1 December, 2020

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We Have Reached A Situation Where The CJ Refuses To Acknowledge That There Is A Conflict Of Interest

By  C. A. Chandraprema –

C. A. Chandraprema

After the Chief Justice filed her response to the charges on the impeachment motion against her, a document purporting to be the CJ’s submissions to the Parliamentary Select Committee was published in full on various websites.  We are barred from commenting on the proceedings of the PSC. However, there is no bar on commenting on what appeared on a website operated from overseas.  If what was published on the Colombo Telegraph website and others as well, is the actual submission made by the CJ, then the match is over even before it has begun. There will hardly be any point in prolonging the hearings. The matter can be closed at the very next hearing because you don’t need to prove all allegations, just one of them would suffice and in such situations even the courts don’t unnecessarily labour the point but concludes the case on a few salient points.

Take for instance what was published in the Colombo Telegraph as the reply of the CJ to what the present writer considers the most serious allegation against her in the impeachment motion – Allegation No: 5 which was that the CJ’s husband Pradeep Kariyawasam is a suspect in relation to legal action initiated at the Magistrate’s Court of Colombo by the Commission to Investigate into Allegations of Bribery or Corruption. The CJ is the Chairperson of the Judicial Service Commission which is vested with powers to transfer, disciplinary control and removal of the Magistrate of the court which is due to hear the bribery or corruption case against her husband.  Besides, the CJ as the head of the Judicial Services Commission is empowered to examine the judicial records, registers and other documents maintained by the court hearing the case against her husband. The impeachment motion says that this is a conflict of interest and the fact that Shirani Bandaranayake continues to be the CJ and the head of the Judicial Services Commission while this case is proceeding against her husband is a hindrance to the proper administration of justice. The CJ’s reply to this allegation is as follows:

1. This is ex facie (on the face of it) not a charge in law.

2. There is not even an allegation that our client has done any wrong.

3. There is not even an allegation that our client has in any way or manner interfered in the proceedings in which plaint has been filed in the Magistrates against her husband.

4. Our client states that it is the practice amongst members of the JSC that a member declines to participate in the proceedings of the JSC if there is a conflict of interest.

5. If this sort of charge can be maintained, any Judge, any member of the JSC can by removed by merely instituting proceedings against such Judge’s spouse, or children, or relative, or close friend.

Culture of judicial impunity

After six decades of independence, we have reached a situation where the Chief Justice of the country refuses to acknowledge that there is a conflict of interest in her continuing to remain the Chief Justice and the ex-officio Chairperson of the Judicial Services Commission while her husband remains a suspect in a case before a magistrate’s court. It should be noted that if she had been an ordinary member of the Supreme Court, she could perhaps have argued that she will keep away from the case. But in this case, the position of chief justice goes together with the position of JSC chairman and in the second role the CJ does have power over the magistrate hearing the case. There is no provision in the constitution allowing her to step down from the JSC chairmanship and appoint someone else for the duration of her husband’s case. Even that would be of little point because a magistrate who feels that the CJ will be back in the JSC saddle after the case against her husband will take care not to upset the CJ who wields complete unfettered control over his career. Even if she had been an ordinary member of the supreme court, perhaps she could have kept away from her husband’s case but even in such an event, the case will come before one of her colleagues on the supreme court. How likely is a supreme court judge to send the husband of another SC judge to jail?

Unfortunately, we do not have a code of ethics for judges in this country so we will have to seek inspiration from outside. A few weeks ago, we made reference to the Bangalore Code of Judicial Conduct. The USA also has a Code of Conduct for Judges which states very clearly that  “A judge shall disqualify himself or herself in a proceeding in which the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned. This can occur when the judge has “a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party”, or “personal knowledge of disputed facts concerning the proceeding” or if the judge’s spouse has any interest in the proceeding. According to the US code of conduct for judges even if anybody within the third degree of relationship to a judge is a party to a proceeding, or even acting as a lawyer or is a mere witness in the proceedings, that’s enough to disqualify them from hearing a case.

‘Third degree of relationship’ includes according to the US Code of Conduct for Judges, even great grandparents, or great grand children, and whole and half blood relatives and most step relatives. The impeachment motion was very clear that the rub was in the CJ being the head of the Judicial Services Commission. If like in England, a different person was heading the JSC, perhaps this conflict of interest may have been mitigated somewhat. But even in such circumstances, the mere fact that the suspect is the husband of the Chief Justice will skew the whole hearing. Even if the magistrate declares the suspect guilty, an appeal will finally end up in the SC and it is the CJ who decides on the bench that hears the case against her spouse.

As Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara said in parliament, the person who appoints benches to hear petitions challenging the authority of parliament to inquire into the impeachment motion against the CJ is the CJ herself!  Within this culture of unrestrained and unquestioned power that the supreme court wields, being judge in your own cause seems to come naturally and they don’t see anything wrong with it either. What is worse is that there is a lobby saying that even the function of inquiring into the impeachment motion should be given to a “judicial body”  thus once again passing the ball right back to the judiciary and entrenching this practice of being a judge in your own cause. This attitude of complete indifference to the norms that bind the rest of society should never be countenanced. The constitution should be changed to curb the tyrannical power of the SC as we argued last week.

Who’s not on the take?

Another charge is that the CJ purchased, in the names of her sister and brother in law, a flat from Trillium Residencies using a special power of attorney after having removed another bench of the Supreme Court which was hearing three fundamental rights cases against the Ceylinco Group which owned Trillium Residencies.  The crux of the matter is that the CJ took over a case from a different bench and continued to hear it in a situation where she had acquired an interest in it. The fact that the property was bought in her sister’s and brother in law’s name and that she had only a special power of attorney does not mean that she had no interest in it. The Code of Conduct for US Judges quoted above makes it very clear that if anybody within the third degree of relationship has some interest in a case, that disqualifies a judge from hearing the case. In Shirani Bandaranayake’s case, the mere fact that her sister and brother in law had acquired an interest with regard to a property that featured in a case heard by her creates a conflict of interest even if she was not holding a power of attorney for them. This question as to why the CJ continued to hear a case in which her sister and brother in law had acquired an interest and in which she herself was involved as the holder of their power of attorney, has not been explained in the answer filed before the PSC.

There would have been nothing wrong in taking over and hearing a case if the CJ or her relatives had no interest in a property mentioned in the case.  The answer filed Before the PSC says scandalously in the answer to Charge No: 1 – “It may be relevant to note that after 6.5.2010 case No.262/2010 was taken up before the former Chief Justice Hon. Justice Asoka de Silva. The former Chief Justice Hon, Justice Asoka de Silva himself purchased a housing unit at trillium residencies demonstrating that there was no impediment to purchase such a housing unit.” If Asoka de Silva did indeed buy a flat at Trillium residencies, while he was hearing a case involving that very piece of property, that does not justify Shirani Bandaranayake doing the same. This goes to show the sorry state that our supreme court has fallen to and highlights the need to establish a Standing Committee on the Judiciary in parliament in order to look into allegations of malpractice in the Supreme Court. This country never had such an oversight mechanism with regard to the judiciary which is why this culture of impunity has come about.

In any event, the point that we were making is that there is no need for the PSC to labour the point. Clearly the CJ does not have convincing answers to some of the most crucial charges in the impeachment motion. The PSC might as well wrap things up expeditiously on one or two charges without trying to pursue every charge. The government is apparently getting ready to expose details of money movements from the CJ’s accounts prior to and after the annual declaration of assets. The question is, whether that is really necessary for the matter in hand. The CJ’s answers to the 1st and 5th allegations in the impeachment motion alone show that she does not have a leg to stand on. So why prolong this agony?

Going Back to April 1984

People have questioned the procedure by which the chief justice is being impeached. However, this procedure has been in place for nearly three decades and two previous chief justices were nearly impeached under the same procedures. To question it now and to say that it’s not up to international standards is absurd. What ‘international standard’ are we talking about? The Sri Lankan procedure as laid out in the standing orders of parliament is closely modelled on that of the US where a committee of the Senate hears impeachment trials. It may be pertinent at this stage to go back to that parliamentary debate in April 1984 when the present standing orders for the impeachment of judges and certain key state officials were first formulated.

The entire debate in parliament was dominated by the then opposition. That was in an era when there were only a handful of opposition members in parliament but they gave good account of themselves. The Committee on Standing Orders of parliament that formulated these standing orders in April 1984, comprised the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker, the Deputy Chairman of Committees and the Prime Minister in their official capacities and Lalith Athulathmudali, W.J.M.Lokubandara, Ananda Dassanayake, Anil Moonesinghe and Sarath Muttetuwegama.  After Prime Minister R.Premadasa introduced the motion to amend the standing orders,  Lakshman Jayakody, a member of the opposition reminded parliament that the Standing Orders of parliament have a relationship with the Constitution and that often both have to be referred together in debates in the House and therefore, everything has to be done very methodically leaving no room for error.  He raised two questions – whether the Speaker should accept a motion to impeach a judge before the members have had the chance to debate it and whether any select committee can complete its work within one month as is required of the select committee appointed to impeach a judge.

Another issue raised by Jayakody was with reference to Article 107(3) of the constitution which stated that “Parliament shall by law or by Standing Orders” provide for all matters relating to the impeachment of judges. Jayakody argued that they should have provided for this “by law” by bringing in an Act of Parliament as in India instead of dealing with it through Standing Orders. But he did concede in his speech that the government has decided on standing orders and that there was nothing that could be done about it. Anil Moonesinghe, who spoke after Jayakody expressed much the same concerns but like Jayakody he finally settled for standing orders and suggested that when such a select committee is appointed by the speaker of parliament, that it be done in consultation with the party leaders so that what is represented is not just the majority view “but a consensus view of the whole parliament in the matter of persons being appointed to the Select Committee.”

Then he proceeded to table some amendments to the Standing Orders sanctioned by the SLFP parliamentary group. These amendments proposed by the SLFP at that time make for very interesting reading because they prove beyond doubt that these Standing Orders promulgated for the impeachment of judges was by and large formulated with the cooperation of both sides in parliament (especially the UNP and the SLFP) in 1984. Prime Minister Premadasa in fact pointed out during the debate that the Committee on Standing Orders (on which the opposition was represented) “had agreed to the principles underlying the procedure” to impeach judges but that opposition member Sarath Muttetuwegama (Communist Party) had expressed his reservations. So it appears that Muttetuwegama alone was irreconcilably opposed to the new standing orders.

The then opposition’s suggestions

The gist of the amendments proposed by the SLFP parliamentary group was firstly that when the speaker receives notice of a resolution to impeach a judge or a key official of state, he will entertain it, but not place it on the order paper. The Speaker will then proceed to consult party leaders and then appoint a select committee to inquire into the allegations made in the impeachment motion. This select committee will within one month of commencing sittings, report back to parliament about its findings with the minutes of the evidence received. They can also recommend to parliament whether the motion should be placed on the order paper or not. So back in 1984, when the UNP government came up with these new Standing Orders for the impeachment of judges, the main concern of the then SLFP led opposition was that the allegations in the motion were being made public too early in the process and that it was better to make things public after the Select Committee completes its sittings.

Even though the then opposition was worried about things hitting the fan too early in the process, today the world has progressed and we have entered the information age when it’s impossible to keep anything under wraps. Today, nobody cares about such things any more. The Standing Orders then promulgated by the UNP government are now being implemented by an SLFP led government and the Chief Justice under investigation herself is gamely responding to the impeachment and leaking her own responses to the press. Hence the concerns about undue publicity expressed in 1984 are no longer valid today. The standing orders of parliament relating to the impeachment of judges has now finally come into its own belying the misgivings that the opposition had when they were first promulgated.

Even after this motion to amend the Standing orders were tabled on behalf of the SLFP parliamentary group, Sarath Muttetuwegama, the lone member of the Communist Party, kept harping on the need to adopt a different law after the Indian Judges Committee of Inquiry of Act. According to the Indian procedure, Muttetuwegama wanted the Speaker to have the discretion to decide whether to accept the motion or not as an additional safeguard.  He then proceeded to explain that in India, once an impeachment motion is received by the Speaker he proceeds to appoint three people from among a panel – one to represent the Chief Justice and the Supreme Court, one to represent the High Courts, and an eminent Jurist as the third individual to inquire into and report back on the merits of the impeachment motion. His argument was that such people were trained to evaluate evidence and qualified in the law whereas the parliamentarians who would sit on the Select Committee were laymen who could be swayed by gossip and hearsay.

Prime Minister Premadasa drubbed Muttetuwegama by reminding him that in terms of Article 122(2) of the 1972 constitution which his father in law Colvin R. de Silva authored, there was no inquiry at all and that judges could be sacked simply by an address of the National State Assembly which meant in effect that even the Chief Justice could be sacked by just over half the MPs present and voting. The quorum for a meeting of parliament was 25 at that time and therefore only 13 MPs were needed to sack the CJ under Colvin’s constitution! Premadasa’s contention was that the PSC procedure that the UNP was suggesting was a vast improvement over what existed earlier. Besides he pointed out that under the 1978 constitution it was not the majority of MPs present and voting that could remove a judge but one half of the total number of MPs in parliament including those not present.

No undeserved impeachment motions

Even the argument put forward by Muttetuwegama in 1984 to the effect that those trained to evaluate evidence and versed in the law should inquire into the merits of an impeachment motion against a judge on the grounds that laymen are not qualified  for a task like that does not hold water. Judges may be trained in the law, but they are on a daily basis called upon to pronounce judgements on things that they have no specialised training in and they too are ordinary laymen with regard to many matters that come before them. They accept what appears to them to be reasonable. The world is now even more complicated than it was in 1984 and with regard to many matters coming before them judges are now no more than laymen with legal training. They may know the law, but very little else and there is plenty of room to make mistakes. We pointed out in an earlier article how the supreme court had equated Clause 26(d) of the Divineguma Bill which is about the provision of credit to Divineguma beneficiaries with item 35 on the provincial councils list of powers in the 13th Amendment which is about the powers of the provincial council as an institution to borrow money. In perusing the table submitted by the Centre for Policy Alternatives, the judges would have seen the word ‘credit’ in the Divineguma Clause and the world ‘borrowing’ in the PC list and thought they both mean the same thing!

This is one good reason why the journalistic community should push for the introduction of a contempt of court law which will allow the press fair comment and analysis of judgements delivered by any court. The verdict of the courts should never act as a muzzle on further comment. The fact that the members of the Parliamentary Select Committee are not judges does not affect their capacity to arrive at a conclusion in any way. Like any other judge, they too will be making judgements according to what seems reasonable to them. Moreover, unlike professional judges, the matters before a parliamentary select committee will not involve complicated scientific evidence. All they will be looking into is whether particular acts of the CJ constitute misbehaviour. That is easy enough for any laymen to judge. Anybody who can read and understand the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct or the US Code of Ethics for Judges which we have quoted this week, can determine whether or not a judge is guilty of misbehaviour.

There was never an undeserved impeachment motion against any judge in this country. While it’s true that the comments made by Neville Samarakoon at a gathering at the Sinnathurai Commercial Tutory in 1984 were relatively mild, still, a political party in power could never have ignored it. No CJ should make overtly political comments in public. Thus the impeachment against him was a regrettable necessity. The impeachment motion that was drafted against Sarath N.Silva was also fully justified by his behaviour. As for the present case, the reply filed by the CJ to the charges against her leave no doubt that the impeachment against her was also justified.

*Courtesy the Sunday Island, the origenal title of this artcile was ‘Impeachment Overkill’
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Latest comments

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    This Pra rascal is no jounalist. He is being presurized by Rajapaksa,s do their dirty work such as ‘Gota’s War” moth balling in book stores shelfs

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      Why did not Rajapassa appoint the Pradeedp Kariyawasam to be Chairman of NSB in the first instance if there was a conflict of interest with the wife being CJ?!

      Mahinda Rajapassa has set up the confrontation between the legislature and the judiciary – the president of Lanka is a slimy creep like th opposition leader Ranil Wickramasinghe who has just appointed re-appointed himself for 6 years. The de-legitimization of the Legislature which is full or uneducated morons like the Rajapassa brothers is going to blow back and de-ligitimize the dictator himself!
      Even as the obnoxious Rajapassa regime and its stooges are tying themselves in knots!

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      What a bunch of Tosh this article is! It is only fit to wipe Chandraprema’s ass!

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        Chandraprema’s [Edited out]

        This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy
        http://colombotelegraph.com/comments-policy/

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      Has any one read this rubbish?

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    The PSC is not a court and PSC members are not judicial officers within the definition of the constitution. Thats it. No need for this long harangue and torturous argument.

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    This Chandrapema character has always been singing praises of the Rajapakses since 2005. I didn’t bother to even read what he has written. Foregone conclusion. One word: pathetic!

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      Manik Whose praises do you sing ?

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    Peoples’Revolutionary Red Army (PRRA) Thadi Priyantha, how did you forget CJ did not appoint her husband as Chairman/NSB to arise a situation of Conflict of Interest? You cannot cover up your brutal bloody past with a journalist mask, and by helping another brutal regime. Your and all fellow killers’day of judgement is fast approaching..

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    I think CJ should not have let her husband accept these positions in the first place. Whether we like Chandraperuma or not, there is some merit in what he says in the article. Reference to Asoka de Silva is irrelevant as one’s wrongdoing cannot be used to exonerate another person. Besides, Chandraperuma is correct in pointing out that CJ cannot serve as head of the Judicial Service Commission when a case against her husband is heard in a court of law. Nonetheless, the article does not change my belief that the impeachment motion is an act of revenge on CJ. I don`t think that any past or current president of Sri Lanka or any parliamentarian or any secretray to ministry could claim to be morally superior to CJ.

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      Does your husband do every thing you want and ask him to do?

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    What nonsence C is speaking.He must justify His Majesty’s deeds as otherwise C will be thrown or rhe white van might come in search of him.These are people who sell their conscience for a plate of pottage

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    Satan is preaching bible

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      Raja, you summed it up!

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    Mr. Chandraprema,
    I accept that yours is a good response for the CJ’s answer for charge No: 1 – “It may be relevant to note that after 6.5.2010 case No.262/2010 was taken up before the former Chief Justice Hon. Justice Asoka de Silva. The former Chief Justice Hon, Justice Asoka de Silva himself purchased a housing unit at trillium residencies demonstrating that there was no impediment to purchase such a housing unit.”

    In an interview with Sunday Lakbima dateline, 2/12/2012 Wijedasa Rajapakse PC had given an answer for a different question relating to ex-CJ Samarakoon but in my opinion directly applies to above.

    He said; “one hundred and first murder cannot be made legal just because he could not have been indicted throughout his one hundred killings.” Shirani Bandaranayake is asking her offence be made legal because Asoka Silva who had done the same offence was overlooked. hiiiiii.
    Leela

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    The issue that Chandraprema attempts to describe with a twist towards his own side, rather than with a straight bat would seem rather academic, given that those who have been nominated to judge the CJ’s impropriety or otherwise, seem to lack basic credentials necessary for fairness, balance and justice.

    They also probably lack a solid moral standing, as most of today’s “people’s reps” are simply opportunistic shallow fries who lack maturity and ethical grounding.

    In that context, an independent panel of retired judges would have lent credibility to the process, however biased the move originally might have been.

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      In the said interview, Mr. Wijedasa also moaned that some PSC members are not lawyers and therefore not suitable to judge the CJ. In my layman’s view, no jury member who gives ‘yes or no’ verdict in life and death cases anywhere is lawyers. On the other hand as I have been saying all alone, if lawyer judges can listen to medical, economic, engineering like expert fields and make judgements on technicalities in those fields, it is absurd for a lawyer think that other intelligent people cannot arrive at a good judgement on simple cheat, and fraud matters like the one at hand. After all, logic is not a subject reserved for lawyers.

      All that a Simple Simon needs is a superior knowledge of the spoken and written language to grasp the correct meaning of Articles of the constitution and the charge sheet to be a judge here. In that sense, a linguist of that language may well extract the correct meaning far better than a lawyer if the writing concerned is complicated with Commas, colons and etc which also have to be taken in to account to have a better understanding. Not just that; the language in which the original constitution is written must also be taken into account for translations do not reflect the exact meaning. I am told; ‘unitary government’ in English doesn’t mean ‘eksath rajyaya’ in Sinhala. If one asks about translations on God’s word from Bible and Koran scholars they will explain this aspect better.
      Leela

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    I thought Chandrapema was made an Ambassador in some foreign country after he wrote ‘Gota’s War’.

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    Ah! there is no conflict of interest when the accuser takes over the role of the judge as well! A well known unprincipled stooge singing for his supper!

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    Under the corrupt system created by JRJ SC judges have no real freedom for independence. However, even under that corrupt system why did MahindaR selected Shirani B for the CJ job? He should have known that she is a CBK plant and that she was for a federal Sri lanka.

    Then on top of that MR gave her husband jobs for which he had no qualifications at all.

    So this sudden need for saint judges is questionable. This matter can end up with UN Human Rights Council as happened with a recent case in the Philippine Islands. There with the SC was so corrupt an accused appealed to UNHRC and it decided to act.

    I do not understand why this kind of unwanted problems are created by the govt using useless MPs as puppets. May be some insiders are in communication with US embassy to derail MR govt…

    Any reasonable person will not support what govt is getting entangled with.

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    Leela – As I read the “Interim Reply” of the CJ relevant to the purchase of property in Trillium residences was:

    “The Supreme Court (consisiting of Hon.Justice Thilawrdene, Hon.Justice Sripavan and Hon. Justice Imam made inter alia the following order on 6.5.2012:

    “…The properties to be disposed would be:- (1) Pioneer Tower (Head Office Building) (2) Trillium residencies (Sale of Housing Units) (3) Celestial resiences…”

    In the circumstances there was no restriction of the sale of any of the housing units of Trillium from 6-5-2010.

    In the circumstances from 6-5-10 the housing units in Trillium residencies were in effect not the property in the list of properties in case 262-2009 that could not be alienataed.

    Our client became Chief Justice on or about 18-5-2011, which is one year after the above order of the supreme Court.”

    Then let us examine the reference to the purchase made by the former CJ Hon.Justice Asoka de Silva. The interim reply states:-

    “It may be relevant to note that after 6-5-2010 case No.262/2010 was taken up before Chief Jusstice Hon. Justice Asoka de Silva. The former CJ, Hon. Justice Asoka de Silva himself purchased a housing unit at Trillium demonstrating that there was no imepediment to purchase such a housing unit”

    Now to your last statement: ” Shirani Bandaranayake is asking her offence be made legal, because Asoka Silva who had done the same offence was overlooked”.

    As I see it, that is NOT what CJ, Hon. Shirani Bandaranayake is asking for. In my opinion what CJ simply telling is that the property she or her sister bought was not a property in the list of properties in the case that could not be alienated, meaning that anyone could purchase such properties without any impediment, as done by former CJ, Hon. Asoka de Silva.

    Can you please educate me further on this issue, before I dwell on the other matters brought before us by Mr.C.A.Chandraprema. Thank you

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    No amount of writing to whitewash CJ B’s behavior will work as from getting the SC job without any court experience to her husbands jobs and her violating the advice by Mark Fdo’s judgement that she should not hear any devolution-related cases, she was and is at fault. She is just one of the corrupt society, the somebodies from nobodies crowd in post 1978 JRJ corrupt system.

    CJs have become a joke in SL now. In the past at least corrupt behavior was done secretly among their own crowd but people did not know. Now these fools violate all rules of law and ethics so nakedly people have no respect for these law sharks.

    The point I raise is that Govt should not try to be saints when so much corruption is going on all over. This case can be bad news for a govt which is under constant Western threat because Gotabhaya saved SL from breaking and MR has a China/Russia as friends.

    All that can go waste if fools become advisers and only yes men have a place in govt. Divi neguma approach is wrong. People in the village must get the right to decide, not a new set of officers. In the past this officer approach has failed.

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    Of all the apartments available in Colombo CJ’s choosing a one from Trillium raise many eyebrows because she had bought it from a company that is connected to companies, accusers and litigants where she is the judge. I am not a lawyer, but as far as I am aware, all good lawyers are very careful in forming sentences for pleas because they know there can be many assumed meanings.

    From CJ’s answer; ” … that there was no impediment to purchase such a housing unit”, I see you are of the opinion that CJ had assumed ex CJ Silva done the right thing hence she just followed suit. Well, from where you stand both ex-CJ and the present CJ may have done no wrong. I am afraid, that’s not the case from where I stand.

    Let me put it this way in a nutshell. People elect MPs but they can be send home in six years. So is the executive and the government. For superior judges however, once appointed, they are set for life. Hence they should not just act legally but must be seen to act from moral high ground. In CJs case, all her demeanour must be exemplary. We do not see that do we.
    Leela

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    Chandraprema says,
    “The constitution should be changed to curb the tyrannical power of the SC as we argued last week.”
    Should not the constitution be changed to curtail the tyrannical power of the president.

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    Hey, C. A. Chandraprema may I suggests that you kindly take your blinkers off before writing any articles in the future:
    1. CJ and Pradeep Kariyawasam are two separate individuals
    2. CJ is not a member of the bench of judges trying the case of Pradeep Kariyawasam
    3. Even if CJ appoints the judges/magistrate to hear the case, the judges/magistrate, if they are self respecting, honourable and professionals will make up their mind according to the arguments put before them. Please, please, please do not judge others by your own low standards, you are insulting the magistrates by stating that they will not uphold the law. You may be like that (and your article prooves that), but please do not insult others.
    4.Why are we ‘barred from commenting on the proceedings of the PSC’? I thought ‘we the people’ voted the members of the PSC on our behalf and they should be open and transparent. Justice should not only be done but should be seen to be done. Are we not a democracy? Should we not promote a open and transparent government
    5. You quote the standards in US, UK etc., but you fail to realise that it applies IF THE JUDGE IS PRESIDING in the case and the CJ is not presiding in this case.
    6. Can you please let us know your credentials with respect to the law as you seems to have come to some judgement even without hearing the full case and without cross examining the witness.

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      Hey Truth, may I suggest that you go stand up in front of a mirror and you will then see who is wearing blinkers, but that is only if you have the common sense to pull them down yourself or someone in the vicinity does it for you.

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        Deva, there are 6 points that I have raised/queried, but you have not attempted to respond, so I guess you too are wearing blinkers and unfortunately cannot think for yourself either!

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    Leela – Thank you. Yes I am correct in my opinion that both the present CJ and the ex-CJ are not guilty of any wrong doing, as regards the purchase of properties from the Trillium Co. Of course we know that the present CJ did not purchase any property but her sister.

    As regards your other point of view of “good lawyers are careful…..” You need not be a lawyer to arrive at a conclusive opinion. Only you need is to be without any “preconceived convictions” make an assessment of the facts and your conscious will tell you what is the truth. That is what you call “Samma Dhitti” in Buddihist philosophy.

    As regards your last para “People elect MP ….. I am not expressing my opinion because that is not relevant to the subject under discussion.

    Now turning to Mr. Chandraprema’s presentation the very introduction viz “There will be hardly be any point in prolonging the hearing. The matter can be closed at the very next hearing, becuse you need not prove all the allegaions……..” This very statement coming from a so called reputed “Journalist” smacks of what is in store for the CJ. So why waste time and energy to discuss this whole presentation.

    Only thing is that they are hell bent with their own “agendas” and what happens to the country is not much concern to them. If one “Leader” fails they will infest the next to suck the blood and make a comfortable living. That is what I see in these type of presentations. Unfortunately for us our “Leaders” too are blind and cannot distinguish a “foe from a friend”. Good Luck.

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    As long as she does not hear the case against Pradeep Kariyawasam there is no conflict of interest.However she has to give a valid reason as to why she changed the magistrate who was going to hear his case.If she had no justifiable reason for doing it then it is a conflict of interest.

    Same for the Ceylinco property.No conflict of interest by purchasing it.However she has to give a valid reason as to why she got rid of the bench of the Supreme Court and brought the case under her after purchasing the property.Also explain why she has delayed the verdict.If she can give no satisfactory explanation it becomes a much more serious matter than just a conflict of interest.She then becomes a wrongdoer who thinks that the supreme court is her plaything.

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    When you purchase a property and you have paid the determined price for that property, the property thereafter belongs to you, you have nothing to do with the seller of the property anymore. I do not see what “interest” lingers in the matter further. The interest thereafter is in the property and not in the seller or developer. You have failed to explain how the conflict arose. You are wrong in thinking that the purchaser becomes beholden to the seller of property through such a transaction.

    If a magistrate is transferred from one court to another, that does not by itself give rise to some impropriety. In real life. some clerk in some section might have prepared a roster and someone in supervisory capacity (may be a asst registrar) might have signed it.Such things take place in a routine manner in all the courts all over the world. That is why proper investigation and cross-examination of the witnesses is important. You again failed to explain how an impropriety arose in this instance.

    There is no need to argue on law. Get your facts right first.

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      Bismala,It depends on whether the property has been sold at a discount.If the property has been offered to the market at a certain price and the CJ came and purchased it,then there is no conflict of interest.If she had asked for a discount and if the seller had said that he is agreeable if the CJ could personally take some interest in the matter before the courts,and if the CJ agrees and gets the discount and then gets rid of the Supreme court bench and brings the case under her and drags the verdict for more than a year,then not only is there a conflict of interest but also wrongful doing possibly with bribery charges involved and she may have to join her husband in jail one day.

      As for the transfer of the magistrate handling her husbands case,i think it can be done only by the JSC of which she is the head.So don’t talk bullshit about some lowly clerk doing it etc. In such an important case where the whole country is watching to go and get rid of the magistrate who has been assigned to look into the case is very bad for her case and it is upto her to exonerate herself not as you presume for others to come and prove her innocence.This is a matter of public interest and image and reputation fit to hold the office of CJ is equally important as the law.In this case there are no criminal or civil charges against her,only that her reputation has been tarnished to an extent that she cannot hold this position anymore.So she has to come vigorously and defend the charges,not the otherway about like in the normal court of law relying on the prosecution unsuccessfully crossexamining witnesses to prove her guilt.In otherwords in the court of public opinion she has to prove that a coincidence was not a deliberate enemy action on her part.

      You have to understand that public perception is the main thing in this case and that is why the government propaganda machinery is working overtime against her spewing out all the slime.It is upto her to counter this though it is ahard task because she does not have the resources and sinhala media etc to counter the government propaganda.

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    Shanker,
    Is there anything in the charges preferred against the CJ about discounts being offered by the seller? I cannot find the term “discount” in them! The purchasers of the property were her sister and her husband. not the CJ. The CJ merely acted as holder of the power of attorney..
    On the question of removal of the Magistrate, the charge merely says that she had the power to remove him and had the power to examine records…and therefore should not continue as CJ. There is no allegation in it that she in fact interfered with the proceedings in any manner. (It is one thing to have the power, it is another to actively interfere) If she wanted to protect her husband by interference, she could have easily achieved it by interfering with the matter during investigations and not wait until it went to a court for hearing!! If she could not bend the police, how could she bend the Mag? If she got another Mag to hear, is there any evidence that the other Mag had been enlisted by her to clear her husband?
    Hello, it is bad case,,!

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