By Vishvamithra –
Those who are in the ‘inner circle of the judiciary’ are fully aware that in the recent past the incumbent Chief Justice, had turned down 6 or more improper requests made by the President Rajapaksa to meet him at the temple trees. It is important to mention that all this requests had been made only after the Supreme Court declared number of Bills presented to the Parliament unconstitutional. Inner circle also well aware that, when the CJ refused to meet the President, he had uttered that ‘okiva othanata genaweth mama okiva othanin elavanneth mama’, condemning the CJ’s stand.
Sri Lanka is a democracy at least on paper and there is no contitutional tradition that allow the President to summon the judges of the Apex Court which is seen as an act of showing President’s almighty powers to the judges, that is clearly improper as the Apex Court and the Court of Appeal belong to a separate arm that is Judiciary, over which the Executive has no power or authority whatsoever. After all in Sri Lanka the head of the State is the President, unlike queen in the UK, he is not merely ceremonial head.
The role of the judiciary being the ‘watchdog’ of the people is nothing new and it is well documented. More than any average layman the judges of the Apex Court are fully acquainted with the aphorism “Not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done. And if the judges compromise or give the impression to the people, whose inalienable judicial power they exercise, that only carry a wrong message to the people and naturally they would loose their confidence and trust placed in the Judiciary.
Apparently, this is why the CJ refused to abide by the ‘request’ made by the President Rajapaksa to meet him, because she knew that the head of the judiciary has no business with the Executive in the administration of justice and she was not allowed under the law to compromise her integrity with the Executive President.
When the CJ refused the meeting the President went in the air and informed the public that he invited CJ to discuss the budget allocation for the judiciary and not invited her for anything else. That is clearly a blatant lie, because the CJ has no business with any such discussion that is executive in nature, which the President in his capacity of the Minister of Finance should have been discussed with the Secretary to Ministry of Justice.
The whole nation is fully aware that after the President served the CJ the letter of termination of service, which is ab initio void and hence had no legal effect, hardly 24 hours after Parliament passed a controversial impeachment motion against Chief Justice Bandaranayake, the President once again committed another blunder. Now abusing his mighty executive power, effectively intimidates the remaining judges of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal summons the judges to the President’s Office. All right-thinking people of this country steadfastly condemn this cowardly act by the President, particularly since he had used this meeting to inform the other judges that there was still time for Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake to retire with full pension rights and urged them to inform his stand to the CJ, which they have refused to comply with.