3 December, 2022

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Rajapaksa’s Second Choice: Corrupt Justice Hettige

Rajapaksa’s Second Choice: Corrupt Justice Hettige As Acting CJ?

By Uvindu Kurukulasuriya

Uvindu Kurukulasuriya

“The independence of the Judge is dependent on and is linked to the question of his moral integrity. His knowledge of the law and his skills in legal reasoning and analysis in the process of adjudication, though very desirable, are in a sense secondary and of less importance. An honest mediocrity is to be preferred to a clever crook when it comes to the act of judging. Intellectual dishonesty in adjudicating though often hard to demonstrate is to be deplored, while moral depravity and corruption of any sort are wholly outside the pale and must be condemned without equivocation,” – President’s Counsel H. L. de Silva addressing the Conference of the Independence of the Judiciary, August 25, 1999 –BMICH

There is currently a prevalent sense of grave concern and apprehension, one may even say an angst  among a section of the legal community that the deeply cherished values of judicial independence and moral integrity among judges are under serious threat and in a state of crisis. Over the years the foreshadowed dangers have  increased in intensity and have now reached a critical point.

Sometime back, we raised serious issues affecting the integrity of the Sri Lankan judiciary. We raised the issue of the appointment of retired Chief Justice Asoka de Silva as Senior Legal Advisor to the President. Today the Chief Justice, tomorrow an advisor to a controversial head of the state. What does this imply? Where is the integrity of Sri Lanka’s judiciary?

We raised the serious conflict of interest issues relating to the present Chief Justice. We wanted the Chief Justice to answer how her husband was appointed Chairman of Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation, and to the Lanka Hospitals Corporation PLC as a member of its Board of Directors. How was he also appointed as Chairman of the National Savings Bank? Had he applied for the job? Was he interviewed? Who were the other applicants? Were there qualified applicants other than her husband?

At the end, Chief Justice Shirani Bnadaranayaka is impeached unlawfully, without giving her a fair trial. Tonight or soon she will be removed by force. Rajapaksa’s first choice is to appoint corrupt former AG Mohan Pieris as CJ. To do this he is going to appoint his second choice CJ as acting CJ. The plan is to appoint Sathya Kada Hettige as acting CJ, then  Mohan Pieris as the Chief Justice. The Colombo Telegraph has already exposed Mohan Pieris’s misconduct.

Sathya Hettige, who had changed his name after leaving the university, was nominated for an appointment of a Court of Appeal, but on both occasions, the Constitutional Council rejected it on the basis of inefficiency. However when the Constitutional Council was abolished, he was directly appointed as the President of Court of Appeal by the President. Then to the Supreme Court.

He invited President Rajapaksa to his daughter’s wedding, where the President signed as a witness and stayed more than one hour at the wedding ceremony. When Sarath Fonseka challenged his Court Martial in the Court of Appeal, this matter came to light, and Fonseka’s counsel Romesh De Silva P.C., objected to Hettige sitting in the case, since the President appointed the Courts Martial against Sarath Fonseka. But the objection was overruled and Sarath Fonseka’s writ applications were also rejected.

The International Bar Association’s minimum standards on judicial independence, at clause 44  says, “A judge shall not sit in a case where there is a reasonable suspicion of bias or potential bias.”

Hettige has also been the subject of serious criticism over accepting ruling party nomination papers despite alleged procedural errors, and rejecting opposition nomination papers for local government elections.

I also drew attention to the new tradition of judges inviting politicians to parties. Justice Sathya Hettige invited President Mahinda Rajapaksa, his brother Minister Basil Rajapaksa, and the Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne and some other politicians to celebrate his promotion to the Supreme Court.

Hettige is also a Judge of the Supreme Court of Fiji, which is under a military dictatorship. The main issue here is the impact his Fijian job has on Justice Hettige when he is sitting in the Supreme Court at Hulftsdorp. Can we expect justice and independence from servants of military dictators? What is their judicial mentality? What is their ethical compass in relation to the judicial function? What principles of judicial independence do they adhere to? Do they make a distinction between their Sri Lankan and Fijian judicial roles? Can someone serving under a foreign military dictatorship, legitimately and credibly, sit at the same time on the bench of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka? What can be expected of judges in Sri Lanka who serve a military dictatorship elsewhere?

Some would say there is no difference between a military dictatorship in Fiji and an elected dictatorship in Sri Lanka. But others still have a hope about Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court and the judiciary, because there are still judges who have been forthright and dispense justice without fear or favour.

Justice Sathya Hettige must explain why he invited President Rajapaksa to his daughter’s wedding to sign on behalf of their family, it being unlikely that Rajapaksa imposed himself as a witness. What is his relationship with the President? Is it appropriate that a Supreme Court judge should continue to have personal and social relations with the executive branch, especially of a government whose behaviour is extremely questionable from the viewpoint of democracy and the Rule of Law? Why is he going to work under the Fiji military dictatorship? How does his Fijian experience influence his high judicial role in Sri Lanka? Did he not compromise his integrity and independence with the President when he got permission to go to Fiji?

If President Rajapaksa is going to appoint Hettige as the acting Chief Justice he and his government must answer the above questions too!

I hope those who criticised Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayaka will do the same about Sathya Hettige’s misconducts!!

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Latest comments

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    We will have to play the second innings of the impeachment match from tomorrow.

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      The choice of words by you, as a regular contributor, is unfortunate here. I’m sure no one has to convince you that the situation is much graver to be called a match, in any sense.

      These individuals ( hettige, peiris) will provide just the veneer the regime requires, including ‘legitimising’ all the illegalities of impeachment, such as reversing 1st determination of SC on 1st jan with a new (5 member) bench and also introducing a “new” judicial review (in place of CofA review) as per the pledge given to UNHRC.

      Only hope is that, nothing can refute that their was no due process in PSC stage. No pliant judiciary can correct that. And that’s the only smoking gun to force the international community to rethink about this regime. And that counts a lot as the regime’s only anxiety is about their future shows (CHOGM etc;) and pressure from UNHRC and not the opposition and not the judiciary any more.

      I think it’s reasonable to fear for physical safety of this CJ and that they’ll then make steps to ease out all the judges who sat on the crucial determinations in SC & CofA in the least and the senior lawyers who stood up to this injustice will be hounded.

      Even for someone to write something like what you write usually in CT will be an extremely risky thing ( if living in SL) in near future. Only the likes of Ranil W can think of these developments as yet another parlor “game”, and I’m sure you don’t want to be grouped together with him on this nor in many other issues faced by the country.

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        anaperera, I have nothing more to add to your comment

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        The IC respects Saudi and that’s plan.
        Safety first! Kiss the ground Oil will flow.

        In 83 you stayed indoors while Colombo Tamils homes were burnt and the Muslims looted so be like that.

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      Would like to know that PRRA guy or FM Pieris is going to quote you in their articles and speeches. ;)

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      Sathyapala Hettige, another deadwood product from the AG’s department is quite famous (or notorious) in the Department for one reason.

      He had the priviledge of having a woman as his peon for several years, and had the joy of [Edited out]the air conditioned comfort of his chambers.

      His room often smelled of semen.

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      Sri Lanka has an endless supply of poitical cronies. Unfortunately. This new acting CJ nominee must be one of them. Not legitimate at all in people’s eyes.

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    Sathya???? What a joke? Is this a new name for an assslicker?

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      He is just another a passing fancy.

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      He will deliver verdicts acquittal on SATHYA [TRUTH] AS HIS NAME SAYS.

      IN JARAPASSA JUDICIARY IT IS “THE TRUTH BUT NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH”.

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    He is not Sathya Hettige. He is Sathyapala Hettige. It is more desirable and proper to appoint Dr. Mervin Silva or any other from Hambanthota to be CJ, than Sathyapala Hettige.

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    This is a great piece Uvindu, thank you for this! I wonder whether Srl Lankan journalists will write about this issues.

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    This is a shit country, this will be finish like Libya. Nothing will happen. :( By the way extremely good points Uvindu. Thank you.

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    Govt will be had pressed to appoint a CJ if impeachment proceeds. Any new CJ will be subject to intense scrutiny and public pressure. In addition non cooperation by the judiciary and bar. Dissenting verdicts will be common and point of law will be upheld. Pity the fool who will accepts this position.

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    the end of RULE OF LAW AND JUSTICE.

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    anaperera
    I think you have completely missed the point. What Uvindu wanted to show is that there is a worst choice than Mohan Peiris for MR to appoint as new CJ.
    Here he correctly show what a useless judge Hettige is to be a CJ under MR. You read the article again carefully.

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      there are much worse things happening around us, yet, for your info I was cautioning kamal n.

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    IS IT TRUE MERVIN RESIGNED TO TAKE THE CHIEF JUSTICE POST?.

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      I think Mervin is tipped to be the next Prime Minister??

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    What about rattaran putha Namal. He has to start his legal career
    somewhere.

    Senguttuvan

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      He might be appointed the Minister for Womens Affairs!!!

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    brilliant!

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    THNX BUDDY…………IT’S REALLY GOOD ONE BUT NOW IN SL THERE’S NO JOURNALISE TO WRITE ARTICLES LIKE THIS.IF THEY WRITE NEXT DAY “”ANICHCHAWATHA SANQARA.. :(

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    Great work Uvindu… there are more black sheep hiding under their judges cloaks and lawyers robes

    these nefarious characters are everywhere – SC/CA and Bar – both official and unofficial

    they have blazed the trail to the destruction of the SC – with their greed for promotions

    they are the ones who will betray the cause like SN Silva….

    The CJ is obviously not perfect except in her new resolve which we respect deeply. We beggars cannot be choosers – but even beggars must refuse mohan peiris and hettige types

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    CJ’s husband did not appoint himself to every position, particularly to the chairman posts of govt institutions. President’s said that CJ’s husband was ape miniha.

    Even if both the CJ and her husband was stealing from the country left, right and every way, it should not have been expose if CJ allowed the President his way by making the Supreme Court decision supporting the president (govt).

    So, when the root is rotten the whole tree becomes rotten.

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    Kadahettige saga just not begins with his judicial career. When he was about to retire from the Public Service (AG’s department), he pleaded with the President and was elevated to the Court of Appeal where the retirement age is 63 years. And then appointed to the President of the Court of Appeal overlooking the most senior judge justice Sri Skandaraja. Kadahettige can be trusted with any onerous work and he would deliver the things the way the President Rajapakse desires, that is guaranteed. From the Court of Appeal on the directions of the Rajapakse, Kadahettige was straight away elevated to the Supreme Court. Surely this man is not fit to hold any office in the judiciary and he is a person with a very low character and had compromised his integrity long time ago. All this demonstrate nothing but President Rajapakse wishes to install judges with ‘proven character’ in the Apex Court.

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    Uvindu in a country now in tatters due to the buffoons ruling its a relief to read yours.Look at fellows like Mervin Gonwansa dilan and the Dentist and as someone said the all knowing hotelier Keheliya the drunkard who tried to jump from a balcony to meet the mistress in another room.
    You have missed the woman whose husband had also left her Wijesundera who also had the brothers to sign also sending Sarath Fonseka to jail.Weeks after she was elevated to the Appeal Court and J Warawewa not given an extension. pictures of the woman dancing for the benefit of the Rajapaksas were floating in information super highway.
    Womaniser upasakya Sarath Silva and Cinnamon Peeler Asoka Silva are two who should be shot on Galle Face Green for destroying the SC.Asoka Silva who was appointed over Shirani B passed the infamous 18th amendment to Shirani B to clear so that he will be on the good books of rajathuma to get a job when he retires.Sadly Shirani B was trapped as if she did bot clear that no way will she get the post of CJ.Rajapakse is a KAPATIYA as Sarath Silva said.
    TODAY THEW COUNTRY IS WITH MUGABBE AND LIKES IN IRAN SUDAN AND SO ON
    Life moves on and who knows how this bugger will end and the end of the samagama

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    This is what we expect from journalists. Thank you Uvindu!

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      Agreed ! If this is all factually correct we need more JOURNALISTS’ like this.

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    According to news reports

    Former Attorney General and Legal Adviser to the President, Mohan Peiris, is likely to be appointed as the acting Chief Justice by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

    However, the senior lawyers supporting Chief Justice, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, have decided to acquire a Quo Warranto from the Court of Appeal, if Peiris is appointed as acting Chief Justice. A Quo Warranto gives the ability to question under which power a particular decision was taken.

    President Rajapaksa is to take the decision of removing Chief Justice Bandaranayake from her post, once Parliament concluded the voting for the impeachment. Following the removal of Bandaranayake, an acting Chief Justice would be appointed.

    However, sources said Chief Justice Bandaranayake is not ready to accept Parliament’s decision and hopes to remain in her post, based on the interpretation of the Supreme Court. In such a situation, lawyers who represent the Chief Justice have decided to appeal to the Court of Appeal.

  • 0
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    Uvindu is doing a good impersonation of Lasantha Wickramatunga. Abuse without real facts.

    Remebre where Wickramatunga ended up?

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      POLOTTA;

      ARE YOU THREATENING TO Uvindu Kurukulasuriya ,
      OR GIVE EARLY WARNING??????????????????????????????????.

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      Ass…., are you on Idi Mahin’s payroll? Mind your f…… language.

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    We got independence from British in 1948 to govern the country as it was done before the independence was lost. Before that we had our own or imported kings and people obeyed the kings without any complaint, at least superficially. So we have gained full independence now and we can have our own king with the blessing of the majority of the descendants of the same people who said that “Portuguese ate quartz while drinking blood.”

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    There is only one difference between SL and Fiji, in Fiji it is official, that Fiji is a military , dictatorship, regrettably SL ‘s case it is unofficial.
    Readers i urge you to do a comparison between these two countries then you can come to your own conclusion.

    ps Fiji is planning to change the constitution according to the wishes of current dictator.

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    You will have KELE Neethi continued under MARAs regime in the country.

    Executions like Rizana can be expected.

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    This pre emtive strike on judge Hettige is rather pathetic,and politically motivated.

    Aren’t your International judges who want to try us for chasing the Tigers all from different continents?.

    Isn’t the Judges job is to read and tell us peasants exactly what is written in the Constitution and related legislature?.

    And not to put a spin on them.

    Would n’t Judge Hettige, having learned our Law and the Figian Law both ,better than our one Law judges?.

    And I can assure you that learning the Law books of the other countries on top your own is not an easy task and only the brightest can do that.

    Don’t we send our Medical Specialists to learn their trade overses to make them specialists?.

    Wouldn’t you love to have the Prez’s signature for your Daughter’s nuptials?.

    You guys have to come up with something substantial than just a signature on the Registry to prove this Judge is bent ,and not fit to be a Judge.

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      this two-laws man smelled heavily. His peon girl knew why.

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    There are several other judges whose integrity has been undermined by President Rajapakse. There is a husband of a Supreme Court judge who worked for Presidential candidate at the last presidential elections from Temple Trees.Can he deny this ? This man also was a former judge but was sacked by CJ Sarath Silva for various reasons including corruption. After Rajapakse won against Sarath Fonseka at presidential elections he made the unemployed former judge an ombudsman. Can rajapakse deny this ? What does this ombudsman’s wife, a sitting judge have to say about this ? Has Rajapakse again undermined the independence of the Supreme Court in his usual low manner ?

    Then there is another female judge in the court of appeal who wrote a letter a newspaper attacking the lawyers for protesting the impeachment.It maybe the first time such a thing has ever happened. This female judge is well known for carrying tales to the rajapakse. She is also well known for making court files of influential litigants disappear. Why is she notinvestigated and impeached ?

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      LOT OF WIVES [MANY INFLUENTIAL FEMALES] ARE INVOLVED IN ALL THESE MATTERS TO GET BENEFITS FROM THE MAHENDRA PERCY RAJAPASSA.,
      CAN ANY BODY EXPLAIN THIS WHY?.

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    It will not be Sathyapala Hettige, but Shirani Thilakawardena who will accept the laundry of MARA!

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      Shiran is also tipped to be the next First Lady-in-Waiting!!

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    Latest is that backup man Satyapala Kadahettige will remain there as a backup source. We will get you irrefutable evidence of this man’s dishonestly but would not divulge them until MR commit himself and issue a letter of appointment to his first choice. As all you know that the declaration made by MR that the incumbent CJ is removed from office is NULLITY and nothing emanates from the President’s letter addressed to the CJ. Whole process initiated to remove the CJ had been already declared nullity and the decision of the PSC was quashed by the Court of Appeal. MR fully drunk with power and lost his all senses had intentionally violated the Constitution to please his greed for absolute power over all the institutions. Let MR bring his first choice MOHAN PEIRIS, a cheat and a fraudster. Any such move would demonstrate what motivate the removal of the CJ, which will give the international community a great opportunity to justify the apparent move being initiated to declare Sri Lanka a FAILED STATE.

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    Namal for CJ

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      MORON.
      YOU ARE ON THE SPOT.
      WE LIKE YOUR HIGHLY EDUCATED SYNTHETIC MONGOL THERE.
      THAT IS THE ONLY THING MISSING IN THE QUEUE.

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    If Hettige has to explain his invitation to the president to be present and sign as a witness,at his daughters’ wedding,CJ Shirani Bandaranaike too has to explain why she apparently invited herself and two other fellow justices to the celebration of Namal Rajapakse on his taking oaths as an attorney at law of the supreme court.
    There were photos in the media,one of the CJ and two fellow justices in their ceremonial robes,along with Namal Rajapakse & his parents – the President and his spouse, and other photos of this goup being visited by ministers Hakim and GLPeiris & others – whom I cannot recall.
    I was shocked, as such visits of supreme court judges to private celebrations,in their ceremonial robes, have not occured,I beleive, since independence.

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    Uvindu, we need unbiased Journalist like you.Good luck very well written article.
    As well as Late. It is very relevant to mention late H.L.de Silva PC’s that Quotation of his Speech.We need Independent judges with honest skilled,with moral integrity.How many Judges in this caliber serving in our Judiciary.Most of the judges appoint with political or some other influence.That a fact.To AG’s department or any other Commissions.That’s the reality.90% of this our country without any influence no one cannot go higher.Finally ,they have to lick their(masters) boots.After 1956 -1978 this is cursed spread all over our country.this not limited to judiciary that’s applicable to every where in our country.Courts Office,Any Government office.without money,influence we cannot do any work.Ladies are winners in this game some times. “

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    As Sumanasekera said the best will be the SYNTHETIC LAWYER NAMAL.THEN THE FAMILY TREE IS COMPLETE

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      Sorry buddy, It was pretend Sumanasekera.

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