28 January, 2021

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The Other Dark Side Of The Shirani Impeachment Saga

By Paridhi Singh

Paridhi Singh

It comes as no revelation to anyone who has been following the Impeachment saga, the profundity of impact it has had on all the citizens of Sri Lanka, be it their unsatiated hunger for justice for the former CJ Shirani Bandaranayake or their bereaved hopes in the present Government. To proclaim that it has rocked and vitiated the very foundations of the country, wouldn’t have been better proven as the penultimate truth, than at an event ‘Law talk’, organized by the Law Students Association of Sri Lanka (LSASL) on the topic “Aftermath of the Impeachment: Its Constitutional Implications” on 22nd January 2013. It witnessed the participation of over sixty, from various legal and non-legal backgrounds.

The two guest speakers comprised former Chief Justice Mr. Sarath N. Silva, who as he phrased it, was ‘the lone survivor of an impeachment motion in the country’ and was accompanied by, Mr. S.L. Gunasekera, present Senior Attorney in the Supreme Court. The speakers focused on the domino effect the impeachment had brought forth in the very provenance of Justice and laws in the country, ‘The Constitution of Sri Lanka’ also including the, far reaching and uncringing ripples that it may have on the present and future force of the rule of law in the country.

Former Chief Justice unmasked the entire constitutional elements of the impeachment trial and shed light on some of the sections, which because of their inherent ambiguity became the very vulnerabilities that led to the severance of ‘clear notions of justice’ from impeachment process. He further added that guilty or not guilty, the very process of the CJ’s impeachment is one that has undermined the inherent checks between the three equal pillars of democracy, the legislature, executive and judiciary and has given birth to a precedent that will poison and chokehold the might of law and independence of Judiciary in the country.

Senior Attorney Mr. S.L. Gunasekara in contrast to Mr. Sarath’s pure constitutional law perspectives gave a profound picture of the rigmarole that the state of law and politics has become, as a consequence of this impeachment. He focused exhaustively on role power plays in being instrumental to such events crystallizing and how invariably politicization of all decisions causes weighing of political interests over one another, while the actual adjudication ought to be on the principles of “justice, equity and good conscience” and the consideration limited in its scope to only one which incorporates the affects the aforementioned decisions on its citizens.

The floor was later opened to the house to ask questions to be answered by the speakers, which saw fruitful engagement of students on various themes like right to fair trial, the appointment of the new CJ and the future of the laws in the country to name a few.

To conclude, the event ended on a bittersweet note, because although every participant had gained far more awareness and insight from the Law talk, yet that awareness came at the cost of having to fathom the reality of the country in which we live. The reality being a divergence, from the vision of a free and fair country we all foresaw and of Sri Lanka being known worldwide as a great and powerful nation that respects democracy and all its citizens. However, to rephrase what Mr. S.L. Gunasekera said at the end of his speech, the might of public opinion is far more powerful that any arm-twisting by the government. So long as the people resist injustice or raise their voices on fora like the ‘Law Talk’, then change can still come. To add my own two piece of wisdom from the ‘Law talk’ the epiphany of it all could be summed as following, that, Democracy dies not by the hands of a power-ridden government or a corrupt judiciary or a prejudiced parliament, but by the silence of all its citizens.

* Paridhi Singh is presently working with the Attorney General’s department as a part of the United Nations Development project called “Access to Justice” and is pursuing BA.LLB. integrated law course in Jindal Global Law School, India.

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Latest comments

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    Are HINDIans writing about Sri Lanka ?

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      Why can’t they, when all eyes on Sri Lanka in view of the debacle that has shaken the roots of the justice system?

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        This babe should learn how to write English – what a lot of convoluted verbiage!
        UNDP is wasting money as usual on this sort of “expertise” no doubt at the behest of big brother GOI (Govt. of india)!

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          DUDE NUTS;

          Why you waste your time??????????.
          L O L.

          WHO cares about your English knowledge??????????.

    • 0
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      when sri lankan’s write about the others, yes :D

    • 0
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      Shall we start a fight against that as well? Can we call BBS, Sihala Ravana, Champika and Wimal? No wonder why Sri Lanka is listed increasingly with North Korea and Burma.

    • 0
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      Not only Hindians, Chinese, Thais, Ugandans too will start writing about Sri Lanka.

  • 0
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    What a joke. Sarath Silva and SL Gunasekera talking about injustice and the rule of law. That too in defence of an indefensible ex-CJ who herself did not play the game according to the proper rules.

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    Ms Singh is apparently a visitor engaged in some form of research study. The two Speakers she refers to, with long legal backgrounds and all, are certainly not the best from their specialised areas this country can showcase. Neither is the former CJ – one upon whom the old saying “let him without sin cast the first stone” shall not apply andnthe subject around whom the “Law Talk” apparently centers on. The status and nature of the justice system in the country, for sometime in recent years, is such you can easily critique both sections of the system – the bench and the bar – to several volumes. Last week saw the case of a provincial judge remanded allegedly caught red-handed taking a bribe. What shocked many was – both at the entrance to the Courts and in his apartment complex – there were dozens of shady men waiting their to “chase away the media” Who are these men and who paid for them?? There have been several similar cases in recent years – ugly incidents conspicuously absent in previous years when men in the justice system and the Executive maintained an expected and healthy space of interaction.

    Seniority or a tenable order is no longer the features by which elevation to the higher courts are made. These bad appointments have been subjects of enraged and justified criticism where a member of the black-coated gentry recently wrote at length why judges should “cooperate” with the executive. Reminds me of what one of your legislators quoted recently “It matters no more how much of law judges know. They do not need to know much law so long as they are close to the Minister of Justice” But, young lady, while the system at both sides of the Straits remain wounded and bruised, yours show more signs of delivering at least some norms of justice. Perhaps because you have a freer and insatiably news-hungry media.

    Senguttuvan

    Ms Singh is well advised also to do some reading on the enormous judicial wealth, personal integrity and contribution to jurisprudence by our judges and lawyers of years gone by. In the process she might learn of a recent young lawyer, who, we are told, broke many records when he recently – and successfully – wrote his law exams in the air-conditioned comfortable office of the Principal of the Law College himself – a privilege not shared by other candidates for the same exam.
    Ms Singh, in the process, will secure knowledge in the current state of the island – proudly claimed by Miracle of Asia – by the ruling clique while all are equal some are more equal than others – as that enterprising Englishman was to write centuries ago.

    Senguttuvan

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    Your two pieces of wisdom sounds good.

    Srilanka has elections every so often ,infact too often for the citizens to select and elect who ever they want?.

    So they are not silent.

    The problem there is the people who want themselves elected do not have the goodies to convince the citizens, except their marginal supporters who have their own agendas, and dreams rather than the needs of the citizenry.

    Hope your experience will help you to help the poor citizenry in your motherland.

    A BBC ( you must be familiar with their speciality on SL) did a piece on how the Legal system in Kanpoor. looks after the poor ( literally) Kanpoorians.

    And it is nothing to write home about.

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      My friend Mr. Sumanasekera,

      You know how the electoral process is subverted in the country.
      From “Rice from the Moon” to peace, unity, prosperity and a happy
      PQL for all citizens under the Chinthana. It was Dudley’s 1965-70 Govt that ushered in some development (agricultural front etc) and
      the vision of JRJ/Ananda Tissa in the future of Tourism. JRJ’s
      1977 gig brought in the Mahaweli Project, the Open Economy, Foreign Employment and the Garment exports industry created millions of jobs. And still what did our “95% educated electors” do? In fairness to the more initiated in the Sinhala electorate, as the figures show, they voted wisely but were overwhelmed by thin majorities influenced by the communalist anti-Tamil inclination. Of course, Ranil’s 2001 Govt lost because of open cheating – the JVP and their Grama Sevakas de-franchised over a million voters. Prabakaran sold nearly 7-8 lakhs Tamil votes for money to arm his Separate Agenda. If not for this and if we had a clean election Ranil would have won by over half a million votes. Sri Lankans are not the only ones to be so cheated in the developing world. But we probably are one nation that chose bankruptcy, familial rule and all-round disorder from the brink of
      economic prosperity and unity.

      Good Sir, let’s not blame the BBC. They report on what they see. We haven’t got much to show, have we? If they misreport they will lose their credibility worldwide. But you know they place heavy weightage on their product – and this has stood the test of time.

      It is not a two-piece article. My name got in between the last para.

      Cheers.

      Senguttuvan

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    Dear Ms. Paridhi Singh,

    Thank you for taking an interest in the Sri Lanka legal system, and as an Indian, you can look at the Problem, without the Emotional Baggage, most Sri Lankan’s have, due to politics and religion.

    However, you cannot look at it from a purely legal viewpoint. It is part of the Sri Lankan history, stemming from the Monk Mahanama Myths about the Sinhala, about Buddhism and the subsequent events.

    In a nutshell it is about racism, religion, especially Buddhism and power.

    So, Chapter 1 of your background reading is Sri Lanka History, Buddhism and Wastern Imperialism and Colonialism.

    Listen to this from Ven. MADULUWAWE SOBHITHA THERO

    Honda Hamudurovo, Good Thero.

    Citizens! Not Subjects – Ven. Maduluwawe Sobhitha Thero

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbmqoaQ7okA

    To build a nation that respects law and order, that was his dream.

    They do not follow the Law and order, and need accountability to the Constitution and the Parliament.

    Dr. N. M. Perera had warned earlier, about the executive Presidency. The people are suffering because of this.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgq1AsDw_LA

    MADULUWAWE SOBHITHA THERO 01

    Uploaded on Mar 6, 2010
    MADULUWAWE SOBHITHA THERO 01

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AxvCkxX2ZQ

    MADULUWAWE SOBHITHA THERO 02

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_EcjgUjY6w

    MADULUWAWE SOBHITHA THERO 03

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QBHTRi7g84

    MADULUWAWE SOBHITHA THERO 04

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObXB7oCQtWo

    MADULUWAWE SOBHITHA THERO 05

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4mZFm-Rktw

    MADULUWAWE SOBHITHA THERO 06

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yjorbUL15Y

    MADULUWAWE SOBHITHA THERO 07

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    “..power-ridden government or a corrupt judiciary or a prejudiced parliament, but by the silence of all its citizens…”

    People are silent ? because people know all 03 (govt/judiciary/ parliament) better. None is honest , they serve themselves more.

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    Why do people have such misguided attitudes of pseudo patriotism when a non Sri Lankan writes the truth about what we all know is wrong and perverted in our country now? How simple minded is that. Truth is truth which ever way you look at it and it does not make us less patriotic to agree with this truth, just because a non Sri Lankan has written about it.

    My issue as a previous commenter had written is that yes, Sarath Silva is in no place to lecture since he was the first to pervert justice as we all know. And, S L Gunasekera was a great supporter of our leaders even when we the ordinary people saw what destruction could follow when a man associated with an issue over tsunami funds was elected,

  • 0
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    There is nothing I got fascinated more than your two pieces.

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    People can talk debate condemn write articles give speeches, but this regime dont care two hoots, only language they understand is forced resistance.

    • 0
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      only language they understand is forced resistance……and ends up floating in Nathikaddal in muddy and salty water.

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    Former CJ Sarath Silva and SL Gunasekera have the standing to talk about the current situation since they have been part of the system in the past. It is good that they choose to highlight its shortcomings without any fear or favour at a time when others a fearful of their lives and practices to even speak up.

    After the debilitation of judiciary and appointment of a stooge as CJ, it is facing severe constraints in delivering justice to the people. At a time when the Govt itself is rampant in the denial of the human rights of people, the lack of an impartial judiciary is a matter of great concern. It is neccesary that the struggle is continued in the public realm if this scourge is to be removed. The few people who have the courage to speak up must be given due credit.

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    Nothing to worry about this is the give and take phenomenon in action in Sri Lanka.Be it Sarath N.Silva, Shirani Bandaranayake or Sarath Fonseka , they all came into being the highest among their peers with the special and privileged blessing of the Executive in the first place. If they respected justice to the hilt they would not have accepted such special treatment over and above the peers who were discriminated for their benefit.Once these favourites fell out with the Executive then only they saw the way justice should be done and fairplay maintained.

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    Ha, Ha…….Sarath Silva and SL Gunesekera as guest speakers. Makes me laugh. Wonder why they left out Shiranee Bandaranayaka and Sarath Fonseka. Would have added to the drama and made an interesting foursome to lament the corruption and gross violation of laws facing the country today. Somewhat like inviting the Devil(s) to read from the Scriptures.

  • 0
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    Can somebody light a candle please! I didn’t see the dark side. The Indian lady still has’nt got enogh ‘Sri Lankaned’ to understand the difference between being silent and not interested.

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    Where is Ms. Singh’s critique of the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor to the US Supreme Court? Sotomayor does not have any qualifications, she was chosen by Obama simply because she supports his party and is a Hispanic female (so more votes for Obama from Hispanics during the election). My point is that political appointments are always controversial. Even Shirani B was not qualified for her job; she was chosen based on a letter of recommendation from GL Peiris and his close affinity to CBK. So, the UN and its lackeys should not start turning trivial incidents like this into human rights issues.

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      Lester,

      In the USA, by and large, most judicial appointments have a political backing – going all the way to the Supreme Court. It is different in
      countries like us – following the British ways of the legal system.
      Sotomayer, from humble Hispanic immigrant beginnings, made her mark in jurisprudence during her law school days before she came to Obama’s attention.

      Senguttuvan

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      At last, Lester the Jester, that low caste Christian Paduwa convert has spoken some sense. Well done Lester.

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        Is that you low-caste Tamils who converted to Islam pretend to be Arab? Let’s ask the Arabs what they think of their dark-skinned Dravidian cousins. :)

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        Lester,

        This tasteless verbal diatribe is both unnecessary and unfortunate. I am sorry and ask you to ignore it.

        Senguttuvan

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          The Other Dark Side Of The Shirani Impeachment Saga

          Dear Dear so-called Sengutuwa,

          Do please keep up your great and good work of educating and disseminating in a repeater like manner in a nutshell to the mostly uneducable. Which is mostly due to congenital brain damage, societal, cultural, organised-religious and mematic virally infected and nature’s mostly robotic like people who come to this CT water-hole in hope and expectations for a fairer deal to the denizens of SriLanka.

          You in my thinking and feelings are apparently second only to TG in this role on this particular website. Your kind tactful and gentle mannerisms too are most welcome and appreciated and may you and TG too live to see the disenthronment of the present seven headed Maha Maru Rawana of the modern Ramayana and his primarily and mostly self serving (gangs and persons in high office) as by-products of nature seems to have ordained them, for its own fun, frolic and entertainment like a Greek-tragic-comedy unfolding in other places on this planet as well in an ever worsening form though not to the dim witted humbugs and masquerades on these pages. I am not and won’t be as diplomatic as you.

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          @ Senguttuvan,

          No need to apologize. I am merely reminding our Islamic comrade of his Shaivite origins.

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