Thursday, 22 August 2013
Upul Jayasuriya, President BASL abuses his position seeking information to discredit Sri Lanka.
There was a news item in the Colombo Page on 20 August, 2013, that the President of the Sri Lanka Bar Association Upul Jayasuriya plans to write directly to the Commonwealth Secretariat calling for transparency and to release two legal opinions sought by the Commonwealth Secretariat on the Impeachment of former Chief Justice Shiranie Bandaranayake which are reportedly withheld.
Upul Jayasuria appears to be taking the initiative to turn the Association of the Lawyers of Sri Lanka a Political Party. It is not the role of the Bar Association to be concerned about those members of the Bar who had been appointed to public positions and whose services have been terminated for malpractices.
As Lawyers they should know what the law is, and if they think that the law had been misused or misinterpreted they should know how to deal with it without appealing outsiders to intervene. It is a real shame for Upul Jayasuriya to abuse his position as the President of the Bar Association to take up the case of the impeached Chief Justice, when a new Chief Justice has already been appointed .
A Bar Association as a professional body of lawyers is responsible for the regulation of the legal profession and dedicated service to its members. Bar Association has not the right to interfere when one of its members has been charged for malpractices and punitive procedures have been initiated. It may provide the member necessary assistance to defend in the inquiry .
A Bar Association has to be loyal to the country, and should know what an Impeachment is and how it should be conducted.
In the case of the Impeachment of Shirani Bandaranayake the impeachment had been carried out according to accepted procedure and such acceptable procedures according to the Constitution of Sri Lanka should not be vilified by calling for the opinion of foreign jurists.
A countries legal system and jurisprudence should be developed by its own jurists, to make it an acceptable National Legal System.
It is not the decisions or declarations by foreign and International Jurists that should be sought to challenge the procedures followed in dealing with the members of the Judiciary by the Legislature.
Shirani Bandranayake being a friend of Upul Jayasuriya is no reason for him to misuse his present position as the President of the Bar Association to appeal to the Secretariat of the Commonwealth, on behalf of her. If it is her desire to continue to fight against her impeachment it is a matter for her to do on her own, even if she is a member of the Bar Association.
Law also demands certain politeness and respect, in that respect Upul Jayasuriya lacks social refinement or civilised behaviour. He is using the position that has been thrust upon him to abuse it to act in favour of an impeached Chief Justice, completely overlooking the present incumbent. It is being disrespectful to the Chief Justice even if Upul Jayasuriya does not like him.
Apparently the information Upul Jayasuriya is demanding from the Secretary General of the Commonwealth is of a confidential nature which the Secretary General has already explained, and therefore it is pretentious and high handed on the part of Upul Jayasuriy to use his position as the President of BASL to demand an information which is not within his right to demand when the matter has been declared confidential.
He appears to be playing into the hands of those who are working against Sri Lanka, and it is apparent from his choice of the time to call for the information when Sri Lanka is preparing to receive the Heads of the Commonwealth. Upul Jayasuriya’s intention is no doubt to damage further the image of the government of Sri Lanka.
The same information had been requested by none other than the Canadian High Commissioner to the UK, and the SG of the Commonwealth had informed , “ …….. that the there was a longstanding practice of successive Secretaries-General that communications in support of Good Offices engagements were privileged and it would be "injurious to the discretion, trust and ultimately the effectiveness of the Secretary-General’s Good Offices" if the sources and nature of privileged communications were revealed.”
Upul Jayasuriya knows this, and he also knows that the so called independent legal opinions had been given by South Africa and British Jurists whose intentions vis à vis Sri Lanka is no secret.
Jayasuriya had stated, “We are stakeholders in this issue so whether the impeachment of Shirani Bandaranayake was wrong or right, we have every right to know,".
Jayasuriya is stepping out side his position as the President of the Bar Association seeking the information when the SG of the Commonwealth had already explained why such information cannot be released.
Jayasuriya’s intentions are questionable, as having such information now will serve no purpose other than to “throw mud “ at the Government of Sri Lanka.
What is important is the decision Sri Lanka had taken on the Impeachment. The opposition political parties were trying to make it an issue to make the Government unpopular, and Upul Jayasuriya seems to be going along with them.
The Bar Association of Sri Lanka should bring a vote of no confidence on Upul Jayasuriy and elect a person without political interest in his place.
Sri Lanka Lawyers should learn to respect Sri Lanka and defend it against those who seek to discredit the country. They should show the world that they are themselves capable of giving acceptable legal opinions without seeking the decision of foreign lawyers to serve their purposes.
Upul Jayasuriy should grow up to learn that the past is past and it is in the interest of the Country and their profession to understand that reality and look forward to different matters more useful to the country and their profession.