Few days after the secretive ‘Opinion’ obtained by the President, the Supreme Court sources disclosed internal clashes over the intemperate and political language used by the De facto Chief Justice Mohan Pieris to write the “Opinion”, Colombo Telegraph reliably learnt. The judges were told by Pieris that this opinion will not be known to the public, and therefore judges are free to write any opinion to the President. Among the questionable paragraphs the following shocking statement is also included;
“It would appear that having regard to the fact that a two time victor at a presidential election has garnered the popular support of the majority of the people as a political leader at successive elections, such a mandate holder should not be fettered with the sanction of a bar for a third time in accordance with the vision of that time. The imposition of such a disqualification is anathema to popular sovereignty as recognised in the determinations of 18th Amendment. It would appear that is was in these circumstances that the legislature thought it fit to remove such a bar in a manifestation of its commitment to take the nation to great heights on the anvil of reconciliation and reconstruction.”
Mohan Pieris has throughout the ‘Opinion’ criticized the critics and the academics who advocated against the President’s third term. He said they were “public debaters and self appointed educators and intellectuals living in ivory towers”. Several legal experts who have had an opportunity to look at the opinion, have expressed their dismay over the language used by the judges, and have confronted few of the judges who have signed the ‘Opinion’. Many of them have disassociated themselves with such parts of the ‘Opinion’. It is now learnt that the request of 4 judges, who wanted to have an open and oral hearing were ignored sarcastically, pretending that he (Pieris) the only constitutional expert in the country. He has also not given time for Judges to discuss the written submissions filed before the Supreme Court. On 10th November, when the judges met for a few minutes, the De facto Chief Justice had started to dictate the order, which appeared to have been prepared a few days ago and judges were given a print-out to sign a few hours later, a judge told Colombo Telegraph.