25 September, 2020

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‘We Have Dealt With Terrorists – These Judges Are Nothing For Us’ – Minister Weerawansa

By Basil Fernando

Basil Fernando

A government’s spokesman, Minister Wimal Weerawansa, was quoted in the BBC Sinhala Service today saying that the judges who have issued summons on the Parliamentary Select Committee will be called before the parliament to answer under the parliamentary privilege provisions of the constitution. He went on to say, “Now NGO fellows will catch Shirani Bandaranayake and try to bring contempt of court charges against us. We are not afraid of that. We will suggest as soon as these things is over [referring to impeachment] that all the judges who have been giving decisions against us should be called to the parliament under the parliamentary privileges. We should take the highest steps that can be taken against them under the parliamentary privileges. There is no judicial power to be raised against the parliamentary  anywhere in the world. There is no power to obstruct the place [the parliament] which enjoys the people’s sovereignty.” He accused Shirani Bandaranayake, the Chief Justice, of using the Supreme Court for political purposes.

The threat of using parliamentary privileges against the judges of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, who have issued summons and made decisions in cases which have been raised recently relating to the impeachment issue, marks a further step in the attacks against the independence of the judiciary in Sri Lanka.

The government’s attack goes into a very basic questioning of democratic principles, upon which the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary is based.

The government thinks that the people’s sovereignty rests in the parliament and that the judiciary has no power to question anything that is done by the parliament. The assertion that the sovereignty of the people rests on the parliament alone is a deviation from the basic constitutional principle that the sovereignty of the people is expressed through all the three branches of government; the parliament, the executive and the judiciary.

The attempt is to treat the judiciary as if it is not a separate branch of the government but rather a subordinate institution to the parliament.

The comparison of judges, who have made some judgments against the impeachment methodology followed by the government, with terrorists is again an indication of the changes in the mentality of the government on the question of the separation of powers and the role of the judiciary. The judiciary’s role in the interpretation of laws and its right to declare legislation or administrative action of the government as being in conflict with the constitution is being compared to terrorism.

This entire framework of thought, promoted by Minister Wimal Weerawansa and several other spokesmen for the government, is to relegate the judiciary into a position that is outside the government, even as an opposition to the government.

The debate that has developed in Sri Lanka is therefore a very fundamental debate relating to what the basic structure of the state in Sri Lanka should be. The government is quite earnestly pursuing claims that the executive acting through the parliament is the basic structure of the government, and that the judiciary is an external entity. The attempt is to turn the judiciary, through force if necessary, into a subordinate of the executive, rather than a separate branch of government.

Naturally, the judiciary (such as in the Supreme Court’s judgment on the 1st of January, which was an interpretation of the constitution  made at the request of the Court of Appeal) is asserting the basic principles on which democracy and the rule of law is based.

The government, in trying to assert that executive actions taken through the parliament are alone the state, are undermining the very foundations of the rule of law.

The government is attempting to give a basis to its power without reference to the notion of the supremacy of law. The government’s claim is that it can define its own power structure without any reference to law or, in other words, the government is claiming that what it declares is law, and in making such a declaration it does not have to refer to the existing structure of the legal system as a whole.

What we have in Sri Lanka now is a fundamental crisis of rule of law itself. The implication of the government’s interpretation of its power is that whatever position it takes is the ‘law’ and that in doing so it does not have to make any reference to the existing law.

The implication of the government’s position is that their rule means making pragmatic arrangements in whatever way they wish and whenever they wish, irrespective of total structure defined by law within which the government has to function.

Through the attack on the judiciary, what is really being attacked is the idea of law itself. The government sees law as a series of pragmatic arrangements that do not have to relate to an overall legal structure and legal principles. Thus, the constitutional crisis that exists now is one that the executive has created for itself. It wants to bulldoze its way with the rogue 2/3 majority it has in parliament, irrespective of whatever conflicts it is creating with the overall structure of the legal system. The executive is behaving like a train driver that wants to run on or outside the railroad . That is how it has created these crises.

The government tried to blame the crises they have created for themselves on the judiciary. They cannot comprehend that all that the judiciary is doing is calling attention to the overall framework of the legal structure and pointing to where the government has derailed itself.

All this points to the fact that the total crisis that the government has created for themselves will not go away by the way they deal with the impeachment issue. In fact, the impeachment issue is only a small part of a much bigger and a complex crisis. All the propaganda that is created through the state media, making the Chief Justice, the other judges, lawyers and everyone who is calling for adherence to the rule of law into scapegoats, will in no way take the government outside the complex crisis that they are faced with.

The government’s problem is not the Chief Justice or anyone else. In fact, the executive’s crisis is itself. The end of the “war” has brought this crisis to the surface.

Instead of blaming the Chief Justice and others, the executive must looks itself in the mirror. It will see itself in chaos due to measures it has itself created.

The overall legal structure of Sri Lanka is not something that the executive will be able to get rid of easily. In every move it takes with that purpose, it will get itself far more deeply entangled with deeper problems and deeper conflicts.

If the executive does not look in the mirror, then no amount of blaming others will get the executive out of this mess.

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Latest comments

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    Even S.B.Dissanayake was sentenced to Jail for contempt of Courts? How can this Wimal who jumped for money and personal benefits who is a conner knows about constitutions???

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      What, genocide of jurors!
      Dictatorial hype & 3rd world excuse.

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    PANIKAYAGE WIMALASENA TURNED MODAWANSA IS NOT WORTH WASTING TIME ON.IF HE CONTINUED WHAT HIS ANCESTORS DID HE WOULD HAVE DONE SOME SERVICE TO THE VILLAGE TEMPLE.
    TO START WITH HE HAS NO MORAL RIGHT TO BE THERE HAVING ABANDONED THE JVP WHICH PAVED THE WAY FOR THIS BERAWAYA WITHOUT ANY ACADEMIC ATTAINMENTS TO COME TO PARLIAMENT.
    ITS BUFFOONS LIKE THIS WHO RUIN THE IMAGE OF THE PRESIDENT AND THE COUNTRY

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    The statements of this idiot Weerawansa indicates the depths into which politics has sunk. Governance is a big joke for these scoundrels and all others are treated like serfs and boot lickers of these elite lot. Looks like Humpty Dumpty is about to fall from his pedestal.

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    GOOWIMAL, MADHAVI MERVIN, DONKEY DILAN, RASTHIYADHU RAAJITHA, SHOULD ALL BE SENT IN FOR LIFE AND THE KEYS TO BE THROWN INTO THE SHIT HOLE OF WELIKADE.

    WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT, SEND IN THE S T F AND SHOOT TO KILL, THE BLOODY LOT.

    START OFF WITH THEM AND THEN FOLLOW SUIT WITH THE REST OF THE ASSHOLES IN THE PARLIAMENT.

  • 0
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    OH OH, THIS HIWAL MODAWANSA.

    BETTER TO LEAVE THAT AS LIKE A USED TOILET PAPER,
    BECAUSE WORLD KNOWS ABOUT THIS MORON PSYCHOPATH’S HOWLING, FILTHY MOUTH.

    AND WE WANT TO KNOW, HOW MANY TERRORISTS HE HAS DEALT WITH?.
    AND HOW HE COMPARE JUDGES AND TERRORISTS.OR IS THIS JOKER, MODAWANSA COMPARING JUDGES AND HIMSELF.

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      See the first revenge on the PC mp yesterday and how it will develpop in the days, why the shooter failed to direct it to the Mervin is my question. At the time, some 10 months ago at the time those bunch have opened up with a challenge to sue against Mervin was disappeared under the carpet may be the president is behind all these.

      See when a criminal minded ones govern a country, just the innoncient get killed and gunned down. That is the good example IC to know how our folks under MR has been upto now.

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    Weerawansa s rhetorics are like what we get to hear from the street dwellers. I believe the people of this country have now grasphed it any time in the past.

    He and Mervin are being used to whitewash the poor folks and get their votes manipulated so that the gang minden rulers can further be in power.If the incumbent is WHOLE hearted as his rherotic say- he has the chance to improve the quality of the systems that the folks have been criticising for long.

    President himself has been not in order, how can he bring the prosper to this nation is the question that every 5 year old would raise from their parents in the island.

  • 0
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    There are quite a few “independent” states in Africa, where the British notion of “Rule of Law” is not adhered to, in general. There are, however, many traditional laws, where senior tribal leaders sit around the fire in the evening and deliberate on the day’s issues that need adjudication.

    Their “laws” are not written in lengthy unintelligible and convoluted journals or law reports, nor are there a special class of advocates dressed in a particular garb (only witch-doctors seem to have such garb).

    The defining difference in this crude set up is that the “judges” (who are also the tribal leaders) are usually sincere. The outcomes may not always be just or fair, given the limitations of methodology, lack of sound debate and rationale.

    So, if there are proponents of alternative “legal” systems for Sri Lanka in the pipeline, is that not a part of natural process consistent with social evolution….?

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    nobody was bothered when this same Wimal went to North and told the Army, Kill all the poeple even civilians after all they are Tamils why bother At that time where were you all. You all rendered Support for the th emurder of teh Tamils. Now you are getting the same treatment what are you howling shut up and take the medicine

  • 0
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    This clown should be ignored. He is an uneducated fool like Mervin the vermin.

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    This [Edited out]….a cannot close his mouth….His son study in England. He has built a palace with illicit MARA’s money. it is not him….but MARA talks through him.

    Wimal is nothing but another RAT in the Araliya gaha thieve’s den.

    Let’s see his tail after 12th January 2013.

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    If this Wimal Weerawansa can be sent to jail, or declared mentally disabled, people will be happy to see him at Angoda Mental hospital where he can get good training from those inmates.

  • 0
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    Do not blame him. His comments based on his education and knowledge. We can’t expected anything beyond what he said as grade 9 passed person. Why his parents not able to educate him. That was the crux!

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      It is not the fault of WW’s parents. He was playing cricket and then started playing some other game which is not cricket which the parents and the Past Pupils of his alma mater could not afford to pay for. MR spotted him and recruited him to play in the current state services team which is famous for playing a game that is not cricket. Now he has mastered the art of playing that game and has reached the level of challenging the SC and CA and acting like a monkey with the tail on fire.

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