30 November, 2020

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People Have Lost Faith In The Judiciary Sans Its Credibility

By Savika Manawadu –

Ministers G L Peiris and Mahinda Samarasinghe state that the government of Sri Lanka has no faith in the inquiry into human rights abuses undertaken by the UNHRC. They claim that Sri Lanka has an independent, robust justice system to inquire into any such allegations and any international inquiry into human rights abuses in Sri Lanka lacks credibility.

Mahinda, Mohan and BasilGiven the total control of the Judiciary under the grip of the Executive President, it is quite natural that the same question arises in the minds of the right thinking people of Sri Lanka, particularly those who respect their social obligations.

People know that the Chief Justice, Dr Shirani Bandaranayake lost the ‘pleasure of the Executive President’ for refusing to approve certain bills presented by the government (the Divineguma bill, giving the control of Public Finance to Minister Basil Rajapaksa and the amendment to the Criminal Procedure Code, that permitted unfettered power to the police to keep a suspect taken into custody for 48 hours).

People know that the CJ’s firm stand as the head of the Judiciary to uphold the peoples’ judicial power, and her refusal to undermine the Judiciary by giving into the President’s demand to meet him at the President’s Office, cost her the office of the Chief Justice. Her removal from office was blatantly unlawful and it was reaffirmed by two judgments delivered by both the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal, which ruled that the removal of the CJ and the process followed by the government to remove the CJ, was manifestly unlawful.

Further to the unlawful removal of the Chief Justice, a person with a dubious character, Mohan Pieris, was appointed to the office of the CJ. It is a pity that the whole nation now faces the ignominy of this appointment, as it is now being challenged before the UNHCR.

Further to the appointment to the office of the Chief Justice, Mohan Pieris, absolutely subservient to the Executive, declared in public that the Rule of Law and Good Governance are just nice words, not seen in practice any where in the world. He further stated that whatever good work the government does the international community cannot be made happy about the human rights records of Sri Lanka. This deplorable statement made as the Chief Justice and the statement made about the separation of power, which Mohan Pieris declared only an impracticable norm, clearly demonstrate the total departure of the current regime of its obligation to uphold Separation of Power, the Rule of Law and the Good Governance.

The appointment of public officers from the Attorney General’s Department to the Supreme Court, which is currently over crowded with those appointments, now directly functions under the Executive President (except two career judges – Rohini Marasinghe and Chandra Ekanayake) and has made things worse.

It is now learned that the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Amaratunga is also to be filled by another stooge from the Attorney General’s Department, handpicked by the Executive President with scant respect or regard to the independence of the Judiciary, and prospects of the career judges who refuse to compromise their integrity.

In this backdrop it is quite natural that the people of Sri Lanka have completely lost their faith in the Supreme Court, because those who have appointed from the Attorney General’s Department continue to be subservient to the Executive President and have betrayed judicial power of the people that they exercised on trust. They have made their allegiance to the President obvious by joining the Presidential Secretariat as advisors after their retirement.

Thus, the people have every right to be concerned about the sad state of the judiciary in this country, that is readily prepared to betray the ‘judicial power of the people’ simply to satisfy the greed of one unruly individual, the Executive President. Yet, this government wants the international community to believe that Sri Lanka has a robust and absolutely independent Judiciary.

In the given climate, as the Judiciary has been totally belittled under the current regime, with no remedy available in the local justice system, any right thinking person would agree that the international community has every right to probe alleged human rights abuses taking place in Sri Lanka in an international tribunal that respects the basic norms of justice.

The current regime must accept total responsibility for lawlessness and take corrective measures to restore the pride of the judiciary, permitting it to discharge its role as the watchdog of the people against any individual, including those who hold high profile public office, on trust.

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Latest comments

  • 1
    0

    Ram,2009,

    Didn’t forget the fact the US president is accountable for all his actions to the People, whereas the President under Sri Lankan Constitution is not answerable for any act committed by him.

    The AG’s duty is to uphold Rule of Law but now serving directly under the President. He has to condone everything the President does. This is why people complaint that AG’s department has lost its credibility since then. The amount of indictments served on the ruling party politicians but later withdrawn under pressure by the AG under pressure is the best example.

    When Mohan Peiris’s appointment as the CJ was challenged before the Supreme Court AG took up the objection taken up by the AG on the basis of the total impunity afforded to the President by the Constitution. The Court upheld the objection and dismissed the case.

    Remember in Sri Lanka the Judges are at the mercy of the President and if they lost ‘the pleasure of the President’ they should go home. This is what happened to CJ Bandaranayaka.

  • 0
    1

    CJ should understand that the Head of the State come above everyone else and others holding public office should obey him and comply with his directions.

    CJ Bandaranayaka was big headed and refused to obey Presidents orders that is why she was forced to go home and Mohan Peiris was appointed as the CJ. He understands his role under the Law and that is why he is so obedient and worship the President, who is the elected Head of the State and now the Head to whole Commonwealth of Nations

    • 0
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      There are three branches of government, the Legislative, the Executive and the Judicial. The Chief Justice is the head of this last body and stands in for the President when he is away (where no Vice-President is elected). His job is to interpret the law (the constitution and it’s various amendments) as written down. He has no business in writing the law, which is done by the Legislative branch, made up of the elected members of very different abilities. This is why the law becomes an ass at times. Neither is the law of the land written under duress by a foreign country.

  • 0
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    What justice can you expect from Mohan peiris Chief Justice who party’s with the notorious minister Mervyn Silva at the
    President’ s new year arty at the president’s ancestral home.

  • 0
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    Savika Manavadu:

    In every country when it comes to national security sensitive matters, Judges consider those facts first.

    So your logics don’t work.

  • 0
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    What National Interest involve in the removal of the CJ by illegal means to satisfy the greedy Executive President with vested interests.

    The role of the Judiciary is to uphold the Rule of Law and not to act like puppets betraying the peoples Judicial Power. Law provides Judges with the same salary even after retirement, that is to spent an honourable life after retirement and not belittle the Judiciary by becoming a stooge of the Executive President after the retirement. Both Sarath Silva and Ashoka de Silva who joined as advisor to the President are guilty for this wrong doing.

  • 0
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    One day when the pride and integrity of the Judiciary is restored all Rulings/Judgements made by unlawfully constituted Supreme Court will become a nullity. That would force the people to bear an enormous cost for a wrong committed the spineless Judges for monitory considerations and Mercedez Bens offered by Mohan Peiris.

  • 0
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    In the given circumstances, probably one of the luckiest people to be benefited from the lawless regime is the DSG SHAVINDRA FERNANDO.

    Mohan Peiris who holds the CJ’s office by force, has already guaranteed him a place in the Superior Court for the ‘good work’ he has accomplished.

  • 0
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    I don’t think discussing the lawlessness in the Judiciary now functioning under the Executive would make things better until there would be a change of Government.

  • 0
    0

    We all know that our house is not in order.

    Yet, I don’t think one should expose these things to the neighbourhood.

  • 0
    0

    I don’t think this exposure will have any effect on the thinking of the Govt.

    Already three best “yes men” have been short listed by the GLP and their names have been approved the President, to be appointed to the SUPREME COURT. He is not prepared to consider the plight of the deserving Senior Jugdes in the Court of Appeal.

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