22 June, 2021

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The Motion To Impeach The Chief Justice Should Be Withdrawn – Academics

By Colombo Telegraph

“We appeal to our representatives, the Executive and the Legislature, to fulfil their political and legal obligations towards us, and to guarantee respect of the judiciary and to defend their independence. The motion to impeach the Chief Justice should be withdrawn, those responsible for the assault on the Secretary to the JSC should be brought to justice and those responsible for the attack on the Mannar Courts should also be brought to justice.” say some leading academics in Sri Lanka.

We publish the statement in full;

The varied types of attacks on the judiciary in Sri Lanka have risen to alarming proportions over the last few weeks and suggest that the very institution of the judiciary is under serious threat in the country. We the undersigned are extremely disturbed by these developments and would like to request that both the Executive and Legislative arms of the state fulfil their duty and guarantee the security and independence of the judiciary. In making this request we would like to remind the government and the public that;

  1. ALL public power is derived only from the People (Articles 3 and 4 of the Constitution). As such, public power whether executive, legislative or judicial can only be exercised according to law and the democratic values of a society. Public power can only be exercised for the benefit of the People of Sri Lanka.
  2. The ‘benefit of the People’ cannot be equated with a majority view, a majoritarian approach, the political interests of the political party(ies) in power or of a powerful few within a government. Contemporary society world over has accepted that the dignity and equality of all human beings is inherent, inalienable and that protecting that dignity is the primary responsibility of a state. Accordingly the ‘benefit of the People’ can only be understood as a framework for decision making which respects the inherent dignity and equality of ALL people in this nation.
  3. Guaranteeing the independence and effective functioning of the judiciary in Sri Lanka is a prerequisite for protecting the dignity of all Sri Lankans. The judiciary are mandated under the Constitution to adjudicate on disputes that arise between private parties and between the state and individuals. It is only in a context where the judiciary can function independently and is also generally perceived as functioning independently that society could expect to live and act according to law.
  4. Recent events such as the attack on the Mannar Courts, the assault on the Secretary to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), understood in the light of the unprecedented public statement issued by the JSC, at the very least, suggests that the judiciary in Sri Lanka is struggling to maintain its independence. Political analysts have gone as far as to suggest that the Executive is directly interfering with the function of the judiciary.
  5. Against this background, the motion to impeach the Chief Justice that has been handed over to the Speaker of Parliament is highly suspect. At the face of it, it seems to be evident that the all powerful Executive arm of the government is taking advantage of its position to undermine the judicial arm of the state, through a subservient Legislature. This is a manifest abuse of public power and goes against all accepted democratic norms of government. While the politicians and the political party(ies) in power may seemingly emerge as victors in the short run in this matter, in the long run, neither those politicians, those political parties, the Opposition nor the People would stand to benefit. ALL Sri Lankans will suffer grave consequences due to this interference with the Judiciary.
  6. While politicians and political parties in power are understood as being susceptible to act according to prevailing political interests, the judicial arm of a state is designed specifically to defend against all, the law and the spirit of the law. That includes the democratic values of a society and the rights of all persons. In a society where the other arms of the government interferes with that function of the judiciary and is aggressive towards the judiciary, the political sustainability of that society is under threat.
  7. The motion to impeach the Chief Justice and the other attacks on the judiciary are but only symptoms of a more alarming, complex and long standing crisis of governance in Sri Lanka. With each new incident the crisis becomes more embedded and widespread. The broader political context in which these incidents have taken place suggest a complex inter-play of different factors characteristic of a society where political patronage, expediency and convenience are the reference points for exercise of public power rather than democratic principles of governance and the law.

Therefore, we appeal to our representatives, the Executive and the Legislature, to fulfil their political and legal obligations towards us, and to guarantee respect of the judiciary and to defend their independence. The motion to impeach the Chief Justice should be withdrawn, those responsible for the assault on the Secretary to the JSC should be brought to justice and those responsible for the attack on the Mannar Courts should also be brought to justice.

Signatories

1. Dr Ranil Abayasekera (University of Peradeniya)
2. Dr Harini Amarasuriya (The Open University of Sri Lanka)
3. Prof Samuel Anbahan Ariadurai (The Open University of Sri Lanka)
4. Dr KKIU Arunakumara (University of Ruhuna)
5. Prof Navaratna Bandara (University of Peradeniya)
6. Dr G Bandarage (The Open University of Sri Lanka)
7. Dr Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri (University of Colombo)
8. Prof Priyan Dias (University of Moratuwa)
9. Dr Lesly Ekanayake (University of Moratuwa)
10. Dr GWAR Fernando (The Open University of Sri Lanka)
11. Mr Rohan Fernando (The Open University of Sri Lanka)
12. Dr Theodore Fernando (The Open University of Sri Lanka)
13. Dr Hans Gray (University of Moratuwa)
14. Dr Ranil Guneratne (University of Colombo)
15. Dr Dileni Gunewardene (University of Peradeniya)
16. Dr Jinasena Hewage (University of Ruhuna)
17. Prof Rohini Hewamanne (University of Colombo)
18. Dr Rangika Halwatura (University of Moratuwa)
19. Prof OA Illeperuma (University of Peradeniya)
20. Dr Prabhath Jayasinghe (University of Colombo)
21. Dr Janaki Jayawardena (University of Colombo)
22. Dr Barana Jayawardana (University of Peradeniya)
23. Dr Romaine Jayawardena (University of Colombo)
24. Dr Ananda Jayawickrama (University of Peradeniya)
25. Mr Nandaka Maduranga Kalugampitiya (University of Peradeniya)
26. Dr Parakrama Karunaratne (University of Peradeniya)
27. Dr Danesh Karunanayake (University of Peradeniya)
28. Assc Prof SR Kodituwakku (University of Peradeniya)
29. Dr Chulantha Kulasekere (University of Moratuwa)
30. Ms Rushira Kulasingham (University of Colombo)
31. Prof Amal Kumarage (University of Moratuwa)
32. Dr Shamala Kumar (University of Peradeniya)
33. Dr Nilantha Liyanage (University of Ruhuna)
34. Dr Sanjeeva Maithripala (University of Peradeniya)
35. Mr Sudesh Mantillake (University of Peradeniya)
36. Dr Suresh de Mel (University of Peradeniya)
37. Dr Mahim Mendis (The Open University of Sri Lanka)
38. Dr Neavis Morais (The Open University of Sri Lanka)
39. Prof Harsha Munasinghe (University of Moratuwa)
40. Dr M M M Najim (University of Kelaniya)
41. Mr Nilhan Niles (University of Moratuwa)
42. Mr Chaminda Pathirana (University of Moratuwa)
43. Prof Milton Rajaratne (University of Peradeniya)
44. Dr Sanath Rajapakse (University of Peradeniya)
45. Mr Rohana Rathnayaka (The Open University of Colombo)
46. Dr Uditha Ratnayake (The Open University of Colombo)
47. Dr A C Ratnaweera (University of Peradeniya)
48. Ms Dinesha Samararatne (University of Colombo)
49. Ms Thanuja Sandanayake (University of Moratuwa)
50. Dr Vajira Namal Seneviratne (University of Colombo)
51. Prof Upul Sonnadara (University of Colombo)
52. Mr Ranil Sugathadasa (University of Moratuwa)
53. Dr Sivamohan Sumathy (University of Peradeniya)
54. Ms Imalka Tennakoon (University of Peradeniya)
55. Prof R O Thattil (University of Peradeniya)
56. Mr Chandraguptha Thenuwara (University of Visual & Performing Arts)
57. Prof Vasanthi Thevanesam (University of Peradeniya)
58. Prof K S Walgama (University of Peradeniya)
59. Dr Ruvan Weerasinghe (University of Colombo)
60. Prof Carmen Wickramagamage (University of Peradeniya)
61. Prof P Wickramagamage (University of Peradeniya)
62. Prof Suren Wijeykoon (University of Moratuwa)
63. Dr KMGG Jayasuriya (University of Peradeniya)
64. Mr APS Fernando (Rajarata University)

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    Please can people who insist on using the English language to express their views do so in proper grammar and with proper spelling. Not only are you advocating the murder of the independent judiciary of Sri Lanka but also the murder of the English language.

    • 0
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      Hello there Royal Seepage! I see them murder the Queen then raise her and murder her over again.

      This is not the forum for the study of the English language but maybe the Singlish language.

      I think you translate emotion better when you take your hands off.
      XXX ;) the wise un.

  • 0
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    TO THE MODERATOR(S) OF THE COLOMBO TELEGRAPH

    MAY I REQUEST THAT YOU MODERATE THE COMMENTS THAT DONT COMPLY TO THE SUBJECT HEADINGS.
    IT IS TIRESOME TO HAVE TO WADE THROUGH WHAT ONE THINKS OF THE ONE WHO HAS COMMENTED BEFORE HIM.

    LETS KEEP THE FOCUS ON THE TOPIC AS PER THE HEADING:

    THE MOTION TO IMPEACH SHOULD BE WITHDRAWN AS IT IS FLAWED. MOST OF THE SIGNATORIES ARE NOT AWARE OF WHAT THEY HAVE SIGNED NOR ITS RAMIFICATIONS.

    NOTWITHSTANDING WHAT THE PERSONALITY WHO HOLDS THE OFFICE OF CJ IS…. IF THE POSITION OF THE CJ is to be august – then the motion should not be allowed.

    More Important would be that all those concerned in presenting a flawed impeachment should be brought to trail and justice should be meted out to all those who have connived.

  • 0
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    Because of issuing press statement against the democratically elected government by using government University name is completly wrong and it violates their employment contract. Only VCs and Registrar can issue press statements. Therefore now sack these people from Universties. I bet none can find job in Sri Lanka or rest of the world because all these are bankrupt and fake professors.

    • 0
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      whoever you re- seem to have no brain the size of a needle head. Right at the very juncture that the President of the country and his henchmen are trying to strengthen his avenues and revenues moving towards a Gadapi style dictatorship – who else if not country^s academics should lead the protests against these undemocractic moves. Academics of a country can move much stronger than they the lankens have been sofar – atleast in the months to come – they should work onthis only for saving the nation – from a leader of this low grade – he has no qualities at all – doesrnt respect international communities – nor minorities but behaving and saying the palatable to them doing the opposite most of the time. Even those who rejected him by vote are being attacked, interpreting those issues arbitorily – how can a president say that CJ got too big for her boots – what an disgraceful statment ? Is he god or what even if he is elected by a Econstitution?

  • 0
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    Chief Justice (CJ) would have prevented her husband from accepting largesse from the present government. The Supreme Court would have resisted the 18th Amendment- the term-limit provision for the executive presidency would have not removed. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us. Indubitably, the impeachment would have come earlier, had the CJ resisted the above earlier. Irrespective of past actions, the present CJ resisted the power grad of executive president. CJ stands for a judiciary which is willing to uphold the constitution even at the risk of incurring the wrath of the executive presidency (certain things are unclear why the present CJ suddenly stands for the judiciary). Sri Lankan judiciary must retain the capacity to resist anti-democratic, anti-constitutional moves by the executive as well as some other forces, irrespective of their identities. That is why CJ’s past conduct should not prevent us from defending her in the impeachment battle, as long as she continues to resist the undemocratic pulses from executive.
    In its ruling on the 2013 appropriation bill, the three-judge bench headed by present CJ reiterated that finances are the sole responsibility of the legislature and stated that “…no single member of the executive should be permitted to cross on foot the boundaries of that power”. Rulings such as these are of prime importance because they remind us of those lines of power-demarcation without which a democracy will die. It is that spirit of judicial independence that the present executive wants to pulverize. If the executive wins the impeachment battle politically, judiciary will be totally under the executive. This will enable executive to do administer the last rites to democratic freedoms and basic rights perfectly legally, with the blessings of the courts.

  • 0
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    These academics who have come forward to defend the CJ and some time back manifested causing hardship to the country and the university students for three months, for a higher pay deal were never there to defend the country against the terrorists or the Western anti Sri Lanka moves against Sri Lanka in the Human Rights Council in Geneva. They never manifested when Sri Lanka Armed Forces and the Government of Sri Lanka was being accused for war crimes. They did not come forward when Sri Lanka was accused for violation of human rights at the Commonwealth summit in Australia, where the Canadian Prime Minister demanded that the Commonwealth Summit in Sri Lanka to be held in 2013 should be boycotted.

    What do these Sri Lanka University Academics serve ? They try to serve themselves. Because they held a strike like a workers’ trade union, they think they can make and undo governments. Because their strike was long and caused financial lost to Government and caused misery to the students Bala Tampoe made a gift of Rs.500,000,000. These Academics are able to make manifestations and call the government to order because there is now no fear of terrorism. The terrorism was eliminated by this government. Did they sign a letter to say how grateful they are to the President and the Armed Forces for eliminating terrorism

    • 0
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      What an absurd comment ?

      what a dimwit are you ?

      Why should these academics issue any statement in terms of millitary win against Ltte terror with the island ? As repeatedly analaysed by professionals and interlectuals, it was a collective work by lanken forces, lanken incumbent GOV, and previous gov (for having bought collosal amounts of sophisticated weapanries) and srilanken friendly inernational communities. Besides, just because of the defeat, one should not agree with the incumbent president whatever doggy dicisions he makes. If he is that pragmatic, he should also be able to tackle today^s problems facing the country in post war episode. Sadly, your ilk of people should be given the blame for all these – so long your ilk would not grasp the gravity of the problems that the incumbent has already mastered – there will be no progress for the nation. All others who pray for country and nation^s sake will have to suffer because of you buggers

  • 0
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    MODA SIHALAYO DFRAG THIS RAJA PARAYA ON TO THE STREET LIKE GARDAFI AND SHOOT HIM ALIVE BEFORE THIS UNDERWORLD CRIMINAL CROOK AND HIS HORA SAMAGAMA AND CRIMINAL MINSTERS CORRUPT GANG DISTROY OURCOUNTRY FURTHER

  • 0
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    Bala Tampoe had made a gift of only Rs.500,000,00 to FUTA. This commentator Jo is perhaps an academic. His language seems to be that of a mislead angry Academic.

  • 0
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    It is time for Academics to unite and come forward to take back the country from political thugs. Enough is enough for ruining the country for 60 years. When the British sent their administrators to govern Sri Lanka, they sent the best academics and visionaries and what they have done are the ones that still visible in our infrastructure, education, health and economy. All should unite to make a change in direction and that direction should start with the vision of Academics, and people should rally behind them and not the illegal political thugs.

  • 0
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    What’s all the fuss [Edited out]? Just because you have your degrees from recognised Universities does not mean Dr. Vermin,
    Dr. Eliyantha White (the Mechanic turned wonder Medical man) and a host of others in the current army of regime-recognised sycophants cannot be called Doctors/Professors. After all Astrologers and Kattadiyas, Anjanam-eliya men are in the board of State entities. In the recent list of President’s Counsel is a young man who cannot write two lines intelligently or without making spelling mistakes – something that I saw and corrected when he wrote the Welcome Speech for a political leader – close to me. He got his PC title because of family connections ???? Soon we will have brain and other surgeons who are there because they had influential fathers/relatives.

    I, not only agree with you, but I am for the public rejection of all these fake title-claimers whose truancy should be highlighted in the media.

    Senguttuvan

  • 0
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    Lokka prefers the `wisdom’ of Modawansas and Mervyn Silvas to the advice coming from academics. May `Devas’ save this country!

  • 0
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    I am happy at last academics have come to the front line.Hold discussion seminars in your universities and educate people of this undemocratic action by the executive Do not get discourage by comments made by certain people . They have personal grudges. We must forget all personal grievances and bury them at this moment for sake of countries democracy and the rule of law.

  • 0
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    what blood democracy in this stupid country now.this corrupt crook is not the real president of Sri Lanka real president was in the jail. Soon after the presidential election election commissioner was house arrested and false results were given him to publish by force this underworld crook.

  • 0
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    Let us not get carried away by damning the quality of our University Dons. That is not the topic here. We are not questioning their incompetence, as evidenced by the output of unemployable graduates. It is the whole system of education, that is policy, which the Govt. is responsible for which is at fault, so that we can educate people to realize that there is something seriously WRONG about the way the Govt. is behaving today, without the needed checks and balances to ensure good governance and fairness and the Separations of the Powers of State, Executive, Judiciary and Legislature. ( The Fourth Estate, namely Media is also culpable as also in the same one track pot)

    Once we Educate our people then they will come to their senses, not till then. So let us not put the cart before the horse. Let us educate the people of Sri Lanka first, and then we WILL HAVE a good system of Govt.

    This Govt. sadly only wants fools as voters, so they can behave in this way without impunity.

  • 0
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    Isn’t ironic that most people who write comments, are completely aghast at the goings on in the Banana Republic, whilst the voters are completely oblivious to anything wrong! Is it a question of Education which gets people to think about rights and wrongs and make choices?

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