With the Supreme Court saying ‘yes’ to most of the clauses of the 20th Amendment, Aluthkade rumor mills have already begun churning out various scenarios about the future.
Although Attorney General Dappula De Livera played his part in the 20th Amendment case and saved many clauses from being subjected to a Referendum, it is no secret that the Rajapaksas do not like him. This dislike, quite apart for their dislike of his mannerisms and demeanor, goes back to the days of the previous Rajapaksa regime when he used to address Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa as “Mr. Secretary” when other senior government officials were virtually prostrating at his feet.
Next year, Livera is due to retire. Even under the 20th Amendment, he will not get an extension form the Rajapaksas. His deputy, Solicitor General Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe is under interdiction and in any case the Rajapaksas hate her. Next are Sanjaya Rajaratnam who is already being side-lined and Sarath Jayamanne who is also due to retire soon,
The buzz in Aluthkade is that the man to watch is Dileep Nawaz, President of the Court of Appeal who has always served the Rajapaksas well. Nawaz is an acolyte of Mohan Pieris. It was Pieris who saved him from dismissal. He appeared for Nawaz at the disciplinary inquiry where the latter was charged for several misdemeanors. The inquiry was conducted by a retired public servant and was all fixed. Several senior officers of the AG’s department had egg on their faces when they were disbelieved. They include a present very senior judicial officer who gave evidence against Nawaz. Nawaz is ever grateful to Pieris for this.
It was Pieris who got Nawaz appointed to the Court of Appeal over the heads of senior officers who wished to be appointed to the Court of Appeal. In the Court of Appeal, Nawaz had delivered more than one hundred judgements without writing them! Court of Appeal Presidents Preeti Padman Surasena and Yasantha Kodagoda did not permit him to sit on the Bench but required him to work in his chambers and write the outstanding judgements. Nawaz has not hidden his displeasure to Surasena and Kodagoda for this.
After Gotabaya Rajapakse became President, he nominated Nawaz to the Court of Appeal and is said to have assured him that he will be re-nominated and re-nominated until the Constitutional Council approves him. Nawaz had little difficulty in getting approval as Sajith Premadasa did not wish to antagonize the Muslim community by objecting.
The Rajapaksas cannot have a better AG than Nawaz. “Nawaz will perform even better than Mohan Pieris,” senior lawyers predict.
What about the Chief Justiceship? There the man-in-waiting is Justice Priyantha Jayawardena, Basil Rajapaksa’s former lawyer, who apparently have gone further than the other judges to determine that not a single Article in the 20th Amendment requires a Referendum.
Like Livera, CJ Jayantha Jayasuriya is also not liked by the Rajapaksas. It is no secret that the UNP leaders preferred Jayasuriya when Chief Justice Nalin Perera retired. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya in fact campaigned for him.
Aluthkade gossip is that the Rajapaksas would like to see the back of Jayantha Jayasuriya soon. “The Rajapaksas have their own ways. Remember how they gagged Sarath N Silva after he gave a few judgements against them? After Sarath N Silva struck down the fuel price increase, someone paid a not-so-friendly visit to his house and that was the end of his bravado” a pro-Rajapaksa lawyer who hates Sarath N Silva said. “Aluthkade will see interesting changes,” he confidently said. (By Ranmal Weerasekera)