Thrishantha Nanayakkara 0

Protest the unconstitutional process to impeach the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka

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The Government of Sri Lanka started a very arrogant process of impeaching the Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake after the supreme court held that the Divi Naguma bill that tried to give sweeping powers to president Mahinda Rajapakse’s brother, Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapakse, unconstitutional ( ) This is not the first time a Sri Lankan Government made this attempt to intimidate the independent judiciary. This happened during President J. R. Jayewardene era of the opposition United National Party’s ruling time. We all know how that political culture that humiliated rule of law and respect for justice dragged the country to unthinkable misery. The Supreme Court is the sole authority to interpret the constitution. Thus, the Supreme Court has held that the current process adopted by the Government to impeach the Chief Justice was unconstitutional. It further called upon the parliament to pass new legislature to establish proper procedures to impeach a chief justice. Demonstrating political arrogance, the ruling party members of the parliament have ignored this recommendation of the Supreme Court and decided to move forward with its unconstitutional impeachment process. Given the above mentioned dark experiences in the past, the arrogant political attitude demonstrated by the Government poses alarming consequences for the people of this country due to deterioration of the independence of the judiciary, rule of law, and the concept of justice. It looks like certain elements of the Government is fully aware of the consequences, and in fact maneuvering their way towards an autocratic and nepotist government. Once the principles of natural justice that protect the democratic rights of the people are threatened and humiliated, the people automatically become defenseless. Here is a good article that describes the legal and social background of the Impeachment movement: To whom are we protesting? We direct this protest to all elected members of the parliament and the executive president of Sri Lanka. This includes all opposition members of the parliament. Why should we show the numbers of people who protest the unconstitutional process to impeach the Chief Justice (CJ) of Sri Lanka? Simply because the Government is abusing the mandate given by the people as some weapon to ignore the rulings of the supreme court. People's mandate has been abused to an extent that the Government maliciously interpreted that the parliament is Sovereign, thus the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) sessions could be withheld from the public, when in fact the people of Sri Lanka are the custodians of Sovereignty. Behind closed doors, some Government members of the PSC verbally abused the CJ with filthy language. Therefore, by signing, you are telling both the ruling party and the opposition that you condemn the unconstitutional process to impeach the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka, that we did not give a mandate to humiliate the judiciary like this, and that we demand for rule of law, respect for the independence of the judiciary, human rights, and to respect the Supreme Court's interpretations of the constitution.

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