why it is so vital to ensure that nobody stays too long in the Presidency.

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    Another good suggestion by Mr Chandraprema which should apply to journalist in the pay of the Govt.

    Journalist of state media are by the very nature of their profession, imbued with unquestioning obedience towards the Govt which they depend so heavily for a living. Their only head is the President who presides over the staate media and thus controls the fate of all Journalist and editors. So for a journalist in state media, the President can do no wrong. Most of the time, this culture exists in the media without outsiders even being aware of it. It becomes apparent only when the editors makes smelly stuff hit the fan as happened during the time of Lasantha Wickrematunga, Fredrica Jansz and Keith Noyar. It is only then that outsiders realise that the state media in Sri Lanka is a monolithic structure dominated by one individual who gets the unquestioning obedience of everyone else. It is a structure that totalitarian dictators can only dream of. The horror is that this situation appertains in the very institutions where the thrust and parry of debate and the room to dissent is so vital.

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    If the CJ is impeached and then after MR is deposed, there will be no lawyer to appear for Chandraprema. He will not get justice either. Because the fear that MR is now instilling in the judiciary will be used by future Presidents also to intimidate courts. Then Chandraprema and all the MR golayas who will be tried by the new regime will be convicted. After CJ is impeached all the judges will be pro-MR and after MR goes, they will all be licking the boots of the new President. Then it will be too late for Chandraprema to be sorry.

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      Well said sir ! This man can write books can’t he? Sucking up kinds?

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      I have seen the transformation of Chandraprema from a free-market liberalist (read his Kolapaata Samaajaya)to a right wing fascist activist (examine his campaign against JVP in 1980s) to a hardcore nationalist (not sure whether Divayina sought after him or he sought after Davayina). He became an anti-Ranil man after Ranil refused to help him when he was persecuted by Chandrika Government by keeping him in Remand prison without trial for more than 6 months on the allegation of killing people under PRAA brand during the JVP insurrection of 1989-91. The long arm of law was directed to subdue him because he had written against Chandrika Government practically every week (read his article, for example, criticising the findings of Vijaya Kumarathunga Commission of which the former CJ Sarath N Silva was a member) and therefore he was very well familiar with witch hunting tactics of governments. It is rumoured that when he was being persecuted by Chandrika Government, his party UNP did not help him. So, naturally, the man turned to Mahinda Rajapaksa to take revenge of Ranil. But now he has gone too far and cannot turn back whatever the final outcome that is waiting for him. He is wise if he can escape even at this stage.

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        So true. If not for the political backing, he won’t get anywhere with the Sunday Island.

        For my part I have stopped reading the paper. I am not paying to read rubbish from a hypocrite and boot-liker

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    Chandraprema`s day dreams.

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    The fool has started again. Chandraprema, you are a Rajapakse stooge, lock stock and barrel. Nothing more. [Edited out]

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    Well said Safa.Why not appoint a politician like Mervyn or Duminda or Pushpakumara as Chairman of the JSC.How are you hoping to find a Public servant of integrity who is not afraid of white vans or trumped charges of misdemeanor.A judge who depends on the goodwill of the Exewcutuve for reappointment or appointment will always try to please the Executive. Mr C wants a subservient Judiciary perhaps.

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    Chandraprema:
    You were a Premadasa stooge and changing to Rajapaksa would have provided no challenge to a bootlicker like you.
    Now that you’ve licked the boots of Gota you should be adept enough at that game to follow up with the rest of the Rajapaksa clan.
    “You defy description,” is the kindest thing I can say about you!

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    Safa,
    You didn’t get the writers point of view to your one track crooked head.

    Writer wrote; “If a government minister or even the president harasses anybody, there will be loud complaints – opposition politicians and the press will all take it up and the matter may even end up in courts. So harassment from the executive has remedies. Harassment within the judiciary however has to be endured in silence.”

    Then he also wrote; “… the press is free to praise any judgement, but criticisms may bring a contempt of court action against you.”

    I feel sorry for the CJ. She should have known the vicious nature of team ‘judicial coup’ of ‘Haultsdorf sharks’ and resisted ‘God complexes’ being developed. As I said before, all these opportunists who back her here will drop her just the way they have dropped SF at her bad moment.
    Leela

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      Actual situation as follows.

      “If a government minister or even the president harasses anybody, there WONT be loud complaints – opposition politicians and the press will NOT take up the matter BECAUSE THEY WOULD BE WHITE VANNED AND DISAPPEAR. So harassment from the executive has NO remedies. Harassment OF the judiciary however has to be endured AND PRAISED BECAUSE OF LOKKAS ORDERS OTHERWISE WE WILL BE SENT HOME.”

      “… the press is free to praise THE PRESIDENT, but criticisms may RESULT IN THEIR PAPER BEING TAKEN OVER AND EDITOR SENT HOME.”

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        This web site is not banned and is freely read in Sri Lanka. Contents of comments in this web site alone proves that your allegation is false. Just a few weeks back, SF and some UNP monks had organised a rally against the government. On 23rd, JVP had organised a protest against the budget in front of the Fort railway station. So, living afar, don’t talk nonsense of harassment. Leela

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          Oops Leela. Is your conscience clear? Is it like the “Daily News” newspaper?
          For the moment CT web site is freely read but definitely the harassment will begin.
          And we hope for the best.

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          Why doesnt the Govt give SF his political rights. What about his pension and military medals. Shame.

          Why doesnt the Govt unblock lankaenews.com ?

          What happened to Pradeep Ekneligoda and Lasantha Wickrematunge?

          Why cant you reveal the truth?

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          Leela, for your information, this was banned three times and after some loud voices made by its editor supported by those in the international community, they have withdrawn it. Even now, some of the articles cannot be accessed and a prompt comes on the screen that the server does not allow you to access the particular article. So, there is selective censorship that is being practised with the collaboration of internet providers in SL. Do not just infer on the state of the freedom of expression by observing the existence of a web site accessible to readers on and off. True freedom of expression is that you must be able to say what you believe to be true and correct without the fear of being persecuted by those in power. Of course, those in power have always tried to suppress your right to do so and have imposed limitations on your rights. In those circumstances, it is the independent judiciary that has protected the citizens’ rights as was demonstrated by the famous Braisgirdle case in the worst of state control system during the British period. We law students were told by our lecturer when he discussed this case that when the Supreme Court delivered the judgment against the British Governor, the lawyer for Braisgirdle, the eminent lawyer Dr Colvin R de Silva shouted outside the courts that “Down with the Governor”. This may be an exaggeration but it shows the extent of freedom enjoyed by people even during the Colonial period.

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          hey you ?.
          can you tell us which P R company you are working?.

          because most of the readers and bloggers are not writing to this forum for money.
          but I think I have a clue, that your employer pay you very well with bonus.

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      Leela:
      Why on earth do you not go back to practicing the oldest profession in the world or doesn’t it pay as well as Sycophancy in 21st Century Sri Lanka!

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      Finally, Leela, yo make a wee bit of sense. Looks like we can expect the first fissures in your blind faith to the MR clan and their brand of politics. Please keep reading the CT and the education of Leela can commence in earnest :)

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      Leela, a slipper soup swallower of the regime like you cannot be expected to write anything else than your terrible dribble here! I am sure maggots like you cannot find even a grave pit to bury your filthy carcass!

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    No one is talking about impeaching the President, despite his many criminal acts. In fact, thanks to the Executive Presidency, the President cannot be impeached. This is not the case in places like the USA, where the President can be impeached. More importantly, if the President is above impeachment, then he is above the law, and the influence of the Supreme Court in judicial matters is negligible. As I wrote two years ago, on a different venue:

    It is my understanding that it is impossible to bring any sort of impeachment motion against the President. In other words, the only two ways to “get rid” of a President amount to : (1) assassination, and (2) elections. (1) is not much of an issue for MR; (2) however, presents certain *obvious* difficulties. However, there are numerous factors which work in his favor: a weakened Opposition, a rather docile media, a military run by his brother, and a subservient Supreme Court. I would say the first and the last one are especially important. In theory, the Supreme Court should be able to overrule the Executive Head of State. After all, the Supreme Court is in a better position to interpret the law (in fact, that is its sole occupation). On the other hand, Parliament makes the laws , within the boundaries set by the Constitution. Now, anyone should be able to see the danger: if the Supreme Court cannot enforce its own interpretation of the law, then Parliament (effectively the Government) is both making and interpreting the law. The fact that the Opposition is essentially in a state of paralysis does not help things along. In the long run, the *law* will become yet another plaything for the ruling family. In principle, the situation is very much reminiscent of a dictatorship.

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      We the people can criticize the President, ministers and MPs and even impeach them at the elections, but none can talk any bad done by judges or the CJ leave out remove them however bad they were. That’s the crux of the matter Chandraprema was talking.
      Leela

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        I would say that the trend is more like, if the government is corrupt, then so too is the judiciary. Both of them use each other for personal gain. Example: the present CJ said yes to the 18th Amendment, while under MR’s patronage, her spouse got away with money laundering. Now, we can easily debate which party is worse, but the point is that, in a dictatorship, the rot begins at the very top.

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          That’s is exactly what Chandraprema was talking about. We can remove the President at next presidential elections, but CJ? One track mind separatists do not want to understand that. They just want to degrade MR with lies and hearsay and pave the way to remove him. And that’s what I am against.
          Leela

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        I hate people who steal my ideas, before I think of them. @)

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        Things are not so simple, dear Leela. A free election in SL is quite unlikely. As I wrote elsewhere on CT, the 18th amendment provides a greater incentive for the ruling incumbent to rig the elections. The longer MR stays in power, the greater the opportunity to amass wealth. In this regard, we can learn from the Middle East. Mubarak did not leave easily, neither did Gadaffi, and Assad is fighting with everything he has. As Mangala Samaraweera mentioned in his Parliament speech, the Rajapakses will be billionaires (USD) by 2015. Mubarak was worth 70 billion USD by the time he was forced out. Mahinda has even greater advantage than Mubarak, in that he totally controls the military. No revolution to overthrow the government in SL could be successful without military cooperation. Now, Mahinda is just taking the final step, which is to get rid of the CJ and install a puppet. This way, no one will be able to contest the results of a rigged election in the Courts. A very clever strategy, indeed.

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          Lester,
          Do you know how long MR has been President? Not even seven years. Yet, you are comparing him to Mubarak and Ghaddaffi who led one part states for decades. Absurd! But, I say; MR has done much much more to Sr Lanka than all the former presidents done during their 28 years in power.

          I live in a village in Sri Lanka. I am telling you, there has been no rigging at any elections after 2005. That computer ‘jilmart’ is just catch word by Somahansa.

          The fact that SF had won all Tamil majority districts including a one in central province and the UNP won Colombo municipality convincingly is enough to show won elections had been fair. Face the reality; 75% of Sinhala Buddhists do vote for MR even today. And that’s the truth.
          Leela

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          Leela sees always one side. It is just because MR is her hero. There are many on villages that do the same. She says, there were no vote rigging in that last election. EC of the election himself made clear more or less that he was not able to handle it properly. Even if the WORD computer jilmart came from Somawanshe, were there any investigations on that ? There were bundles of ballot sheets that were lately found on drains in Ratnapura area – most of the them were pro SF. Could anyone be able to bring a constructive answers to all these in the aftermath of the pre election ? Internationl community had made statements that the election was not at all free and fair. So, even if Leela ^s stupid villagers may add pro govt statements – majority of this county are int he opinion – that REELECTION of MR was mainly because of all ill practices made by MR and his thugs.

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        These people fix the elections as well.

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        OK , we shall refrain from criticizing the Executive, the Government, Goons, Bootlicker’s, etc., etc., on condition that you Leela, would submit a comment regarding the Vermin’s recent antic. Chandraperuma would of course be submitting his opinion on same soon.

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      Leela,

      Please tell me what Mahinda has “achieved” during his 7 yrs of rule, other than winning the war. Even winning the war must be seen as a hollow victory, if there is no plan to go for devolution. Devolution – in the form of federalism is the only lasting solution to the ethnic conflict. But forget federalism – MR has even rejected the 13th Amendment! It is also arguable whether MR and his associates took the correct approach when it came to fighting the war. Many of the practices applied during the war – such as increasing the size of the military, silencing the democratic press, borrowing heavily in foreign financial markets – have continued after the war. Some of these things may have been justifiable during the war, but certainly not now. Now, there is no excuse for the government to spend more than 50% of the budget on defense, while less than 2% goes to education.

      Yes, Mahinda Rajapakse is building an empire. His family controls 70% of the island’s wealth already. Every development project that falls under the umbrella of a “Rajapakse Ministry” means millions of rupees in kickbacks for the Rajapakse clan. So, it is no surprise tha the value of their assets will reach 9 zero’s eventually. As I said, dictators who are firmly entrenched in power will not let go so easily. The worst thing about Mahinda, compared to all other past presidents, is that he will not hesitate to even change the Constitution, if it suits his agenda. When you mess with the Constitution, that is the final end of democracy. That is why it is critical for the Supreme Court to stand up to Mahinda and his mischevious plans. If the job of interpreting the law falls to people like Mervyn and Wimal, Sri Lanka is doomed.

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        Lester,
        Rajiv Gandhi and JRJ have bequeathed us 13A and nine PCs that neither Tamils nor Sinhalas asked for. Like it or not we are stuck with them today.

        Though Tamils rejected 13A and PCs then, they demand it now for they think they could get to Eelam that way. That’s our understanding. Hoards of Sinhalas and Mervins particularly in all PCs like it for they could cruise around in new vehicles and often the world for free and use it as a stepping stone to promote to the next level of corruption. Apart from that all PCs are clearly white elephants.

        80% incomes of all PCs are spent on administration leaving just 20% to carry out assortment of work they are delegated. So, we have been riding on pothole roads and tatty bridges until Rajapakses moved on to PC domain. Lack power and revenue is their excuse by all PCs for not doing the job. That’s bunkum. So, demand by TNA for more power to PCs than ‘Tamil Nadu’ State has is a joke and a waste.

        Sinhalese are not averse to devolution. They are all for towns and villages manage their own affairs. But we are not for allowing PCs – which are smaller than some municipalities of ‘Tamil Nadu’ – to override the Parliament.

        Land mass cannot be a simple local affair to allow a small racist and jingoistic population to control in a small country. It would lead to ‘Bantu Land’ concept or no go areas. We are not in favor of devolving police powers either for we cannot let disputes like the one that Tamil Nadu and Karnataka had for Carvery river water develop between our PCs. We want every inch of Sri Lanka open for all its citizens.

        I cannot say anything about wealth of Rajapakses Empire for ‘Fortune 500’ is still to list it yet. For one thing, if we go by various creations of the rumor mills at the last Presidential election, Appolo (Lanka) hospital, Swarnvahini media house, a chunk of Air-tel, etc and etc, and every other large house in Colombo and most estates in the countryside are already owned by Rajapakses. With your projection of a ‘trillion’, Rajapakses would end up buying every real estate and business houses not just in Lanka but chunks of Tatas, Birlas and Ambanis as well.
        Leela

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          Actually Leela, before there were “Provincial Councils”, there were “District Development Councils.” However, these DDC’s were abolished in 1983 and replaced with “Emergency Regulations.” It is not the Tamils who are against devolution, it is the Sinhala-Buddhist extremists in the South. Prabhakaran understood that very well, which is why he didn’t go for a political settlement; he knew there would be too much opposition from the South. You see, any political settlement has to go through the Parliament . The last time a Sinhalese – under Ranil Wickremasinghe – tried to negotiate fairly with the Tamils, the Parliament was dissolved to suit the agenda of Sinhala-Buddhist nationalism.

          We can see, in the total absence of the LTTE , who the true racists are. The war ended in 2009. It should be very easy to find a political settlement for the Tamil question. Instead what we have seen is the increased militarization and colonization of traditional Tamil lands.

          Devolution does not just benefit Tamils, it also benefits the Sinhalese. The larger the army becomes, the more stupid the general population becomes. That is because maintaining such a large army requires extensive resources, which take away from basic human development mechanisms, such as education and healthcare. There are also compelling economic reasons as to why such a large army is counterproductive for a developing third-world nation like Sri Lanka. The presence of soldiers everywhere keeps foreign investors away, the military starts businesses that take away vital income from local businesses, and there is little incentive for new businesses to open up in an atmosphere of armed intimidation and corruption.

          You may not believe the Rajapakses are on the road to becoming billionaires (9 zeroes is a billion, btw, not a trillion), but that is the path taken by every 3rd world dictator. When there is no accountability, the human nature is to engage in corruption. Here is a list of Indian politicians and their Swiss Bank accounts. What makes you think Sri Lanka is any different?

          http://incredibleorissa.com/en/black-money-in-swiss-bank-mainly-from-india/

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        100% agree with you- but how many of us make up the lanken population ? And howmany of Leelas and the like make up the population of the country ?

        So long people would stay calm and quiet – Mervin will be behaving like a circus man shamelessly in this way.

        Besides what does he expect from people by behaving in this way ? If kelaniya should be much sacred – why to behave in this way ?

        I have no doubt, that every corner of the country people discuss the situaiton befoer them today, although Leela s folks would furtehr remain bending their heads to MR regime. I have the feeling – GOSL will not last longer as those Leelas predict. Wait and See.

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    who wrote kolapata samajaya and who is thadi priyantha this chandrapema now he change the tune and ask diplomat post shame

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    “The conspicuous absence of lawyers at the memorial lecture also can be explained by a desire on the part of the legal fraternity not to be present where there was the possibility of hearing any banned words such as ‘judicial integrity’.
    There is a desire on the part of members of the legal fraternity not to even be seen in a place where there was the slightest possibility of judicial ethics being discussed lest it rubs someone on the wrong side.”

    This is Mr Chanrdaperuma talking!

    He quotes Delgoda’s words: “Moreover, the current turn of events underscores a matter of even greater significance. The inadequacies and flaws of the present constitutional framework with regard to the independence of the judiciary. “

    But he quickly passes over them and continues with his harangue about the lawyers.

    After he is finished with his harangue, he proceeds straight on to making proposals for changing the constitution. He takes aim at the judiciary and does not waste any of his thinking on how to curb the Parliament or the President. Indeed, i we follow his recommendations, those institutions will become even stronger.

    He does not like the idea that the rulings of the SC on constitutional matters should be binding.

    He advocates an end to the ‘arbitrary power of the JSC’ over the lower judiciary. To him, the judiciary has become a ‘citadel of tyranny’

    Mr Chandraperuma really takes the cake and ale.

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      Roshan,
      Aim f Mr. Chandraprema’s article here is to elucidate the reader on prevailing dictatorship in the judiciary and not on how ‘to curb the Parliament or the President’. You should have taken him on its clearly revealed manifestation in the judiciary and the short comings if any on his proposals to restrict judicial tyranny. Alas, you talk malle pol.
      Leela

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        I do hope you watched the circus of clowns in smart coat and ties smashing coconuts like thugs and ignorant people . This says so much for the SL judiciary . Absolute disgrace and shocking behaviour of the so called ” Professionals ” . Then there is the entrance of the Chief justice glowing with a broad grin and acknowledging with thanks these so called lawyers who are trying to get the best positon to suck up to her so that they make sure that she see their faces. This would later bring them rich rewards in the Judiciary .One is reminded of film stars on a red carpet arrivng for the oscars.What a joke !

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          Kumudini

          What we don’t see is that the spectacle is staged for the benefit of the believers- aka known as the President and the PSC. Since they are strong believers of the Deity, the fear of the almighty would be put into these jokers’ minds and they will be forced to counter the bad effect of the pooja. One can distract them to some extent I guess!

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    This is all very well said but Weeramantry is seen reluctant to comment on the judiciary and its role in sri lanka.
    The common man is not bothered with the neceties of the law,but is only concerned with obtaining swift justice from the judiciary.He does
    not like to be arrested & incarcerated without sufficient reason, based solely on only what police say about him, but also on his own & if necessary,his family’s testimony.He wants a lawyer to advice him during interrogation by police.He wants his court case to proceed reasonably quickly without unnecessry “dates”,and certainly does not wish to be imprisoned – called “remand” – without having been found guilty by due process.He wants to avoid such unjust incarceration by being given every opportunity to provide bail.
    He wants to be treated like a human being in courthouses,by being given a chair to sit,before case begins,& later,near his lawyer during the hearing,and not like a monkey in a cage in the vicinity of courts.
    He wants to hear the postmortem findings if anyone near & dear to him who had died unnaturally.He wants all evidence – from the crime scene & elsewhere ready when his case is called for the first time.
    Let legal experts argue about ‘constitutional’ & other laws,he is not bothered.

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      I tend to agree with you.

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      i am heartily SICK of the adulation of Christie Weeramantry. I challenge anyone to find one occasion when he has spoken against the blatant violation of ethics and legal norms that this government and its stooges have been guilty of.
      Mahinda Rajapaksa does not reward any independent voices with awards of any description and fans of Mr. W would do well to check the matter of this gentleman’s acceptance by the ruling regime.

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    Chandraprema, you are an A..H… licking the boots of Medamulana Meeharaka! What a shame?

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      Candraprema is not licking only the boots of Madamulana Maha Meeharaka. he is licking his ass and bullish horn.

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    i would like the mahanaike to be impeached. i am not quite sure whether there are one or more of them. anyway if there are more than one, all of them got to be impeaced and sent to old peoples homes to spend rest of their lives. bikkus should be rounded up but i don’t think i would be allowed by ct to say what i would like to say. so i will leave that to your imagination.

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      Hang in there Rama,
      Mahanayakas are on MR’s next HITLIST.

      :-)

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      Rama,
      You are a typical member of MR’s opposition that Kumar David desperately wanted to unite. Keep it up.
      Leela

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    A stooge of an internationally infamous tyrant talking about the “unbridled tyranny of the judiciary..” Enjoy the ride on the gravy train while you may!

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    Perhaps Chandraprema does not know that CG Weeramantry was the youngest SC judge!!

    His comments about the lawyers as prisoners is very true. But not giving talent and skill recognition but go for seniority made former colonies backward. In USA it is talent not age that matters.

    Our problem is giving up morals for money. Which court will us ethe Hunuvataye kathava??

    Yes, lawyers have become a curse in the world. This is so in Sri Lanka, worse in USA. Or in India where lawyers have a plank of wood on bricks as his office under a siyambala tree on the land next to the court.

    This was why Shakespeare said, Let us first kill all the lawyers.

    So many brief-less, bogus lawyers are MPs. This too must not be forgotten

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    Mr Chandraprema should better write about things he knows best- like gay rights, non-discrimination of homosexuals, popularising use of condoms among homosexuals to prevent spread of AIDS.

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      Oh! Now we know. Kolapata samajaya!

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    My only question Mr.Chandraperuma is President Mahinda Rajapakse knowing that he goes to Temple every other day taking pansil, and giving Atapirikara dana to prilates, knowing that CJ’s husband was fired from his job, knowing that she is the only bread winner in the family, knowing that judiciary secretary was attacked by thugs few weeks ago, knowing that the corruption, intimidation, haressment his best buddy Mervin and his son Malaka doing to public and still keep pardoning them, knowing that he wasted Rs: 800 million tax payer money for a failed CW games bid, Knowing the mass murderer Julampitiya Amare kept in jail pending trials, knowing that the UN investigating him on war crime, knowing all his 350 some family members are given all the top govt. positions without basic qualifications and experience etc, etc,…knowing all these don’t you think MR could have settled this issue amicably with CJ, without humiliating the whole judiciary and the country in front of the world…If you could give me your thoughts….

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      Who knows, MR may have learned that CJ is plotting with that coterie of NGOs and ‘Hulftsdorp sharks’ for a judicial coup.
      Leela

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        Leela:
        At least if you could prove how the Law scholar Namal Rajapakse got Sri Lanka’s history ever 98 marks seated alone in an air condition room with a computer beside, answering the Law paper.

        Who corrected his law paper….can they release the answer paper to public.

        If I take a bet with you…given another test to Namal, if he could get 75 marks (leave alone 98)….I will shave my whole body and stand na.ed in Galle Face Green for a whole day, with a banner saying “Namal is a Law scholar”…

        If he fails test you should do same…

        Can you agree….

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          Great comment. Jayantha, we are on failed state. This is becoming provable to many day by day. … WE HAVE TO HAVE A GREAT PATIENCE..

          Leela or kumudunis are hallocinated by MR^s magical powers.

          So Leela, for sure, will not leave a response to your question.

          That is typcial leela. Most of our poplation is sadly of Leelas today.

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          Jayantha,
          I am sorry I cannot answer your quiz for neither I follow Namal nor have I any connection to the law collage.
          Appuwa,
          Remember! Not so long ago, NGOs and many a western journal portrayed Sri Lanka as a failed state. Now a days we do not hear such moans but a new bogey, ‘dictatorship’. But, you will see mass will ignore all such diabolical claims at coming elections. What’s up next, eh?
          Leela

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      Knowing that helping hambanthota account etc

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    This Judas is day dreaming while sucking the thrown out bones by Madamulana gangsters

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    “They just want to degrade MR with lies and hearsay and pave the way to remove him. And that’s what I am against.” -Leela

    Really?
    It’s getting harder to believe in anything.
    :-)

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    Leela says I am talking malle pol.

    She is all over this column trying to defend the indefensible. And she is not doing a good job of it. I do not wish to engage in plucking hair out of eggs, as she is trying to do.

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      Sadly, we are on a country where Leelas are the majority – at least right at the moment – can you imagine ?

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    I am inclined to agree with reader Safa (25/11) Alexander Great, according to Lord Bertrand Russel, thought of himself as God since
    everyone around him and those he came across in the many countries he conquered bowed to him and spoke to him in the most glowing and reverential terms. Russel thought at the latter stages Alexander was driven to madness. Here in Sri Lanka we had a VVIP, with bare education, who came from the slums – and could not shake his habits or culture therefrom until he came to his death. The man thought he was of a breed above the ordinary human beings. Cunning and self-serving sycophants around him continued to feed him he was very special. The man too was believed to be suffering from some form of lunacy as he even virtually went to war with two powerful countries.

    In fairness to MR, he is made of more earthly stuff. His agenda is to corner the resources of the country as much as possible within the long innings he has in mind. He will stop at nothing – legal or illegal. The two trusted siblings, in the same low IQ level, cannot offer him the direction and counsel he badly needs. He cares tuppence of what others think of him – here or elsewhere. His weakness is he thinks people tend to forget EVERYTHING after a brief period. This can eventually be his undoing – sooner or later.

    More to the subject, Chandraprema’s title of this piece appears to be more a statement and an inapired warning to the CJ from “the higher place” – to which obviously the omnipresent writer is reported to have easy and ready access.

    Senguttuvan

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    More to the subject, Chandraprema’s title of this piece appears to be more a statement and an inapired warning to the CJ from “the higher place” – to which obviously the omnipresent writer is reported to have easy and ready access.

    Senguttuvan

    the point missed by most!

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    Leela,

    It is not true that Provincial Councils are white elephants.

    In the 2013 budget,a massive sum of Rs 130 Billion(White Elephants!) is allocated for all the Provincial Councils.

    But unfortunately 80-90% of this Rs 130 billion are earmarked for payments- Personal Emoluments of Health and Education sectors.

    All schools other than the National Schools are run by the Provincial Councils.

    Similarly all hospitals other than the teaching hospitals are maintained by the Provincial Councils

    The salaries of the doctors, nurses and teachers are paid out of these Personal emoluments.The hospitals and schools are maintained.

    Other expenditures include those for social services, probation and Child care, agriculture, irrigation and cooperatives.

    The central Road Development Authority maintains A and B class roads ie major highways connecting districts and these are the roads experiencing massive reconstruction under the government, not the Provincial C and D class roads which are continued to be maintained by the provincial councils and facing step motherly treatment as noticed by you.

    Even if tomorrow all the Provincial Councils are abolished all these expenditures will be continued to be incurred.

    Only difference is that the expenditures will be transferred to the Centre.

    Can you close down all the schools, hospitals, provincial roads, irrigation tanks and do away with social services, rural development, cooperatives and sports?

    What one could do is to transfer all the funds to the centre and continue with the same expenditure hitherto diverted to Provincial councils.

    Only savings possible is the saving by the abolition of Governors, Provincial Ministers and the Provincial Heads of Departments, The expenses of which are negligible.

    There is no white elephant.

    It is a mirage.It is only a white rat.

    Sorry Leela search some other valid excuses for the abolition of 13A.

    This is for you Leela and to other misinformed columnists.

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      Srikrishna,
      This is what Lankatruth, JVP paper had reported dateline 29th Nov 2012.

      The budget of the North-Central Provincial Council was passed yesterday (27th) with 19 UPFA members voting for and the single JVP member opposing. The UNP group abstained from voting. It is stated that UPFA Members voted for the budget and the UNP abstained as they had been promised a tour to Malaysia at the taxpayers’ expense.

      Members of the UPFA and the UNP are already preparing for the overseas tour. They have submitted their names and passport numbers to the Provincial Secretary for the seven-day visit. The tour will cost Rs.300,000 for each member in the council which has 33 members.

      All these members had been on a tour of Malaysia this January as well.

      What do you say? Can we afford this lot in addition to Mervins.
      Leela

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    Is Mr Chandraprema gone nuts with the receipt of “Lap Top & Duty Free Car Permit”?

    If you go by his argument no lawyer will be able to do justice to his/her clients or the Judiciary without being on the “good books” of the Judge. So according to his theory, there is practically no legal system operating in Sri lanka. You cannot get a lawyer, however much he/she is capable, without first checking his/her being favoured by the Judges.

    This same idea was (taken from Mr. Chandraprema,s araticle) given over to the Sri Lankan,(Sinhala) listners over the SLBC by its Chairman, Mr. Hudson Samarasinghe through his programme “Dasa Desin”.

    All Legal Professionals must take strong objection to this type of presentation which in actual fact goes to “degrade” the Lawuyers and the Court Proceeddings.

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    OK….If 50% of the budget is controlled and allocated among 3 MR SIBLINGS, and if we allocate the balance 50% say among another 6 MINISTERS…or even 10 MINISTERS, why on earth we need a 225 member parliament…..
    Isn’t this the biggest white elephent they have ever created….

    If Leela..or anybody could explain…

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    Leela,
    Thanks,
    You are absolutely correct,but if you really go through the Financial Statements of all 09 Provincial Councils for the year 20013, you will get a clear picture how the funds are dispersed by the Provincial Councils and you will observe that the Provincial Councils have any funds for any development activities other than payment of Salaries.

    However as I commented in my previous observation, the bulk of these salaries are paid to doctors, teachers, nurses and so on. If tomorrow the even if the provincial councils become defunct the center ie the government AT Colombo has to meet these payments.

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    Can we please have some peace at this website from the never ending verbal bunfights with some Person Called “Leela.”By now we should know that this person is a Mahinda Rajapaksa unabashed Slipper licking sucker.Probably a government plant, with a pseudonym .This disgusting creature shows the extent to which she or he stoops to defend the crude uncouth uneducated dictatorial Rajapaksa Clan. Any sensible person should avoid replying to this stupid persons rantings. Whatever replies we make is like water flowing off a Ducks Back it never registers.

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