5 March, 2024

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Protect Independence Of The Judiciary: OPA

The Organisation of Professional Associations of Sri Lanka (OPA), as the apex body consisting of 52 Professional Associations in Sri Lanka, is well aware that the foundation of our democracy rests on the three institutions named in the Constitution viz. the Legislature, Executive and the Judiciary. Among these, the Judiciary singularly stands out as one of the distinct pillars of the doctrine of Separation of Powers. As per Article 105 of the Constitution the Supreme Court of the Republic of Sri Lanka is named as the highest court “for the administration of justice which protect, vindicate and enforce the rights of the People.” .

Moreover, Article 3 states, “In the Republic of Sri Lanka sovereignty is in the People and is inalienable. Sovereignty includes the powers of government, fundamental rights and the franchise.”

In matters of interpreting the law of this country, the exclusive jurisdiction is vested with the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka and its decision is final and conclusive.

In this context, it is a matter of grave concern to learn from media that the Speaker of the Parliament has referred an Interim Order given by the Supreme Court in a Fundamental Rights application in relation to local government elections, to the Parliamentary Committee on Ethics and Privileges, to inquire into a potential violation of Parliamentary privileges.

In a constitutional democracy, the judiciary and the judicial system form the foundation of a law-abiding society. These are some of the fundamental tenets of modern civilised societies. Casting doubt on the authority of this sacrosanct institution will erode the confidence that the public has on the judicial system as a whole.

“Every judge … entrusted by law with judicial powers … under any law enacted by Parliament shall exercise and perform such powers and functions without being subject to any direction or other interference proceeding from any other person except a superior court … or other person entitled under law to direct or supervise such judge … ” (Vide Article 111 (c) of the Constitution)

Judicial independence means freedom from all sorts of external influence and pressure. The judiciary and its independence have traditionally been insulated from interference to enable it establish the rule of law. This freedom, independence and separation have to be maintained at all cost to ensure the continuance of a democratic governance system. It is under such an environment that the Judges will be able to address their judicial mind to an issue and deliver justice without fear or favour.

The OPA firmly believes that in a representative democracy the elected representatives and the government are responsible for the sovereign people. Therefore, there is a constitutional responsibility to protect the independence of the judiciary and also to ensure that the rule of law is not undermined.

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Latest comments

  • 10
    1

    We are trying to bolt the doors after the horses have fled. There have been a succession of political appointees even to the post of Chief Justice with scarcely a protest being made. It started with Nagalinam ACJ not made Chief Justice because he was a Tamil. Then, there were other interferences during the time of Felix Dias. These were followed up by nakedly political appointments. We, the public, kept quiet. We are now paying the price. There is also a climate of fear that has been created. What is in the Constitution does not reflect reality. There is a yawning gap.. There is little point in parroting out the provisions of the Constitution when they are not in operation in the country.

    • 4
      2

      “…Nagalinam ACJ not made Chief Justice because he was a Tamil. “
      What makes one so sure?
      That would have been around 1950. Did anyone protest then or even a little after?

  • 8
    0

    I fully agree.
    But we have a problem where the judiciary and the legal profession fail to discipline themselves. The Hambantota scandal under then CJ Sarath Silva is a good example.
    I have in 2018 complained about an errant Judge, Judeson, to the Judicial Service Commission which suppressed an internal finding against the judge.
    Since December last year I have been complaining to the JSC and Bar Association about a Trincomalee lawyer called Chandrasiri who has a large bunch of lawyers who have in nearly 20 unsigned affidavits certified as Commissioners of Oaths stating they were signed “before me” and the District Judge M. Ganesharajah will accept those dud affidavits and issue orders in Sinhalese to favour Chandrasiri and his clients.
    Neither the JSC nor the Bar Association has done anything to discipline their venal members.
    So let us ask for respect for the judiciary but insist on some standards from our judges and lawyers please.
    On the positive side, I made recourse to the Court of Appeal. Chandrasiri withdrew the 3 cases all with dud affidavits and 2 filed in Sinhalese in Trincomalee (with Ganesharajah refusing translations in Tamil) the day before the Court of Appeal was to take up the case asking for Ganesharajah to be replaced.
    So I still have hope.

    • 2
      1

      “…I have been complaining to the JSC and Bar Association about a …lawyer…who has a large bunch of lawyers who have in nearly 20 unsigned affidavits certified as Commissioners of Oaths stating they were signed “before me” and the District Judge M. Ganesharajah will accept those dud affidavits and issue orders in Sinhalese to favour Chandrasiri and his clients.
      *
      An affidavit is only a declaration attested by an authorized person. If the declarant has not signed, the document it is invalid.
      But often, people sign affidavits and the attestor countersigns much after. I have experienced this in the UK too.
      It seems that the failure of the declarant to sign was a lapse for which the attestor should have been disciplined. But fraudulent intention cannot be imputed unless there was some kind of impersonation.
      If the claim by JM is correct, the offence could very well have been serious oversight. The legal profession is reputed for such sloppiness and things get smoothed between lawyers.
      I wonder how a lawyer ‘has a large bunch of lawyers’. Senior lawyers have juniors, but not in bunches.
      Some of the claims seem to be opinions rather than established facts.
      *
      I agree that there is much the judiciary and lawyers need to do to justify professional independence and respect. But personalizing and publicizing matters that are sub judice is not the way to set about matters.

      • 1
        0

        “It seems that the failure of the declarant to sign was a lapse for which the attestor should have been disciplined. But fraudulent intention cannot be imputed unless there was some kind of impersonation.
        If the claim by JM is correct, the offence could very well have been serious oversight.”

        SJ the Peking Communist is always making excuses for the Establishment.

        How can many lawyers (over 10) in some 20 affidavits say they were signed before them when there is no signature? The lawyer as Commissioner of Oaths is even required to check the identity of the oath taker. A Supreme Court decision even says the judge is required to study if the affidavit is right before accepting it.
        This is why I asked the JSC to inquire into whether there is corruption involved when judge Ganesharajah accepts and acts on numerous flawed affidavits from one particular lawyer (S. Chandrasiri) systematically in many cases.
        After such a long delay after my complaint, if the JSC and Bar Association are to have any credibility, they must launch an inquiry by lawyers from outside Trinco who do not rely on favourable judgements for their clients in their other cases before judge Ganesharajah

  • 7
    1

    I am very strongly of the opinion that the Speaker of the Parliament of Sri Lanka should be sent in for Rehabilitation and given thorough psychiatric counselling by a team of expert psychiatrists. Intensive therapy should be given for a period of at least six months.

    • 0
      0

      Captain Morgan,
      The issue under discussion is at the core of our problems. And, you find it in order, to have your own style of merriment. Please … .

      • 0
        0

        Nathan,
        I was not trying to be funny. I was serious.

        • 0
          0

          You who prescribed the type and period of therapy cannot be serious!

  • 7
    1

    It is true that Independence of Judiciary must be protected in this country. The question is whether we understand why the independence of Judiciary must be protected. More than important is that the judiciary should protect the people’s right and provide the correct decision making without any discrimination. Unfortunately, We have experience that the Chief Justice protected the Criminals who robbed this country. E.g: The decision made by Chief Justice in the case of robbing the Funds donated to people who were affected by Tsunami. We have a history of release of murderers who were even found guilty of murder of innocent civilians by Military. If judiciary is biased the final outcome, the country became highly corrupted powerful leaders who brought bankgruptcy and they are still protected by Judiciary.So, independence is not enough, humanity is necessity.

    • 3
      3

      “So, independence is not enough, humanity is necessity.”
      Where does humanity enter the picture?
      The rule of law is what must be supreme.

      • 2
        1

        “The rule of law is what must be supreme.”

        Which is that low? Sadampi low or Vasanthi’s low or Deva’s low or Siri Ma O’s low?

      • 2
        0

        “Where does humanity enter the picture?”
        Humanity not comes from law.
        If there is no humanity, what is the point of law. Writing law with providing justice is not enough which is now proven again and again for past 75 years of law in this country.

  • 6
    0

    What happens when the Supreme Court violates the Constitution by not t delivering the verdict on FR petitions within two months? As per the constitutional requirements.
    Where can you get the remedy?

  • 3
    6

    People! Sole purpose of the ATA is for Country Secession (division of the country into two separate countries), or its lesser form, Federalism. Judiciary will have no say.

    • 7
      2

      That may not be a bad thing Ramona. The 6.9 million modayas will have their own country and keep it in beggary

    • 7
      2

      The whole world talked about “Terrorism” and We also called Terrorism. When thousands of Sinhalese youth took arms, abducted people, murdered people by both JVP and Sinhala Militray. We never called them as “Terrorism”. But when thousands of innocent Tamils from North East and Up country were murdered through out the country no one called “Terrorism”. When the Tamils youths challenged and became equivalent to Sinhala military they were called “Terrorists”. When the LTTE fought against Indian army and Rajiv (Indian PM) was murdered they called LTTE as Terrorists. In 2009, all those called LTTE as “Terrorists” joined hand with Rajapaksas and massacred over 50000 innocent civilians and LTTE surrendered and silenced the weapons, all celebrated victory and they claimed they have completely wiped out “Terrorism”. Not a single gun shot from LTTE since 2009. Now we talk again about “Terrorism”. Where was the evidence of “Terrorism”. THe Easter Bomb Blast is not Terrorism because not a Single Buddhist Sinhala or Muslim affected by the Bomb Blast. Only beneficiaries of tyhe Easter Bomb is SLPP or Rajapaksa family. The current ATA is against “Aragalaya” youths who have nothing to do with violence during that Period. Again the real beneficiaries are Ranil and Rajapaksas.Now, any action including armed and unarmed struggles, protests, speeches or social media opinions against Rulers are “Terrorism” . This is Sri Lanka. No one can beat us!

      • 4
        3

        ” When…Sinhalese youth took arms…by both JVP and Sinhala Militray. We never called them as “Terrorism” “
        Who says?
        The JVP was accused of terrorism and state violence was unleashed against it.
        Who dares call any government terrorist, unless the purpose is regime change?

        • 2
          1

          JVP was accused of terrorism but which country declared JVP as “Terrorists”?

          • 2
            1

            Ajith it wasn’t necessary for other countries to declare the JVP terrorists because, unlike the LTTE, they had no supporters or bases in India or the West.

    • 5
      2

      ramona therese fernando,
      You have been consistently making some valid comment. However, this particular one is against that vein. Do not denigrate Federalism.
      Federalism is the best that could stop the division of the country.

  • 5
    1

    W.P.A.Jayasekera an Engineer and EX.CJ. Sarath N.Silva met when they were members of the Organisation of Professional Associations. Friendship led to Sarath .N.Silva walking away with the wife of Jayasekera. This is all revealed in a book by Victor.Ivan an Investigative journalist among other things.
    This same OPA IS CHAMPIONING THE CAUSE FOR AN INDEPENDENT JUDICIARY.
    Ranjan Ramanayake famously said they are all the same and found himself in Jail.
    Some people are more equal than the others.eh?

  • 4
    1

    The default mode of operation of most Sri Lankan is impunity.
    I don’t think we see anything wrong in oppressing our fellow citizens in order to feel good.
    The cast system, along with every possible division in our society is designed to suppress others while we feel important.
    The judicial system is no different. They have their prejudices within themselves. Until and unless we begin to look at each other as equals, this unwritten trend will be there.
    I wonder what kind of miracle it will take for an average Sri Lankan to get over this insatiable need to feel he is better than the next person to him.
    I wonder when we will stop judging people on appearance, name, caste or creed.
    We are still very far from civility. We are very far from recognising that other people deserve the same things as we do. I wonder when we will appreciate truth over impunity.

  • 2
    1

    You can blame, you can praise or even you can convulse to protect this utter rotten judicial system. Further, we may agree with the theory that the Executive, the legislature, and the Judicial system are the three pillars of a democratic republic’s administration. But nothing in Langkang can realign the lost sovereignty back with people, after the 1948 curse day, on February 4th. In 1931, people received their sovereignty from Britain through the Universal Franchise. It was stolen by the Langkang Royal Families in 1948. The one and the only way to realign the lost sovereignty from people, back to people is to make Protestors win their war. Evil is the No. 1 Fascist in the world currently. Kim Jong Un or Putin are only behind the Evil Emperor. It is only the words of Evil that rule the Langkang. His aim is to save the Rowdy Royals and continue the Sinhala Chauvinism, with their support. SLFP protects the Batalanda crimes; Up protect the Vanni crimes. Whether you buy cream cheese or butter at the supermarket, it is only milk fat! Langkang Court House only kids playing sand box, which deliver “Sinhala Only Jury Verdict.” So do not waste your time worrying about if Parliament is disciplining the Court or The Court voluntarily surrendering to the Barbarians in Parliament.

    Period!

  • 15
    12

    OPA is clueless ! They are trying to raise a nonsense thing called Sri Lankan judiciary to an imaginary standard.

    By the way, what professional organisation affiliated to the OPA is is considered world class standard? All of them are corrupted fools imagining themselves to be capable of issuing high sounding statements !
    What is the quality of service these individual OPA organisations give our people ?

    Our judiciary is notorious for its rascals-Sarath Silva, Mohan Peries, Asoka Silva, Kusala Sarojini ( acquitting another rogue lawyer/politician Nimal Siripala) , Rohini Perera who lobbied for Royal Park murderer after taking money from the family.

    What about Ranjan Ramanayake sentenced to imprisonment for saying judges are corrupt ! Was that justice ?
    If these are the judges we produce, forget about having a judiciary.
    Go back to village headman deciding cases after a good shot of Kassipu

    • 7
      0

      Deepthi, scathing comments but absolutely true, all of them are scoundrels. ‘What then is to be done’?

  • 9
    0

    If an opinion poll is conducted in SL with the questions:
    1. Is the Judiciary in SL independent?
    2. Is the Judiciary in SL impartial and follows the rule of law?

    I am sure in both cases the answers would be astoundingly negative. I am sure the people of SL do not trust
    the AG, Judiciary, Minister of Justice, Prisons Commissioner, or for that matter senior officials of the armed forces. The perception is the truth in the minds of the people as they believe the Government, directly and indirectly, manipulates by various methods these organizations that should be independent and follow the rule of law

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