24 February, 2020

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Mohan Pieris Tries To Select A Bench To Hear Case Challenging His Own Appointment- Lawyers Object

By Colombo Telegraph

SC (FR) 23/2013 filed by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) and its Executive Director, Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu challenging the controversial Mohan Pieris, PC (6th Respondent in the case) exercising the powers and functions of the Chief Justice without a legal vacancy in terms of court rulings as to the requirements of the Constitution after the incumbent Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake was forcefully excluded from exercising her functions by the regime of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, came up today (06.02.2013) before Justice Shiranee Tilakewardane, Justice S. I. Imam and Justice Priyasath Dep (PC).

Mohan Pieris

Earlier, lawyers for the petitioners had moved court by a motion dated 28.01.2013 that the whole bench of the Supreme Court should hear the case, since it would not be proper for Pieris to select judges to hear the case.

It emerged when the case was taken up, that although the case was placed on the list of cases for support on 06.02.2013, the 6th respondent Pieris (who was neither present nor represented by a lawyer in court as a party) had made a minute on the case record (a journal entry) on 01.02.2013, that the case should be taken off the list of cases to be supported and only mentioned. He had minuted that he orders this with a view to considering whether the case should be taken up along with cases SC (FR) 665/2012, 666/2012 and 667/2012. The Colombo Telegraph notes that those three cases are filed by three other parties challenging the legality of the Standing Order 78A, which although held unconstitutional and lacking due process was used by the Rajapaksa regime to boot Dr. Bandaranayake from office, in a move widely condemned by the legal fraternity, opposition and international community as a serious violation of judicial independence. Pieris is not made a party to those cases which were filed before he was installed in the office of Chief Justice. Those cases are now in limbo after a request of Shavindra Fernando, Deputy Solicitor General made to court for them to be sent to the ‘Chief Justice’ to constitute a fuller bench. No date of hearing has been given for those cases to date.

The Colombo Telegraph is reliably informed that immense pressure is being exerted on the Supreme Court judges by the Rajapaksa regime to somehow reverse the earlier Supreme Court determinations through those cases, in an attempt to try and give the act of ousting Bandaranayake at least some appearance of legality. Some judges had received phone calls and visits from various intermediaries offering various inducements if they cooperated to make the ousting seem proper. Judges are limited in the extent to which they can act without fear against such attempts at influence because of the fact that after the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, all appointments and promotions to high judicial office (and high public office) are effectively at the sole discretion of President Rajapaksa. Also, any judge seen as disloyal or an obstacle to the wants of the regime runs a real risk of impeachment without due process as Bandaranayake did. This has been the focus of widespread grave concern expressed at both local and international level.

In this situation, the 6th respondent had directed through his minute in the case filed by CPA, that it is to be considered whether this case should be taken up along with the other three cases. He had further minuted that the CPA case should be resubmitted to him to make an appropriate direction as to the constitution of the bench.

When the case was taken up, M. A. Sumanthiran, senior counsel for the petitioners submitted to the court that he was compelled to inform court with due respect that it is completely improper for the 6th respondent Pieris to purport to make such a direction, since he should not play any role in choosing judges to hear his own case, in that he has a personal interest in the matter. He further submitted that this is why a Motion was filed with notice to all respondents (including Pieris), that all judges of the Supreme Court should hear the case without any selection of members. This he submitted with reference to decided legal authorities, is essential to safeguard the dignity and integrity of the judiciary.

Ronald Perera, PC appeared for the 3rd respondent Ranil Wickremesinghe and agreed completely with the legal submissions and issues raised by Sumanthiran.

Shavindra Fernando, Deputy Solicitor General who appeared for the Attorney General insisted that the matter should be submitted to the ‘Chief Justice’. However, he did not address on the serious issues of conflict of interest Sumanthiran pointed out would arise, if this is done.

After hearing submissions, the court directed for the case to be mentioned on 05.03.2013, with the matter of reference of the case to a full bench as asked by the petitioners to be considered by then.

Several leading legal experts contacted by The Colombo Telegraph said on condition of anonymity that in view of the developments, it would be completely improper for Pieris to play any role at all in the listing, hearing or deciding of this case or even the other three he had referred to in his minute, since he has an obvious personal interest in their outcomes and the Rules of Natural Justice prevent him from in any way influencing their outcomes. They however welcomed the decision of the court today as a step in the right direction, since if a full bench is constituted there may be a possibility of some impartial rulings from any judges brave enough to be undeterred by the threats now faced by judicial officers.

What happens hereafter remains to be seen.

M. A. Sumanthiran with Viran Corea, Bhavani Fonseka, Suren Fernando, S. A. Beling and Luwie Ganeshathasan instructed by Namal Rajapakse appeared for the petitioners. Ronald Perera, PC appeared for the 3rd respondent Ranil Wickremesinghe. Shavindra Fernando, Deputy Solicitor General with Sanjay Rajaratnam, Deputy Solicitor General and N. Pulle, Senior State Counsel appeared for the Attorney General.

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    Teaching MP the basics of law.

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      Can you teach ANYTHING to them?

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      Funny, that almost the whole Parliament agreed that Shirani Bandaranayake was in the wrong for not resigning her post when a case was pending against her husband but they are dead silent when the current CJ does not resign when there is a case directly against it.

      I like to see the spaghetti bowl they will come up with to justify this one.

  • 0
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    The final opportunity for all the SC judges to save the country from anarchy! I wish they will stand up for all our rights even though they risk their carriers.

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    // …. instructed by Namal Rajapakse appeared for the petitioners.//

    Er… what is the world coming to?

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      How can this bastard instruct? In the first place he is uneducated and uncultured and technically NOT qualified as a lawyer. One of the judges would be none other than Shiran Booran (Thillakawardena). Let’s keep our fingers (or legs!) crossed.

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      No worries… give the learned(sic) counsel, a laptop connected to the Internet and everything would be fine.

    • 0
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      This is not that “Synthetic” Lawyer Please. Go through the Lawyers directory to find who is this lawyer.

  • 0
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    The constitutional crisis comes full circle. There is no way out from here. If Mohan P is the deciding authority, the court loses further legitimacy. If he doesn’t his position is no longer secure.
    Catch 22 of the regime’s own making.
    No doubt, Mohan P will win the day. but the more legal challenges that are brought to bear against his illegal regime at the Supreme Court, the better chances to someday reverse the appalling and unconstitutional situation we the judicial system we have inherited today, thanks to the Rajapaksa clan.

  • 0
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    Having known that the list of witnesses and documents demanded by the lawyers for former CJ Shirani Bandaranayake and refused by the PSC, Justice Shiranee Tilakewardane has all of a sudden given evidence after Dr.Shirani Bandaranayake and their lawyers left the place. Moreover, Justice Shiranee Tilakewardane would have definitely known how the PSC members provoked the former CJ with abusive languages before she left. Under such circumstances, it is ridiculous that Justice Shiranee Tilakewardane is listed in a Bench of Three to hear a case which was filed against an illegally appointed CJ. On what grounds can Justice Shiranee Tilakewardane is listed to hear this case appears to travesity of justice. There are senior judges like Nihal Amaratunge who is honest could have been listed to hear this case. If not, since this case appears to be a national issue affecting the integrity of the independence of judiciary, it should have been heard before a Full Bench. Even at this last hour, it is better for Mohan Peiris to resign from the post and avert a national crisis.

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      You seem to be having a bone to pick with Justice Shiranee Tilakawardena. How do you know whether she had full knowledge of the harassment meted out to the former CJ before she attended the PSC inquiry? Did you read her mind? Justice Shiranee T is one of the most independent and fearless judges in the Sri Lankan judiciary. She has never gone behind politicians and neither have they tried to win her over to get favorable judgments.

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        I am not against Justice Shiranee Tilakawardena or any of the Judges. When one look into the scenario in which she has given evidence before the PSC, there is suspicion whether Justice Shiranee Tilakawardena had complied with the requests of or been influenec unduly by the politicians and their advisors. When none of the other judges had given evidence against Dr.Shirani Bandaranayake, one ponders whether she can hear the case of Justice Mohan Peiris, having known that his appointment was illegal. To date no one knows what evidence she has given before the PSC. Why can’t she give evidence in the presence of Dr.Shirani Bandaranayake and her Cousels or be present when they were present and arguing before the PSC. Why should she come out after they have left. Further, it is a national issue to which she should have denied to hear this case, taking into account of her giving evidence. There was an instance that two other Judges refused to sit with her which has given rise to suspicion in the minds of the public.

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          Justice Shiranee Thilkawardena was so confident of two things. 1.CJ Dr. Sriranee Bdaraayke woul be unjustly moved ut. 2. Sh hopefull would be appointed.It is in this back groud tht shee alone gave vidence betraying totaly an associate. Besides,jealousy bewtween women is a unoversal truth.

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            But any person holding the country’s top post of Chief Justice should have in mind that he or she leads an exemplary life and highly respected by the people. Otherwise, he or she should not accept that post in the best interests of justice. After all, a judge reflects the face of a country, no matter the politicians are corrupt.

  • 0
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    Let us hope and pray that the lawyers and the judges would not give up the battle for justice. Should we wait hands folded for poetic justice or divine justice?

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    “The 6th respondent Pieris (who was neither present nor represented by a lawyer in court as a party) had made a minute on the case record (a journal entry) on 01.02.2013, that the case should be taken off the list of cases…”

    This minute, journal entry, itself is a huge victory.

    While room within Sri Lanka are shrinking for bringing across the naked impunity which with these individuals operate, just like white van abductors operate with impunity, this makes it stark clear to even the most uninterested observer the total collapse of rule of law, in our judiciary system.

    we can’t express how much we appreciate the efforts of the petitioner and the legal team. It’s such a pity, in the case where the de facto CJ is accused of defrauding govt. over Rs: 600m, with clear evidence based on DG customs written observations, the legal team couldn’t withstand and overcome the unlawful acts by the bench itself.

    In this case also, as already noted in the piece, we can’t expect the judiciary to expect the judiciary to be like a lotus amidst all the mud and murky waters of influences in this context.

    But those mistakes, deviations from the proper course of action, like this journal entry by one respondent!!! will stand out and that stinking PSC report.

  • 0
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    Is there a possibility of taking the present Cheap Justice before any international court in case he makes the decision on who sits in the five member panel of judges?

  • 0
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    The “Very Best” person to get advice on this matter is none other than the previous Chief Justice Mr. Sarath N de Silva. He created precedence in sitting as a Judge in a case where he was a respondant and he infact wrote a “Judgment” against the complainant.

    So why can’t Mr. Mohan Peris do the same thing? Mind you this is Sri lanka. Anything is possible.

  • 0
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    Now time has come to safeguard and to take extra care of our closer to 9 tons of Gold Reserve and closer to 8 Billion US Dollars of currency Reserve at Central Bank.

    The Alibabas are breeding at an alarming rate and we as citizens concern to safeguard and protect our own wealth from the very same Guards we appointed to protect them.

    The very same guards appointed to protect our house have started to rob it……and I suggest constant monitoring and Audit is necessary.

    • 0
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      How about these – a track-record of the Regime (Source: transcurrent)

      “1. Hedging Deal – Petroleum Chairman – Asantha De Mel – Exam passed ‐ None– Cricketer‐ Shiranthi’s relation – losses to Sri Lanka Rs. 230 Billion ( Rs. 230,000 Million) Chairman lost his job by virtue of a supreme Court order. The S.C. order to sell petrol at Rs.100 not complied yet (current price of a Petrol liter is Rs 130/‐)

      2. Loss on National Carrier Air Lanka for 2007‐2008Rs. 10,000 Million (10 Billion) – Chairman Nishantha Wicremasinghe (Shiranthi Rajapaksha’s Brother) – Exam Passed GCE O/L

      3. Loss on Mihin Air for 2007‐2008 Rs. 4,000 Million (4 Billion) – Chief Executive Mahinda’s Sajin Vas Gunawardena – Exam passed GCE O/L

      4. New 2008 Budget allocation for Mihin Air Rs. 1,000 Million (1 Billion)

      5. Air port project Weerawila cancelled. Initial cost on feasibility study Rs 500 Million

      6. Mig Deal – through “King’s cousin” Udayanga Weeratunga (Exam passed – GCE O/L Sri Lankan Ambassador – Russia ‐ purchase of 4 Mig fighters which were not air worthy from Belimissa holdings at a price Rs. 400 Million more than the last published price.

      7. All defense purchases through Lanka Logistics ‐ Chief Executive Officer Jayantha Wicremasinghe – Exam passed GCE O/L– Mahinda’s Sister Gandhini’s Brother in Law the owner of ‘Akuressa Palace’ (also Chairman Bank of Ceylon Gamini Wicremasinghe’s Brother.)

      8. VAT Scam – Loss to the Country Rs. 35,000 Million. (Rs. 35 Billion) Inland Revenue Department – Minister of Finance – Mahinda Rajapaksha

      9 Hanbantota Man made Safari Park to be created at a cost of Rs. 16,000 Million (1.6 Billion) This makes no sense as the Natural Safari Park is next door in Yala.

      10. Kerawalapitiya power plant cost US $ 400 Million. Actual cost US $ 200 Million. Planned for 300 Mega Watts built for 200 mega watts.

      11. Kerawalapitiya power plant. (Additional Losses) Cost per day to CEB Rs 70 million. Per year Rs 25, 550 Million (25.5 Billion) Initial agreed purchasing price per unit Rs 18. Current purchasing price Rs 40/‐ Loss to the CEB from a unit Rs 22/‐

      12. Uma Oya Project.‐ projected value US$ 265 Million enhanced value US $ 545 Million. Increase of US$ 280 Million. Rs. 28 Billion ( Rs. 28,000 Million). Two reservoirs that are built have an extent of only 50 acres. Victoria project has an extent of 7,500 acres. Minister–Chamal Rajapaksha – President’s brother

      13. Cabinet of Ministers have approved purchase of 35 Gantry Cranes at a price US $ 600,000 higher than the last purchase price. This purchase has not been effected yet. (Minister in Charge; Chamal Rajapaksa‐ President’s brother)

      14. Contract signed with Dilhan Wicremasinghe Shiranthi’s brother’s son (Chairman Air Lanka) to supply branded computers to all divisional Secretariats at a cost of US $ 16 Million (price per computer Rs. 150,000/=). He supplied all unbranded computers which are available at unity plaza at Rs. 50,000/=. Amount robbed Rs. 1,200 Million”

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        Hi, Punchinilame,

        Thanks for the info. I almost fainted after reading your comments.This is pure daylight robbery. Is this Alibaba’s aishcharya……

        After robbing Divineguma 15 Billion Rupees,by giving people expired Mixed “Eta paha” seed pouches to grow….which I herd from many people who complained that many did not grow and were not tested in our soil before a Malaysian variety……now Basil use paid goons to cover it up. How long these crooks trying to play pandu with citizen.

        Also MARA is building a 15 Billion sports complex in Hambanthota for next youth games…..where none of our athletes won a single medal during last Asian or Commonwealth games or Olympics.

        Isn’t this a pure robbery fake show off to the world to steal our money….when we cannot win a single medal…..Also Hambanthota is a pure desert hell for sports leave alone running. The unbearable heat, humid and the wind….This Gon Hambanthota mee Haraka does not understand. It should have been built either in Kandy district or colombo to attract more visitors and Businesses.

        Also in last three months over 20 BOI factories were closed while losing 4000 odd jobs. Some of these companies gave a polla….did not pay loans obtained upto a Billion rupees from local banks and EPF,ETF money and ran away.

        Also Embilipitiya paper factory kept 400 million rupees Polla “did not pay loans” to a leading bank and ran away.

        This is the Gas Gembas aschcharya in Sri Lanka.

        Now the gemba wants to hold CHOGM…….and if you remember how people starved for two years with long bread lines after Sirimavo Bandaranaike held Non Align summit in 1976.

        GET READY TO STARVE AND DIE…..AND BE A CARDBOARD HERO IN THE PUPPETS LAND.

        I NOW WONDER IF ANYTHING LEFT IN CENTRAL BANK…..WHILE PAPER COURRENCY BEEN PRINTED DAILY AS A HOUSE HOLD HOBBY THROUGHOUT COUNTRY .

        WELCOME TO UNCLE COMEDY GUNDA’S 65 YEAR INDEPENDENCE DAY JUBILEE PARTY.

  • 0
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    They will be rewarded by the ‘Ditta Dhamma Vedaneeya Karma with interest”

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