17 April, 2024

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Parliamentary Privilege Used To Undermine Independence Of The Judiciary

The ICJ today expressed concern about attacks on the independence of the judiciary in Sri Lanka under cover of parliamentary privilege. 

Speaker

On 22 August 2023, Sarath Weeresekera, a former Minister and a Member of Parliament belonging to the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, the country’s ruling political party, made an inflammatory speech with racist undertones in Parliament, referring to T. Saravanaraja, the Mullaitivu Court’s Magistrate repeatedly as “a mentally ill person”, and criticizing a court order Judge Saravanaraja had made, while making personal remarks about him, including a mention of his wife. Judge Saravanaraja has been the target of this invective following an order he made upholding the right of religious worship of Hindu devotees at a Hindu shrine on Kurundur Hill, a contested religious site in the North of the country. 

With respect to this, Sarath Weeresekera also stated that the Mullaitivu Magistrate should keep in mind that Sri Lanka is a Buddhist nation, that there is a limit to the patience of Sinhala Buddhists, and if any racial violence were to occur it was the judge and Tamil politicians who should bear the burden. He urged the Judicial Services Commission and the Bar Association to replace the judge.

Sarath Weeresekera delivered his attack against the judge in violation of standing order 83 of the Sri Lankan Parliament — according to which the personal conduct of any person “engaged in the administration of justice shall not be raised except upon a substantive motion” — during a parliamentary debate on tourism. The ICJ notes with concern that this is the second time that Sarath Weeresekera has commented on Judge Saravanaraja and made reference to his ethnicity within Parliament. 

“These speeches constitute a serious and unwarranted encroachment on the independence of the judiciary and an attack against a judge, solely for his exercise of his judicial functions”, said Santiago Canton, ICJ’s Secretary General. 

The most recent order Judge Saravanaraja made is one of several orders the Magistrate issued relating to the Kurundur Hill site. A number of previous orders had been flouted by the Department of Archaeology.

Previously on 7 July 2023 Parliamentarian Weeresekera had made similar remarks within Parliament stating that the Mullaitivu Magistrate cannot remove the Sinhalese from the Kurundur Hill religious site as he does not have the authority to make that decision. Weeresekera mentioned that Tamil judges were acting against the interest of the Buddhist archeological heritage in the North-East and they do not have a right to question the archeological Buddhist heritage of the Kurundur Hill religious site.

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka issued a public statement on 10 July 2023 condemning the parliamentarian’s speech as an “unfounded, brazen attack on the judiciary and, the social fabric of the country.” On 11 July 2023, Mullaitivu District lawyers protested against the parliamentarian’s remarks. 

The latest speech by Weerasekera was made a few days after another Parliamentarian, Jayantha Samaraweera, lodged a complaint against the same Magistrate with the Judicial Services Commission by stating that the Magistrate was acting unilaterally without heeding the instructions of the Department of Archaeology which is a State institution. 

On 25 August 2023, lawyers in the Northern Province held a protest condemning the remarks made by the parliamentarian as misuse of parliamentary privilege and an attack on the independence of the judiciary. Criticising this protest, on 26 August 2023 the parliamentarian stated that he would respond to the lawyers in Parliament.

“There is a developing trend to use the cover of paliamentary privilege to engage in rhetoric that interferes with the independence of the judiciary. This sets a dangerous precedent,” said Canton. 

The UN Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary state that, “it is the duty of all governmental and other institutions to respect and observe the independence of the judiciary”, and “there shall not be any inappropriate or unwarranted interference with the judicial process, nor shall judicial decisions by the courts be subject to revision.”

Previously this year, the ICJ expressed concern about another statement made by yet another parliamentarian calling into question an interim order of the Supreme Court, and requesting the Speaker of Parliament to refer the conduct of the judges of the Supreme Court to the Parliamentary Committee on Ethics and Privileges. 

The ICJ recalls that the independence of the judiciary is a fundamental principle of the rule of law and therefore any form of undue interference by political actors with judicial independence is extremely serious and should be condemned.

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Latest comments

  • 19
    0

    What happened to Ranjan R, whereas this ultimate racist is free to abuse the judiciary . The clown in the photo is chief enabler. Lanka special “Low and Odor”.

    • 5
      0

      Ranjan Ramanayake and Gnanam’s case when Gnanam abused Santhia & the Homagama Court Judge are a clear indication that Langkang courts are no way different in blatant anti-Tamil racism; they are just indispensable organs like the propeller and the rudder of the ship called RavanaLE, the Monster Hell, Langkang. When the propeller relaxes, the rudder starts to swing to one angle. When the rudder straightens, the propeller blows virulently. That is the journey of a ship in the middle of the sea. The parliament and the court are harmonious, collaborators to loot, rape, kill their subjects, while they both paint of pictures of themselves as the most sanctimonious Buddhist institutions ever appeared in the world. There is no worse Satan even in hell than these two Sinhala Buddhist institutions in the RavanaLE, Monster hell, Langkang. ICJ misunderstood the issue here, because of the influence of the IMF, which is sworn to death if it could lend to Langkang. IMF believes that its only object to coming into existence is for lending RavanaLE to boost its Rapist military. Otherwise ICJ was a leader who condemned Langkang for its unceasing human rights violations for 75 years. Evil Emperor is highly dependent on the Rapist Navy Rear Admirable to launch a timely pogrom to thaw India’s initiations to have the 13A implemented.

    • 5
      0

      On the International stages, Evil delivers speeches saying, “Our relationship with America is 75 years, China is our friend, and neighbor India is our sister – a relative”. Then, to Kandy Ayatollahs and Sinhala Buddhist Intellectuals, he twists the words: “we need to cut off with the bullies of IC and should become independent.” The Evil is not just doing simple double talk like our Jehan PhD does, but in effective actions, pinching the child and rocking the cradle, to establish to the West that without the RavanaLE, the world will slip on the edge of the cliff and fall into Hell. It is the Tamil MPs responsibility to make the ICJ understand the basic formula the Evil is using to Mix and Match with the ingredients, the Court, and the Parliament. For him the least useful thing is the constitution, which is molested with an unwanted connection, called 13A. He wants the Sinhala Buddhist Modayas to have repealed the 13A otherwise, he is expressing fear, that he is going to be forced to implement it. That is not all what his gilmart is! Then he is telling the Sam_Sum team that they are lucky because there is 13A as the start for a solution to Tamils. Come on guys. He is too big to search and fathom between top and bottom.

    • 4
      0

      chiv

      What do you think about Singapore’s presidential candidates who lost the election to Tharman Shanmugaratnam?

      Here is Ng Kok Song concedes to Tharman after sample count result:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrXwzZMa-ec

      Peaceful transition.

  • 5
    0

    Parliamentary Privilege Used To Undermine Independence Of The Judiciary.

    People have no understanding of how the judiciary fits into the constitutional scheme.
    If Undermine some of the parliamentarians can sort out the matter then and there not get outside
    where the messages wil be made up and see country is on a good direction

  • 7
    0

    Why should they use privileges, it’s open hand and blind eye,see Dr Marvin openly said if anyone trying to stop building vihara in the north and East he will bring the heads to Kelaniya.
    But it’s ok who’s head
    .
    Yes LTTE evacuated Muslims from jaffna these pathetic lot forced tamil people to leave from our own home.
    DONT KNOW WHY D.B.S.JEYRAJ dont hilite these. But not by army its our own saveguardians the Angeles

  • 14
    0

    Parliamentary Privilege supersedes matters before a Court of Law?
    The concept of Subjudice does not apply when it is a matter relating to Tamils?
    The Speaker is loudly silent!

    The Rajapakses are using Sarath Weerasekera for their dirty work; Just the same way that JRJ made use of Cyril Mathew for his dirty work……..

  • 11
    0

    The Speaker is tight-lipped as per the photograph…………..

  • 5
    0

    He doesn’t speak Rasnil’s Hindi or Chinese ……. doesn’t even speak polished Sinhalese ……. but speaks the truth …….. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8VP2parWvKc


    Irrespective of the language ……. few dare to speak the truth.

  • 0
    14

    The idiots who make bogus allegations against patriotic indigenous bhoomiputhra Sinhala Buddhists criminals.
    /
    Sri Lanka is a Buddhists country, not an Abrahamic faith country. Buddha Sashanaya and Buddhism influenced Sinhala culture and customs are unwritten yet supreme laws of the land.
    /
    Anyone with good mental health knows Kurundi Vihara is a historical Buddhist only site. So what the war hero is exercising is his right to freedom of expression. Nothing can gag him.

    • 7
      1

      Portugeuse Tony, what is the meaning of Kurundi? All I know is Kurundi is a Hindu name. Origin Sanskrit, meaning the one who lives in land of the Kurus or with Kurus. When did the entire island become a Buddhist land, when 1/3 of it was ruled by Thamizh kings and chiefs, before European colonisation and these Thamizh areas had always been predominanly Hindu until independence. Buddhism may have influenced Chingkalla culture so did Hinduism and the Thamizh culture. Without the Thamizh language or culture there will be no Chingkalla language or culture. Take the Thamizh origin words out of Chingkallam what is left will be Pali/Prakrit or Sanskrit.

      • 7
        1

        Even your learned Buddhist prelates from the north and east have stated Kurunthoor Malai archaeological site belongs to everyone and not to Buddhists or Chingkallams only and this ancient Buddhist site is a Thamizh Buddhist site and the Vihara was built by the ancient Thamizh Buddhists and not by Chingkalla Buddhists as now being falesely claimed. There is no history of Chingkallams living in that areas and this area has always been historically a Thamizh area. Please go and read your history properly.

      • 4
        0

        PK,
        “Portuguese Tony, what is the meaning of ‘Kurundi’? All I know is ‘Kurundi’ is a Hindu name. Origin Sanskrit, meaning the one who lives in land of the Kurus or with Kurus”!! Possibly right!?
        You are asking wrong question from the wrong person!? Knowing probably a SMAK of Tamil – He in his early learning curve having had the initiation of a few lessons – may well think ‘Kurundi’ is the deformation yielded over the years of couple of alphabets, describing a part of the Human Anatomy, describing the Mound of Earth/Hill!!!???
        It would end up like Hooray Mama Cooray!!!???

      • 0
        4

        Tamil Nadu Kutti,
        So you admit “Kurundi” is not a Tamil name at all. You should know the difference between Hindu and Hindi as well.
        /
        What is Tamizh? What do you expect by replacing “L” with “ZH”? It sounds like a Jewish name. Or are you?
        /
        Tamil Kings? There was no “Tamil king” in Sri Lanka at any time. According Indian records, so called Tamil chiefs were actually refugees of Central or Southern Indian Royal families. Sinhala kings tolerated those royal refugees to a certain degree but fighting occurred when they became invasive.
        /
        Sinhala language has evolved. Sinhales are the descendants of earliest arrivals in Indian subcontinent.

        • 4
          0

          Tony

          “Sinhala language has evolved. Sinhales are the descendants of earliest arrivals in Indian subcontinent.”

          When did the ancestors of Sinhala people arrive on these shores.
          Irrespective of whoever came first from India or when they came from subcontinent what language they spoke they were all Kallathonies, and most importantly you are a descendant of Kallthonie who converted to Sinhala/Buddhism, which is considered be a recent identity.

          It is like Maoist, Marxist, Capitalists, Fascist, Zeonists, ……. Hindutvas, ….. just brand names.

          As a non follower of the Awakened one you seem to be a Sinhala/Buddhist stupid racist.

        • 3
          0

          Fake Bhumiputra Portuguese Antonio. The place’s name from ancient times has been Kurunthoor Malai and not Kurundi or Burundi. All recent names coined by Chingkalla Buddhist racists and fanatics for this area, to claim this ancient Thamizh Hindu/Buddhist archaeological site for the Chingkallams, who by the way even did not exist as a people when this so-called Buddhist Vihara was built. They thought the name Kurundi sounded Chinkallam, not realizing it was a Sanskrit-derived name given to Hindu males. As for the Chingkallams around half of them are purely or predominantly descended from recent South Indian Thamizh immigrants largely low castes who were imported by the Portuguese and Dutch colonials from then Thamizh South India, modern-day Thamizh Nadu and Kerala, to do menial service work and to work as slave labour in the hughe southern spice estates. Most of them took Portuguese family names, which again they are rapidly changing to high caste-sounding Chingkalla names, but from your Iberian-sounding name I strongly suspect you are descended from one of these recently migrated low South Indian Thamizh immigrants. Some upper caste and aristocratic Thamizh also migrated from South India like the Telugu origin Thamizh Naickers and Pandians and Pandarar like Pandara Naicken,

          • 3
            0

            and Mudaliars eg Thambi Mudaliar and Pillais like Kanapahty Pillai but these people came to rule and the Chingkalla South, as your kings and aristocrats were of South Indian Thamizh origin, only nominally Chingkallam. However they are a different lot from your ancestors who came to fish, climb trees and peel cinnamon. Their descendants are the present-day Kandyan and low country so-called aristocrats.

            The rest of the Chingkallams again are largely descended from ancient/medieval South Indian Thamizh immigrants and invaders, mixed with the original settlers from mainland India, the semi or proto-Thamizh speaking Dravidian Naga and Yakka, largely from the Yakka as they largely lived in the interior, down south and whereas the more elite Naga largely lived in the north, east and northwestern coastal areas and the Eezham Thamizh are largely descended from them, as the island’s Naga started to adopt proper Thamizh as their mother tongue around 3000 years ago. Wherever the Naga predominated, and even when a large amount of them converted to Buddhism, the ancient Thamizh identity and language prevailed, in these areas. In the areas where the Yakka predominated, the population converted to Buddhism, and a new identity called Chingkallam gradually started to evolve with corruption of their local Thamizh dialect with the Pali/Prakrit of Buddhism. There was very little migration from North India, the Vijaya story is a myth.

            • 3
              0

              The Prakrit/Pali language spread to the island through trade and Buddhism and not through migration. None of the ancient kings belonging to the common era ever called or identified themselves as Aryans or Chingkallams as they were not. They were Hindu or Buddhist Thamizh, either from local Naga dynasties or South India. The king who converted to Buddhism was a Saivite Thamizh Naga, Thevanai Nambiya Theesan which was later Prakritised to Devnam piya Tissa. Thessan was a very common Thamizh name during this era. As evidenced by the Keeladi excavations in South India. His father was King Mootha Sivan, which is a pure Thamizh name, meaning the great or venerated Lord Siva. So are the names or titles of King Dutta Kamini’s father. Kaavan Theesan or Kakkai Vanna Theesan all pure Thamizh names. By trying to discredit and show the Thamizh were outsiders, your anti-Thamizh diatribe Mahavamsa only proved that the Thamizh were living on the island, which is separated from South India by a shallow sea, from prehistoric and ancient times and the ancestors of the present day Chingkallams are largely Dravidian Thamizh tribes and immigrants who converted to Buddhism.
              https://www.dailymirror.lk/article/Tamils-have-valid-claim-for-homeland-Prof-Pathmanathan-126359.html

    • 3
      0

      “The idiots who make bogus allegations against patriotic indigenous Bhumiputra Sinhala Buddhists criminals”!!????
      What ‘Cattle Excreta’ or abbreviated BS from Western Colonial Genetic Ancestry to defend the Local Bumiputra’s who made the advent to this country as Spice Garden Labour!!!??? New Caste of Bumiputras – Krundu, Salagama caste to service the Kings to maintain subjugation and pay with spices to ensure Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, French and British culinary specialists!!!???

    • 4
      0

      Tony

      “The idiots who make bogus allegations against patriotic indigenous bhoomiputhra Sinhala Buddhists criminals.”

      Calm down.
      What are you saying about Sinhala/Buddhists?
      Are the Sinhala Buddhists criminals?
      Please clarify.

      “Sri Lanka is a Buddhists country, not an Abrahamic faith country.”

      What a dumb statement.
      How can a country become Buddhists?
      Only the people can chose to practice whatever they want to.
      Just because a few dumb asses claim to have discovered some stupid phrases to describe this island doesn’t mean the country become such. What is wrong with you lot?

      Humans are supposed to have rational faculties. What happened to yours?

      “Buddha Sashanaya and Buddhism influenced Sinhala culture and customs are unwritten yet supreme laws of the land.”

      Please explain what are Buddha Sashanaya and Buddhism?
      The culture you claim to follow came from India, especially from South India.
      Your contemporary culture is formed by brain washing you with
      “Kill the Veddah, Rob the Buddha, Blame the Sudda”,
      or/and
      “Sunday Sil Monday Kill”
      “A good Tamil is a dead Tamil”
      ..
      ….
      ….
      Please leave Buddhism to Buddhist.

  • 6
    0

    Dunno who this “Speaker” joker in the picture is ………. he has the typical haughty look of a Lankan who has never done a honest day’s work …….. done nothing but expect everything for free ……. including, above all, respect!

    Without Hindi or Chinese ……. they have found cushy jobs!

  • 5
    0

    Don’t you forget that rule of law is only sparingly applied in Sri Lanka? Only when the rulers want. There is nothing new to be excited about the parliamentary privilege being abused to undermine the judiciary.

    Sri Lankan are like frogs in a pot of boiling water and they make occasional croaks. Move on, nothing to see here.

  • 4
    0

    When we have a Speaker who makes biased decisions to support SLPP without being an independent decision maker, who also violates the standing orders and at times the Constitution itself, what else can we expect other than MPs and the President threatening the Judiciary?

    This is not only the fault of the Speaker, it’s the fault of the Judiciary as well. The judiciary has surrendered itself to the politicians. A glaring example is, that the cases filed by the present Chief Justice when he was the Attorney General were withdrawn by the new AG in order to protect the politicians, the Chief Justice kept quiet. Does this mean the CJ agrees that he made an error in filing those cases or the CJ is not suitable to be the CJ? Maybe today in SL after the President, the Speaker the Attorney General has become more powerful than the Chief Justice..

  • 2
    0

    What a funny state of srilanaka judiciary.LIKE DOCTORS AND UNIVERSITY LECTURERS THE TAMIL JUDGES EITHER WILL COMPELLED TO RESIGN FROM THEIR JOBS OR WILL LEAVE SAKILILANAKA VERY SOON AT THIS STATE AFFAIRS.

  • 0
    0

    Let me briefly comment that this is not the first time that a judge was targetted by a parliamentarian without a substantive motion. The Prime Minister of the day in fact threw darts at the Chief Justice for making an interpretation of the Constitution not to the liking former. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but the example set is not acceptable. I wonder, in both those instances why another Member did not raise a point of order in the house.

  • 1
    0

    These Sinhalese Buddhist extremists. racists and chauvinists aided and abetted the Sri Lankan state, especially the former Rajapakse regime, the discredited and deposed Gothabaya the most notable, and also aided and abetted by the so-called Archaeological department, that instead of safeguarding all ancient monuments, be they Sinhalese or Tamil, Hindu or Buddhist is now increasingly looking like a handmaiden of Sinhalese Buddhist racists and is only interested in preserving Sinhalese history and creating fake history in order to destroy and claim ancient Tamil Hindu monuments places of worship and archaeological sites to Sinhalese Buddhist. They are fully aware that there was a significant ancient Tamil Buddhist population living on the north and east of the island, belonging to both the Mahayana and Theravada sects of Buddhism and Tamil Buddhism on the island only vanished after the 10AD invasion of Rajah Rajah Cholan. Many of these ancient Tamil Buddhist sites are Mahayana and Sinhalese Buddhists never belonged to the Mahayana sect, whereas ancient Tamil Buddhists belonged to both and many are located next to ancient Hindu sites, as most of these ancient Tamil Buddhists and Hindus worshipped at both sites and many times an ancient Hindu temple was converted to a Buddhist temple and reconverted back to a Hindu temple, once the population in the area reconverted back to Hinduism and Buddhism died off.

    • 1
      0

      Just like the way in the Sinhalese areas, many ancient Buddhist temples are located next to Hindu temples or Hindu gods and deities worshipped within the Buddhist temple premises. Buddhism and the far ancient Saivite religion of the Tamils had peacefully co-existed alongside each other from ancient times and complimented each other and many of the Sinhalese kings had a Hindu Tamil ancestry and their mothers and wives were Hindu Tamil women from South India or at times from the North of the island. It was not an issue with the ancient Sinhalese and Tamils living on the island and was not even an issue a generation ago. In places like Kathirkamam, the abode of Lord Murugan Hindus and Buddhists worshipped together. Also at Adams Peak. These places of worship have now been converted to exclusive Buddhist places of worship. It was the Tamils in the north who revived the ancient Buddhist temple at Naina Theevu the Naga Vihara. These ancient Buddhist ruins and archaeological sites in the north and east belong to the island’s Tamils and it is part of their history and culture who they were and how they evolved as unique distinct people on the island. These should be preserved and the correct history told.

      • 1
        0

        Not, using the power of the state and illegally converting to Sinhalese Buddhist sites, with fake history and deliberately building over the ancient Tamil Buddhist/Hindu sites like in Kuroothur Malai and other places, in order the deliberately obliterate the ancient history of the island’s Tamils and their monuments and covert them all the Sinhalese Buddhist.

        Everything ancient there Saivite or Buddhist belongs to the Tamils and not to the Sinhalese. Backoff. It is Kurunthoor Malai and not Kurindi or some other rubbish name deliberately coined to Sinhalese this place and its ancient historical Tamil Hindu/Buddhist site. The Adi Sivan temple next to the ancient Tamil Buddhist vihara ruins belongs to the Pallava era and also needs to be preserved and not destroyed and the local Tamil Hindus who are the descendants of these ancient Tamil Buddhists, are allowed to freely worship. This is all their heritage and does not belong to the Sinhalese. The Sinhalese are now illegally trying to claim all ancient Tamil Buddhist sites in the north and east as theirs, as there are no Tamil Buddhists left, so are using this to their advantage to illegally claim these Tamil archaeological sites as theirs.

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