1 December, 2020

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Reconciliation: Looking Forward 3 – The Impeachment: A Liberal Perspective On Justice

By Rajiva Wijesinha –

Dr. Rajiva Wijesinha MP

One of the saddest aspects of the recent attempt to impeachment the Chief Justice is that it is concerned with punishment rather than reform. This fundamental flaw in our judicial system was diagnosed in the President’s budget speech last year, when he called for reforms that would limit unnecessary remanding and employ rehabilitation rather than retribution for more offenders. But, characteristically, those suggestions were ignored, and so we had regular riots in our prisons during the past year.

I am not of course suggesting that we should try to reform the Chief Justice or seek to rehabilitate her. But we should certainly set in place systems that will prevent the type of abuse that has taken place.

The abuse has now boiled down to three issues. When the controversy first erupted, the Liberal Party issued a statement which noted that what appear to be the principal and indeed only charges possibly warranting impeachment, those relating to financial misbehaviour, clearly require judicial investigation before any decision can be reached.’ We thought the several charges at the end related to trivial issues and, though the Parliamentary Select Committee report does not quite say this, it makes it clear that there is no need to explore these further.

With regard to the charges relating to financial misbehavior, the first is clearly the most serious. I am not referring to the fact that she bought a house from Trillium, but rather to the fact that she headed the bench looking into Trillium issues. More shockingly, she had removed the bench doing this previously – and doing this swiftly and effectively, I believe – and introduced herself.

That she herself realized this was improper was obvious from the fact that, soon after the charges were brought, she recused herself. This confirms my view that she is a clever person who understands what judicial propriety is, and that in this case she had violated norms.

Whether that is a reason to impeach her is another question. My point here is that no one is addressing the appalling fact that she was able to thus give herself authority over a case in which, if only to a limited extent, she was involved. Equally worrying is the fact that no one raised any questions about this until there seemed reason to impeach her. And I fear government suggested that it was impeachment rather than righting the wrongs that had occurred that was vital, when it brought so many trivial charges, instead of focusing on what might be misconduct, rather than simply bad judgment.

The problem, which I had pointed out previously this year, long before the crisis blew up, is that we pay insufficient attention to process. I take no credit for this, since process is something Liberals realize must be taken seriously. Unfortunately, given that Sri Lankan politics is otherwise without ideological underpinnings, no one else thinks of process, or perhaps even understands this. I am especially sorry that this negligence dogs even the former Marxist parties. They used to be keen on upholding parliamentary process, in the strange combination of Trotsky and Laski they propagated, but all that went by the board with the woeful constitution of 1978.

We need clear and efficacious internal rules of conduct for judges. While these should ideally be formulated by the Judicial Service Commission, if that is not up to the task, Parliament must do the job. Justice is administered by Courts set up by Parliament, and that means Parliament has every right to lay down the procedures that such Courts and those who preside over them should follow. Amongst the rules that should be formulated are ones to prevent conflicts of interest arising, and these should err on the side of caution.

That is more important than impeaching the Chief Justice, for unless we introduce such reforms, nothing is to prevent a future Chief Justice behaving equally badly. And to ensure checks, which are necessary for all branches of government, we should introduce collegiate responsibility, so that the Chief Justice does not make decisions arbitrarily, but does so in consultation with senior judges of the Court. In addition, we should encourage questioning of decisions, by making it clear that contempt of court means contempt, not requesting explanations or clarifications. Unfortunately, after the disgraceful abuse of contempt provisions by the previous Chief Justice with regard to S B Dissanayake, the feeling has arisen that any questioning of court decisions can be contempt. This is absurd, and greater freedom for holding the courts also to account must be entrenched.

I will return to other issues, but the need to develop norms must be understood. This is more important than punishment for violation of what had not been established as a norm.

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Latest comments

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    This man is more like the new ‘Sunday Leader’ owned by the mafia man Asanga Senevirathna, much in common NOT to find fault with the first family and try to cover the ass by finding some 2nd level minister or a bureaucrat.

    Than man who have sold is Liberal sole for coupel of good times and few car permits and free booze etc., is trying to cover the shame of a rogue impeachment done in rocket pace which Rajapaksha’s latest industry.

    How can someone who claims to have liberal principles protect a Tsunami dwingler and rogue to the core who has robbed the nations treasury and making 250+ relatives run the country with Billions earned by kickbaks and commissions.

    Shame on your Rajiva, you are becoming another Vaasi-Deva.

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      Rajiva, get real! It is Mahinda Rajapassa who needs to be impeached, punished and reformed.
      The bugger Mahinda Rajapassa is the biggest abuser of the law, institutions and processes in the country. His impunity and immunity must end and he must be held accountable for destroying and degrading institutions and people – by running a Kangaroo Court and insulting the Chief Justice, the judiciary and the legislative arm in the Diya-weena Paliament and bringing disrepute the SOVEREIGN PEOPLE of Lanka. Rajapassa’s impunity must stop, he has to be held accountable for destroying the rule of law
      The rot starts at the top with the upside down Rajapassa aka. executive president and his family of thieves.
      It is they who need to be reformed but not before they have been punished!

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      Rajiv – Protector of Piggy Bank Robber

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    How about introducing this norms to your paymasters for example Gota and Mara before you wax eloquent about principle.

    Coming as it is this liberalism with a black face or behind—I am trying not to LOL…

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    Rajiv, his father, uncle and other family members are very close to Mugabe robert. The other day during a tv program he stated that he did not sign the impeachment document as he did not know the content of it. He also stated that he will never sign anything without reading, meaning that he was not allowed to read the said document. After this episode he must have got the works from Mugabe. He is now singing a different tune which is definitely a damage control measure.

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      I agree. I detect a change in tone and tenor of this rather timid gentleman. No doubt he has been given the works by MahaRaja. Now he sings for his Masters Voice. So much for his liberal education and policies.

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    Rajiv speaks about financial misbehaviour. If we go down the memory lane during the Tsunami funds started to come our way. The Helping Hambanthota issue, was it not financial misbehaviour? Mr Rajiv, will you respond? In my view that was misappropriation of money belonging to the government. The questionable Chief Justice Sarath Silva saved MR from that situation. Recently ex CJ Sarath Silva in a speach said that he saved MR a few times and one of them was Helping Hambanthota. Any views comments from the readers?
    Sam Gunasekera

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      During the Tsunami disastor, Sri Lanka got worlds attention and even kids were to break their piggy banks from the west and send those money into the govt which was robed by this Medamulana hora Raja.

      Come another Tsunami- you will not see any donation coming in as the International community will not have any tolerance in here.

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    Rajiv knows how to blow and he does it well. So be it

    • 0
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      He also knows to lick:)

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    Rajiv is said to be a Thomian.Thomians are staunch & true. Please be staunch & true when you write on this subject again.

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      Thomains.. hmmm, One Malaka Silva and the 3 sons of the king all calls St Thomases as their Alma mater….

      Are they true and staunch? whatever – Rajiv – you can fool us in here.

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        The Eminent Professorio GLP too is an old boy of that school by the sea?

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    This man is not only a hypocrite but a pathological liar and one without a soul.Now he pontificates on liberal values which are diametrically opposed to those of Mahinda Chinthanaya. Thereafter, he joins the MR bandwagon. For what? As correctly pointed out by Mr. Gajanayake, solely for the purpose of car permits and enjoying other perks. He says that charges at the end relates to “trivial issues’ and that “there is no need to explore these further.” What a moron is this man who calls himself a professor! If these are trivial issues requiring no further investigation, why on earth do you include them in the charge sheet in the first place? He attributes serious financial misbehaviour on the part of the CJ with regard to the purchase of Trillium Residence. How on earth did this moron come to such an astounding conclusion without the lawyers of the CJ getting an opportunity even to cross examine the witnesses?

    This moron is obviously a blood relation of King Kekille and a gross insult to his illustrious father.

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      Rajiva Wijesinha:
      Why don’t you go back under whatever rock was unfortunate enough to give you shelter till you emerged into the daylight of SL?

      And for the benefit of those who think his father was a wonderful human being, suffice it to say that this fruit has not fallen too far from that tree! Sam Wijesinha epitomised opportunism during his tenure as a senior civil servant and his son has learned very well at his daddy’s knee!

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    The Professor has missed the point. The current controversy is not on the guilt or innocence of the CJ. Of course what needs to be changed is the process. Let a competent impartial tribunal decide if the CJ is guilty of the charges. The report presented is written proof that the resplendent isle is a Banana Republic. The report is also proof that Seven elected Monkeys enjoy eating Bananas in public. So Professor get back to your Banana.

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      Please don’t kill this mocking bird Rajiv. We need him for entertainment

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    The impeachment process was initiated just because the SC’s ruling went against the wish of the president and his brother BR. The president has raised himself to a position of no dissent from anyone and in case there is, the dissenter must be exacted retribution.

    The president has realised the national and international adverse reaction and inadvertently admitted the impeachment hearing and the report are improper and need to be looked at by an ‘independent’ panel. Will the panel be independent with representatives from all the parties in it?

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    If Rajiva being the leader of the Liberal Party is of the opinion that there is no liberal thinking within the Government and the Government is not democratic, why should he continue to be a member of the Government UPFA team?

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      For the same reason why the MPs from the Opposition Parties crossed over, ministerial portfolios, diplomatic privileges and perks. Car import licences can be sold for millions. Does this tiny country need a jumbo cabinet of 108 ministers and 36 deputies. They are there to serve themselves and the ruling family while the ordinary masses cannot even buy their basic essentials.

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    It seems everybody jumps into the bandwagon to criticise Rajiva without really understanding the crux of the problem. Don`t bring corruption of the government for counter argument. That`s totally another matter. Here`s a CJ who is accused of several charges including conflict of interest in her authoritative decisions. Let us deal with this in isolation. Let us discuss allegations against the government separately. One accusation cannot mitigate the other!

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      Nagarajah – “It seems everybody jumps into the bandwagon to criticise Rajiva without really understanding the crux of the problem.”

      Those who criticize Rajiva W do so not because they do not “understand the crux of the problem”, but because he is such a despicable hypocrite pretending to be a liberal whilst defending all the excesses of the regime. He says “..but we should certainly set in place systems that will prevent the type of abuse that has taken place”, but not a word about the abuses that are perpetrated by his bosses. He would be better off shutting his mouth and not regurgitating the bullshit that he does to ‘sing for his supper’.

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    He must have got wires crossed,

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    You have no credibility my chap. Your liberalism, my foot.

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    We in Singapore are astonished by the depths to which your country has sunk. Even your so-called top lawyers are third grade by our standards. One of our lawyers said that the impeachment document is fatally flawed in the eyes of the law. Your constitution requires that the impeachment document must be signed by a certain number of persons. Was it? No, according to many reports that remain uncontradicted. The MR serfs signed a blank sheet of papers and the articles of impeachment were tagged on to this. Surely, any honourable speaker would have thrown such document into the waste bin on the ground that the document was non-compliant with the requirements of the constitution. The constitution envisages a situation where your dishonorable legislators ponder over alleged high crimes and misdeamours and then write up the articles of impeachment. The thought process required by the constitution is not present when the MR serfs sign a blank piece of paper. They should be hauled up for contempt of parliament. Poor Sri Lankans, so long as you have this garbage in parliament, you will continue sending your women to foreign lands to spread their legs for horny Arabs or to Singapore to clean up the shit of the geriatrics.

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    i love rajive. he shows deepest level of the opportunistic behavior……….his ability will survive him forever without any disturbance

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