Colombo Telegraph

No Mercy For Shanty Dwellers Challenging UDA From De Facto CJ

Making policy statements from the Bench in open court in support of the Gotabaya Rajapaksa led Urban Development Authority, Sri Lanka’s de facto Chief Justice yesterday said no one should obstruct ongoing development programmes in Colombo, and denounced shanties and low income neighbourhoods as breeding grounds for vice.

Pieris and Gotabaya

Chief Justice Mohan Pieris said it was the responsibility of all stakeholders is to extend their support for the Governments programme to create a better living standard for low income earners in the city of Colombo, state media broadcaster Rupavahini said yesterday.

Pieris made these comments in open court when a petition filed against UDA with regard to the removal of several shanties in the slave island area was taken up for hearing at Supreme Court yesterday, according to the Rupavahini report.

“State Counsel told court measures would be taken to provide new houses to families who were evacuated from the area,” the State broadcaster said.

It said that Mohan Pieris had praised the initiative and said that low income earners in the city of Colombo resort to various vices because they have no proper housing facilities. Illegal acts such as narcotic rackets are evident in this environment, he said. Pieris pointed out that such activities could be prevented by providing facilities to these people to lead a better lifestyle, Rupavahini said in its nightly news broadcast.

Pieris added that everyone should refrain from obstructing the relevant programme.

Mohan Pieris was formerly an advisor to the Ministry of Defence and also served on two Defence Ministry owned and operated companies, Lanka Logistics and Rakna Lanka. The Chief Justice who was appointed following the flawed impeachment of Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake is believed to have been the choice of the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Since assuming office in January Pieris has made several highly political and partisan statements from the bench in open court, making it plain that victims of state excesses with regard to land acquisition, eviction and even death in state custody would not be eligible for redress under Pieris’ reign.

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