The Editor of the Ceylon Today wrote on the 9 December, 2012, a Requiem for Justice. But he made a mistake . The Justice in Sri Lanka is still alive and vibrant. The Ceylon Today is already an outmoded journal with its name itself being an indication of trying to bring back some thing which is no more- “Ceylon”.
What is dead like a Dodo is an independent national media in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka should have a national media to defend it against the rapacious West which is prowling like a beast of prey to divide Sri Lanka, make it poor, and dependent on the rich nations of the West. Nonetheless, Sri Lanka which takes life afresh from the attacks of its antagonist, is like the mythical Phoenix capable of rising even if it is reduced to ash. So do not write requiems for what is still not dead.
The dead are those men and women in black cloaks who are there to defend the Justice they practice as a profession without making it a means to make unjust benefits in the name of Justice. The Requiem should have been for them.
In the Requiem for Justice, Ceylon Today states, “…. with the lop sided Parliamentary Select Committee, devoid of any neutrality, probity or decency, finding the Chief Justice, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, guilty of three of the five charges that were probed. This is deemed sufficient cause for impeachment.”
The Editor of Ceylon Today is completely ignorant what is an Impeachment, how it works , and how it arrives at a conclusion. Ceylon today speaks as a defender of the Impeached Shiranee Bandaranayaka and not as an independent national electronic news paper, informing a public of the results of an inquiry into charges against a Chief Justice, and finding her guilty of certain financial transactions.
The Editor of Ceylon Today cannot sit on judgement of an Impeachment already inquired into by a democratically elected Parliamentary Select Committee following the age old Parliamentary traditions of old democracies.
How such traditions could be called lopsided is known only to the Editor blinded by his devotion to an impeached Chief Justice. The Parliament of Sri Lanka had appointed a Select Committee according to the Constitution. The members of it were Parliamentarians elected by the people. Four of them leaving the Committee for personal reasons abandoning their responsibility to carry out the duties they had been called upon to perform by the Parliament, do not still make that Parliamentary Select Committee lopsided.
As pointed out the Members of the Select Committee who are Members of Parliament appointed by the people cannot be accused as , “…. devoid of any neutrality, probity or decency”, unless it is a means to derogate the members of the Parliamentary Select Committee to defend the Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayaka found guilty of three charges in the Impeachment Motion.
The Select Committee has presented its report to the Speaker and the speaker has stated that it will be presented to the Parliament for a debate. Therefore there is no reason for the Editor of the Ceylon Today to jump to conclusions and write requiems.
The Editor gives as reasons for his Requiem, “ ….. the calculated nature of the whole process, the verdict shouldn’t have really come as a surprise. With the seven/four composition of the PSC, ‘guilty’ was a given. But the unholy haste with which the verdict was arrived at, especially in the backdrop of the high octane dissent, displayed by the so called, chief accused and the ‘independent’ segment in the PSC, which saw both parties stage a ‘walk out’, does compel one to pen a requiem for justice. ”
Guilty or not guilty is not dependent on the Seven/four composition of the PSC, the “unholy” haste with which the verdict was arrived at, or in the running away of the defendant, or the walk out of the four Parliamentarians more devoted to an accused CJ rather than respect to their responsibility as Members of the Parliament.
The Chief Justice was found guilty on the evidence placed before the PSC according to which there is reason to believe that CJ is in fact guilty. But her walking away from the Committee without defending herself could be interpreted as an act due to her “guilty” consciousness. A person who is honest and confident that she has not done any thing in breach of the law will stand and defend herself. The running away without defending herself gives the impression that she “ ran away” as she was guilty and had no defence to offer. In the light of that there appears to be no reason for the Editor of Ceylon Today to write a requiem.
The unwise Editor of Ceylon Today writes:
“ For, what transpired was not justice, but a witch-hunt that gave a vindictive government what it wanted – warped legitimacy to get rid of a pesky roadblock that was becoming increasingly difficult to manipulate. Witch hunts don’t require such niceties as fair trial, or due process. And the Chief Justice certainly didn’t get any. According to reports, she was not only not apprised of the procedure and not given time to respond to the mushrooming charges, she was also not allowed to call any witnesses nor given a list of the witnesses of the PSC.”
The Editors Requiem for Justice does not seem to haveo musical notes. The Chief Justice’s denials become “high octane dissent” then the Chief Justice becomes a” pesky road block” and the charges against her become” mushrooms”
However the Editor wriggles to defend the Chief Justice spewing venom at the PSC. The Editor is utterly regardless of objectivity , decency of respect to institutions. The whole impeachment process was for him “ a vindictive government’s witch hunt “. It is very high handed on the part of the Editor of a Journal in Sri Lanka to denigrate official processes of Sri Lanka carried out correctly in terms of its Constitutional, and democratically. It is unethical and abusive to the extent of being treasonable.
The devotee of the Chief Justice the Editor of Ceylon Today goes on with his punditry in his Requiem: “ Credit should be given to the four opposition members for identifying the witch hunt for what it is, and walking out after submitting a missive, which in essence was a virtual indictment on the PSC. The issues raised by the opposition group expose the PSC probe for what it was – a farce. ”
It is a pity that this man in his “ high octane” defence did not give enough thought to the procedural law followed by the PSC , its outcome, and where it would end. The investigation procedure of the PSC is not decisive, it is only the phase of verifying the charges, call for evidence and ascertain the validity of the charges and come to conclusions and prepare a report to be presented to the Speaker.
The speaker presents it to the Parliament for a debate. The Parliament debates on it and puts it to a vote. The vote may go against the Chief Justice or in favour, and that would be the final decision.
That is what the Editor had failed to understand. In that misconception he writes attacking everything in the most lowly manner like a “bull in a China Shop”
If the Editor had understood that fundamental fact about an Impeachment , he would not have praised the four opposition party members selected for the PSC, who “empty headed” as they were, acted most disrespectfully towards the Parliamentary traditions in not conducting themselves as honourable Members of Parliament elected by the people to act as such. In doing what they did they were not only disrespectful to the august assembly, but also breached the trust and confidence the people had placed on them when they voted to elect them to the Parliament.
Our Editor of the Ceylon Today states , “ Denial of the rights and privileges guaranteed under the Constitution to, of all people, the Chief Justice of the country, is a travesty of justice and treachery of the highest order.”
Impeachment has different procedures but that does no mean that there is a denial of justice to the defendant. There is the right of defence but the CJ Shirani Bandaranayake preferred to flee the PSC rather than stand there and speak in defence of the charges against her. That is no reason to run down a democratic process undertaken by the Parliament of Sri Lanka, like any other Parliament in the world.
The Editors Requiem goes in vehemence condemning every thing except defending the acts of the CJ who more or less accepted the charges by fleeing from the PSC without making even a statement denying the charges against her, and defending the ignoble members of the PSC who walked away along with her shamelessly discourteous to democratic Parliamentary procedures which they as Members of the Parliament are required to uphold.
The editor says, “Such an unprecedented measure to be exercised by the PSC would no doubt go down in the annals of Sri Lanka’s parliamentary history as an extremely disgraceful deed and the seven government members of the PSC would have to bear the stain of that treacherous act. ”
What would go down the” annals of history of Sri Lanka” would be the way the media in Sri Lanka had at no time come forward to write in defence of the National interest rather than defending individuals against the President and a government who brought real peace into the country after 30 years of utter suffering and take Sri Lanka progressively forward against all threats and barriers put before them.
The Editor condemns the procedure followed by the PSC, stating that , “ The PSC, in fact, is a ‘Grand Jury’, in the style of American Judicial System and in terms of the letter submitted by the
Opposition Group of MPs in the PSC, a prima facie case had to be established prior to the ‘real’ proceedings commence.” Here too the Editor is going on misconceptions. An Impeachment Motion had been submitted to the speaker of the Parliament with 14 charges against the Chief Justice. It was on that the PSC carried out the investigations and came to the conclusion that she is guilty of three of the 14 charges. The PSC had done what it had been called upon to do despite the four
Parliamentarians walking away from the PSC to make political mileage, as the Editor himself says: “By withdrawing from the proceedings of the PSC, the Opposition MPs extricated themselves from that ignoble act of disloyalty to their electors and the Constitution.”.
That was a shame, but the political parties to which these four “traitorous” Members of the PSC belong , are in dire need of political support and they seek cheap popularity by attempting to “muddy “the name of the President and the Government from every situation that come their way..
The Editor uses words haphazardly to make his Requiem sound better, but they are hollow words. He says, “ Long before the PSC began the ‘Kangaroo’ proceedings, the final outcome had been decided and the seven government members told how to proceed. “
Finally he appeals to the , “ ….so-called saviours of Parliamentary Democracy, fairness and balance, rise to the occasion, show some gumption and make a strong case for justice and fair play. For what is at stake is the slaughter of justice.”
It is strange this pleading of a media to do justice and fair play in defending a Chief Justice who on the face of the charges brought against her has been found guilty. The Sri Lanka Media has a better cause to defend and that is the progress and development of the country which cannot be denied from what Sri Lanka has achieved shortly after the end of a long thirty years of terrorism, poverty and meanly treatment by the West. There may be money in attacking the government , but the country wants patriots who will defend the country and keep away the enemies who are aiming to make Sri Lanka another Libya, Syria, or an Egypt.
This reply to the Editor of Ceylon Today is suffice to answer the JVP member of the PSC Vijitha Herath disrespectful to the office he holds as the Member of the Parliament, and displaying his immaturity of understanding the need to keep the secrecy of procedure that was not open to the public, had said that the report submitted by the Chairman of the PSC was a “lie”
And also to Tilvin Silva of the JVP who said the report presented to the Parliament was prepared by the “Royal Family”. These statements of Vijitha Herath and Tiulvin Silva need no comments as they have perfected the art of lying to hide facts to suit their anti-government Agenda, hoping being what they are they will be popular with the masses !!!