By Vibhushana Pieris –
CJ’s removal blocked at Commonwealth Judges Conference: Should one compromise the integrity for private considerations
Those in the law practice in Sri Lanka are well aware that Justice Sriskandarajah was sidelined by the Rajapaksa administration for his stand against the undermining of judiciary by the Executive. He is one of the few judges in the Court of Appeal, who had the courage to uphold the rule of law and quash the findings by the PSC that removed the CJ Shirani Bandaranayake by unlawful means. The Supreme Court did the same but Judges in both Courts failed to sustain their stand in the wake of tremendous pressure that they were brought under by the Rajapaksa regime.
The very same Judiciary that declared the whole process adopted by the Rajapaksa regime to remove CJ Bandaranayake a nullity and quashed the finding made against the Chief Justice Bandaranayake was forced to accept Mohan Pieris as the Chief Justice. These Judges did so for other quantifiable considerations such as Brand New Mercedes cars promised for all judges by Mohan Pieris.
All of them knew what they were doing was amounting to betrayal of trust placed in them by the people but they did for private considerations, which was clearly deplorable and unacceptable by any means. All judges were well aware that Mohan Pieris had no moral and legal right to accept the office of the Chief Justice because there was no vacancy existed as both the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal had declared the removal was a nullity and had declared process adopted to remove the CJ was also unlawful.
Whilst most others with some degree of conscience refused to accept the office of the CJ offered by the Rajapaksa regime, Mohan Pieris blatantly violating the law of the land accepted it. Every one who was offered the office of the CJ but declined to accept it knew that as required by the Constitution, no one could declare and affirm to defend the Constitution and the Rule of Law, as the acceptance of the office of the CJ itself was amounting to violation of the Constitution and the Rule of Law. Because there was no vacancy existed for the office of the Chief Justice with the two judgments pronounce by the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal.
However the mood in the judiciary and the official and private bar did not last long. Very same lawyers who cried against the unlawful removal of the CJ conveniently compromised with their integrity and they simply set aside all the differences. They simply had the audacity to accept and address Mohan Pieris ‘Lord Chief Justice’ in the Supreme Court, providing somewhat acceptance to the forced change in the office of the CJ.
Justice Sriskandarajah was not an exception. He may have thought enough is enough because he had been victimized for so long and may have decided to compromise with his integrity.
For his stand taken to defend the Rule of Law he was well respected but in return what this judge received was a step motherly treatment from the regime that interfere with the administration of justice in this country. He should have been promoted to the Supreme Court long time ago. Well before the Justice Hettige, who was much junior in his career in the judiciary, was promoted to the Supreme Court, sideling Justice Sriskandarajah.
When Justice Imam retired some time back Justice Sriskandaraha should have been elevated to the Supreme Court but President Rajapaksa’s direct interference with the Judiciary denied him of his legitimate expectations. Instead Justice Rohini Marasinghe, who openly defended the unlawful removal of the Chief Justice, and other wrongdoings of the regime, was elevated to the Supreme Court.
It is very unfortunate that Justice Sriskandaraha who suffered sustained discrimination in the hands of the Rajapaksa regime lost his character altogether and had a U turn in the stand he maintained so long. Apparently with an assurance of a promotion to the Supreme Court, Justice Sriskandarajah, attending at the Commonwealth Judges Conference in London held on 23rd Sep 2013, opposed the issue of impeachment of the CJ Bandaranayaka being raised at the conference. The message is clear and he will duly rewarded by the Rajapaksa for the ‘service rendered to the nation’ by becoming a subservient judge at the cost of clear betrayal of the trust placed in him by the people.
bganendra / October 2, 2013
The judge has lost his self respect, when he invited MR to his son’s wedding.
Kapila / October 2, 2013
Tamil judges have been sidelined and discriminated as are Tamil academics. The reasons for the ethnic conflict prevail. There are very few Tamils in the public sector today because the regime that has politicized all secotrs – education, health, justice does not trust Tamils..
SO, most qualified Tamils leave the country or eventually compromise as Sriskandaraja aparently has..
But this is a very sorry state of affairs – the most talented folk are leaving and there is a massive BRIAN DRAIN from Lanka which today is run by a family of uneducated thugs and criminals and their cronies – Voila the miracle of Asia!
Anti B / October 2, 2013
Kapila well said …hola///
RajasH / October 3, 2013
well we have high flying Sinhala intellectuals
Oshada Rodrigo – son of the Law College Principal passed the law exams with Flying Colours
Namal Rajapske – topped in his year
Sajith – has degree from LSE
We have our own Mervyn who is a Dr Mervyn Silva
the above measures are necessary to meet the gap. I
in the meantime to stop both Tamil and Sinhala brain drain (some of my Shinhala intellectual are also leaving the country) the government is setting up an inquiry to as Mahinda would put it to Al Jazeera
Uthungan / October 2, 2013
Justice Sriskandarajah had no alternative but to in the end flex his spine.He had no chance ,no alternative like the man who is unconcerned about morality will not be interested in immorality.
Thiru / October 2, 2013
Tamils as a community is denied justice from 1958, with periodic state sponsored pogroms and recent genocide. What did the justice system do watching the gross injustices heaped on Tamils? Rule of law ceased to exist from then.
In London when there was riots in the recent past the perpetrators were hunted down and imprisoned, that is rule of law!
Why all the fuss about replacing one CJ with another: Neither will provide justice to Tamils or other minorities. When Shirani was CJ weren’t the Muslim mosques attacked with impunity?
When the minister of justice says in public that the rule of law does not exist now, will restoring the former CJ change anything?
Sri Lanka is moving towards institutionalized anarchy.
Safa / October 2, 2013
It is the a cultural trait that we ‘don’t trouble trouble until trouble troubles you’. So many of our professionals prefer to go about business as usual without fighting a lone battle where in the end one is deserted by ones allies and friends.
The fault lies with those who passed 18A. The rot is due to our political system and politicians who engage in politics without principles. ‘Politics without principles’, one of the seven deadly sins – Mahatma Ghandi. The cancer of impunity has spread through the body politic and is now past redemption. There is little a lone judge can do about it.
The only solution is a strong opposition movement which is at present a pipe dream due to the attitude of the leader of the opposition, RW. As long as he is around the family is safe to do as it pleases and the nation continues to suffer.
Banda / October 2, 2013
You being a Tamil question the ‘justice to Tamils or other minorities’ as if Tamils were pussy cats and not tigers for the last 30 years. What about the justice for those that were killed and maimed by 384 tigers exploded in our buses,trains and public places as human bombs?
You are talking about ‘Muslim mosques attacked with impunity’, and you must have meant Sri Lanka. How many mosques must have been attacked in the so called civilized UK with impunity since the killing of that soldier. Do you not know Muslim Jihadis kill fellow Muslims almost everywhere and even eat the others heart just because they had interpreted the Koran the way Jihadis wanted.
I say Sri Lanka has been a paradise for everyone since terrorist tigers were eradicated.
Native Vedda / October 3, 2013
“What about the justice for those that were killed and maimed by 384 tigers exploded in our buses,trains and public places as human bombs?”
Of course you must prosecute them, lock them in jail and throw away the keys, when necessary shoot to kill them.
As they say justice delayed is justice denied.
Therefore, you must urge your state to commence proceedings right away, against LTTE, starting with KP (The Mule that transported arms, ammunition and other war materials and was in charge of international finances and money laundering), Karuna (Amman who killed 700 surrendered policemen most of them were Muslims), Pillyan (Amman’s enforcer), and other members of LTTE (Pottu Amman’s operatives now being employed by MOD to snitch on the serving members of armed forces, answerable only to Gota).
“How many mosques must have been attacked in the so called civilized UK with impunity since the killing of that soldier.”
Does it mean that you can wriggle out of your own responsibility in your own country? It is up to the UK institutions and British Muslims to seek justice from the state. It has nothing to do with you or your state. If you find it unacceptable first as a citizen you put full stop to your attack on Muslims, then take the British to task.
Stupid man, your wrong doing cannot simply be justified by another persons criminal act.
“Do you not know Muslim Jihadis kill fellow Muslims almost everywhere and even eat the others heart just because they had interpreted the Koran the way Jihadis wanted.”
So you too want to keep parity with them. Go ahead, you start eating as many hearts as you want to and keep counting until you exceeded their numbers. Good sports.
“I say Sri Lanka has been a paradise for everyone since terrorist tigers were eradicated.”
No Sri Lanka has been hell since independence, where people are reborn to settle their past bad Karma.
I am sure as an aspiring heart eating champion you have hundred percent chance of being reborn in this island.
D.Panabokke / October 2, 2013
”Justice Sriskandarajah, attending at the Commonwealth Judges Conference in London held on 23rd Sep 2013, opposed the issue of impeachment of the CJ Bandaranayaka being raised at the conference.”
D.Panabokke / October 2, 2013
Was he the only representative to the Conference?
Thiru / October 2, 2013
“Justice Sidelined”? No justice non-existent would have been a more appropriate title.
All these justices, Sriskandarajah included, are hypocrites who want to earn a living no matter whether they are presiding over justice or not: They practice ‘technical justice’ not true justice.
justice / October 2, 2013
“Everyman has his price” is the old adage.
This is true of sri lnka.
Sriskandaraja is merely following the example set by 17 MPs who crossed over in parliament deserting their promises to their voters and to their parties, by his fellow judges, and lawyers.
They even approved the 18th Amendment in parliament,without knowing its content.
This Great Betrayal is at the root of the body politic,and the justice system – it enabled MR and his family to become the de facto Ruling Family of sri lanka.
The Supreme Court of CJ Shirani B approved the 18th Amendment bill within 24 hours – they could have very well requested for more time for such an important exercise.
Now we have an immoral judiciary and legal fraternity who are obsessed with their own future and not with justice.
Sajnjeewa Perera / October 2, 2013
You are talking BANA. Go to Magistrate. You can do anything for money. Any court decisions can buy. Criminals are freed by Magistrates for money and sex. I went to court with PHI report,Police report, CEA reports,Urban Council report to close illegal Garage operate in high residential area. Gargae owner scared all residents with thugs and even collected letter from them by saying that Garage is not a problem to them. But Magistrate took the illegal garage owner’s side and said Urban Council to issue permit to this garage which operate 365 days and 24 hours in his house less than 15 perches and less than 15 feet wide road. What country Sri Lanka. Spray paintings and tinkering will cause cancer and many other non-curable diseases. Without self protection zone you can not operate garage even in 20 perch living house. These Magistrates must be hacked to death for not doing their duty and take money and sex for tarnishing Sri Lankan good legal system. Sri Lankan legal community go to mirror and see your…..
Lankan / October 2, 2013
Justice Sriskandarajah is a spineless judge. Just because he was pressured he should not bend the law. He is a disgrace to the Tamil Community which has leaders such as Justice Wigneswaran. If he could not do his job properly he should have resigned and not fall at the feet of the President. An Educated Fool. He is a disgrace to entire Tamil Community.
gamini / October 2, 2013
Oh! what a Nation Sri Lankans are? Both Tamils and Sinhalese not excluding the Muslims. We are a Nation of invertebrates. No one seem to have the courage to stand up to Justice. Everyone is scared of their Jobs, promotions and perks. Are these not the individuals who claim the Opposition is weak and RW is spineless. Sri Skandarajah is no different to KP, Karuna et al. He would have been another Wigneswaran, had he taken up the CJ issue in London notwithstanding any amount of pressure from any quarter local or foreign. Had he done so, even having to throw in the towel, the Majority citizen in this country would have looked up to him.
A. Friend / October 3, 2013
Dont forget, Sriskandarajah could be the next chief minister of the Northern Provincial Council.
Jim Hardy / October 4, 2013
It is very rare for a Tamil to succumb to pressure , alas he betrayed the community without retiring like Justice Imam who should be praised.
Human nature cannot resist worldly pleasures,privileges,& perks,there will be a time to shame those rascals in the future.