25 September, 2020

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Judiciary: The Line Of Battle Has Been Clearly Drawn

By AHRC –

At the Bar Association election this year, Mr. Upul Jayasooriya was elected with an overwhelming majority. He won by a margin of over 1,471 votes while the persons who came in second and third received 330 and 77 votes. It was well known that oner of the candidates was openly promoted by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. However, the lawyers of the country voted for a candidate who openly took up a position opposing the move of the government to remove Dr. Shirani Bandaranayke, as the Chief Justice. It can be said that this election is an expression of no confidence against the government’s severe interference into the judicial independence.

CJ Shirani

It is hope that the election will lead to a continuation of the resistance of lawyers to the direct undermining of the independence of the judiciary by the government. The very survival of the legal profession rests on the capacity of the lawyers to resist the virtual destruction of the very foundations on which the legal profession is rooted, which are the independence of the judiciary and the separation of powers. The government has pushed its agenda for the exercise of absolute power to the point where the independence of the judiciary is no longer possible.

However, the government also cannot deviate from the course it has set out upon by way of by way of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. Furthermore, according to reports, the government is also contemplating further legislation to strengthen its attempt to take absolute power.

In Sri Lanka today there is open conflict between the law and the mode of governance that the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime is pursuing. The government’s does whatever it pleases irrespective of whether it undermines the laws of the country. That, ‘whatever the government wants’ is law, is the policy now.

Therefore, the conflict with the judiciary and the lawyers is a course that the government appears to be unable to avoid. That the destruction of the legal foundation of the country, will also result in the destruction of the legal profession seems to be of no concern to the government.

Therefore, the line of battle has been clearly drawn. If the legal profession wishes to protect itself it must fight vigorously for the protection of the law in the country. This protection also requires the independence of the judiciary. If there is a move to use the judiciary itself to destroy the law, then the legal profession will have very little choice but to oppose this move.

Had the legal profession realized its obligations towards the protection of the law in Sri Lanka, it would have opposed the destruction which has been taking place for several decades now. Even the belated realisation of the danger faced by the very survival of the profession is a welcome signal, not only for the legal profession but also for the country as a whole. No country can survive without the law. And the kind of executive presidential system that has developed in the country is in direct conflict with the law. Therefore, the citizens who care for their rights, can no longer avoid a confrontation with the government’s attempt to destroy that very foundation. The attack on the law and the independence of the judiciary by the government endangers the survival of the Sri Lankan legal system.

We therefore congratulate the lawyers for the manner in which they have expressed their opposition to the government’s move to destroy the law and the independence of the judiciary and we hope the new office bearers of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, will live up to the expectations of those who voted for them, by carefully developing and implementing their strategies to protect the law and the independence of the judiciary in Sri Lanka.

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Latest comments

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    The election is triumph for Justice against the evil manipulations of the regime. The margin speaks for itself. Lawyers are generally from diverse backgrounds and reflect the pulse of society. It is a good sign that the collective conscience of the people is now stirring.

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      Majority of the lawyers has nothing to do with ordinery citizen matters as they deal only with criminals and live on their money in the highly inefficient system of judiciery that prevails in the country only for the benefit of the law professions who are just another group of proffesionals.

      MR has to do what he thinks good as he knows that he is the one who will be responsible for what ever happen in his rule and as he has been given a clear mandate by the people of this country he should do what he think right. No CJ or blood sucking lawyers

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        The BASL must now push to get rid of the corrupt clown Mohan Peris and the reinstatement of Dr. Shiranee Bandaranaiyake.

  • 0
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    Earnestly hope that Upul Jayasuriya will not abuse the trust vested in him by the general membership, who will carefully watch every move of the new leadership.

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    The 18th Amendment is the shaky foundation of the Executive Presidency.
    It is already creaking and shaking having being undermined by the ommisions and commissions by that presidency itself.What Mr.Upul Jayasooriya should do is to hasten the toppling process,that’s all.He has the entire legal fraternity behind him to do just that and the support of the whole country.Let his election as President of the SLBA be an indication for the outcome of the big election for Justice to triaumph.Let him commence work right away.

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    Judiciary with the new Cheap Justice appears to be a nationalized corporation of the government. With this new election of the Bar Association it appears there is still some sort of resistance from the Bar members. The next step, following the same strategy that has been used in the past, the government will try to either form an alternative association with its stooges supporting it or attacking the members and office bearers as they did to Wijedasa Rajapakse.

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    It is hope that the election will lead to a continuation of the resistance of all people in sri lanka against the corrupt dictatorial rule.

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    Still the general membership cannot understand what went wrong with the previous leadership and as to why Wijedasa Rajapakse (unless he had compromised with the President Rajapakse) failed to take a hardline stand against the unlawful impeachment process launched against the CJ Bandaranayake and to convey a clear message to the govt that BASL would not resume work until the legitimate CJ is allowed to return to work. Now the entire burden is in the new leadership and membership is watching what effective moves it takes to restore the install rule of law and to respect the integrity of the Judiciary by the government.

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    WE ARE HAPPY ABOUT THE OUTCOME OF THE ELECTIONS AT BASL.
    WELL THIS IS NOT THE FIRST TIME RAJAPAKSE COULD NOT “WIN”
    SHIBLY AZIZ TOO WON AGAINST RAJAPAKSE NOMINEE.
    WELL ELECTIONS ARE OVER.
    NOW WE WANT THEM TO START WORKING ON THE PROCESS OF CLEANSING THE JUDICIARY AND OF COURSE THIS DICTATORSHIP.

  • 0
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    DONT HOPE TOO MUCH FROM LAWYERS.

    THE WHOLE PROFESSION – BENCH AND BAR – STINKS

    THEY SHOWED THAT AFTER THE ILLEGAL cj SHOVED HIMSELF INTO THE SEAT AFTER PUSHING THE LADY OFF

    GET REAL

    LOOK AT THE HISTORY OF THIS DISGRACEFUL PROFESSION

    THEY ARE BLOOD SUCKERS AND MOSQUITOES – GET YOUR MORTEIN

    • 0
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      Everybody deserves a second chance and the Lawyers’ have got theirs NOW !

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    Let me first say that we are a free country because of Mahinda Rajapakse. We must admire his courage to defeat LTTE and unite the country. However, I am very disappointed with the way he handles the internal affairs of Sri Lanka. His policies have been distructive to the country’s wellbeing. If he wants to be in Sri Lanka history books as a great leader like King Dutugamunu or King Parakama Bahu he must resign with dignity and not to persue the a distructive politics by distroying the good deeds of the country.
    Dula Amarasinghe

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