Mohan Pieris - a Chief Justice to ensure the sovereignty and dignity of the people of the Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka now has in place a newly appointed Chief Justice who has a new role to ensure the sovereignty and dignity of the people of the Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. All these years the hype was all alone on the 'Independence of Judiciary', but the most pivotal role of the Judiciary was to ensure the sovereignty and dignity of the people of the Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, but unfortunately it was conveniently ignored or else simply forgotten.
It is a sigh of relief that at last, the country has put behind the impeachment comical circus - a nauseating political arm wrestling bout Opposition political parties + NGOs involved with ‘Regime Change’ and their allies in the international community had with Sri Lanka Government Today it is all over and as the country is limping towards normalcy, political commentators and others are of the view that country presently has two chief judges, though Mohan Pieris has been rightly and officially sworn in as the 44th Chief Justice of Sri Lanka.
Chief Justice Mohan Pieris is not a newcomer to judiciary and to the country. Also Bar Association of Sri Lanka has accepted Peiris, a 38-year veteran of the legal profession and an eminent scholar of law, as the new Chief Justice and agreed to work with him.
But it is unfortunate, according to media reports that Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake who has been removed from the position as the chief justice by the President of the country continues with her claim that she remains as the Chief Justice, even after being removed from her position.
Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, if at all if she had made such claims, then she must be knowing the implication of her claim and also aware that she might be challenged in a court of law, over her frivolous claim.
Earlier, Sri Lanka's 44th Chief Justice, a former Attorney General and a legal adviser to the Cabinet, Mohan Peiris was sworn by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
President Rajapaksa appointed Peiris after the Parliamentary Council endorsed his name to the top judge post.
Since of late, there are enough observations and contradictory statements by many and out of that in a recent interview with Daily Financial Times by the former chief justice Sarath Silva , has said according to available reports, “For the first time in its history, the country has two Chief Justices, which further damages the Judiciary.”. He stressed that Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake should not continue to claim to be the Chief Justice, adding that the Government’s hasty decision to appoint someone from outside as the head of the Judiciary “cannot be accepted.”
In the same interview the former Chief justice said that Mohan Pieris should not have accepted the appointment offered to him. He went on to say, “ Yes, he (Mohan Pieris) should not have accepted this appointment. You must give time for the former Chief Justice to leave. You don’t rush into office like that.” He went on to say “what have been done is entirely wrong.”
I am reminded of the adage, “Preacher Heal Thyself” - I am of the opinion that people like him are not competent enough to advise others. He must correct himself first – I tender my apologies if my presumption is erroneous.
I am aware of the fact that the newly appointed CJ will make use of all the resources and knowledge he has in Human Rights and the experience he has in multifarious activities connected with the welfare of the common man and civil societies to ensure that people are treated fairly and with a sense of fairness in the dispensation of justice.
Justice without fairness is no justice. Also the new Chief Justice can give a huge impetus to the national reconciliation process, and also ensure true and fair legal system. This will in a big way ensure the unity of Sri Lanka.
Therefore everyone in Sri Lanka , irrespective of whom he is and what he is and where he is and wherever he is or she is, in the end will receive fair justice. Fundamental right is expected to be protected and promoted in a large measure in its true context, and in the context it should be pursued and in the end of the day all of us live as brothers and sisters of one family of one Sri Lanka, with dignity, peace and stability.
I learnt that the new CJ intends to visit all the districts to acquaint himself with the conditions there and to see that whatever assistance needed is given so that people will get a better service out of Judiciary.
I am proud that I had the opportunity to work with him continuously for the last two years on human right issues in the Human Rights Commission in Geneva. I had known him as a better person than any other claimants for the position as chief justice. (No pun intended) I am of the opinion that he is the most qualified person to adorn the highest seat of judiciary in the country.
Asian Tribune wishes to endorse the most fitting appointment of Chief Justice made by Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
As a Chief Justice he must look in words meaning within the judiciary also. Because traditionally everyone use to think of the Independence of the judiciary, that is only partly true.
I am of the opinion that everyone interprets and looks upon the judiciary to be independent of the government, but judges too should be independent not only of the government but also of their fellow judges. So that even interfering within the judicial functions of each other, except according to the due process of law - like appeal, like revision, like in writ application, like that, except on those legally allowed grounds and interacting and interfering or influencing judges in their day to day functions is incorrect and it is not acceptable.
A Magistrate should be allowed to function independently by senior judges as much as in the case of an OIC of police station not to be wrongly interfered by the higher-ups. But to interfere in the wrong doings of the law officials has to be done through the due processes by an appeal, by a revision and not through personal interference. And they must be independent of the government and must be independent of all others, except according to law.
Even summoning fellow judges for meetings except for administrative purpose too would be construed as interference. It will be wrongful and should not encourage that it may not be condemned but that is not the way to function.
Asian Tribune always advocated that People should be given the topmost preference in Government as well as in the other organs of the government, without exception even in the judiciary.
A court of law open not only to litigants, but also to the public and what is the remedy left for the public in the circumstances when a judge is openly seen partial and bias to his or her relatives, friends or to a religious or ethnic group the judge belongs.
Furthermore, it has to be brought to the notice that whenever there is public protest against a magistrate or against any judges and the Judicial Service Commission must take note of it and investigate and find out the reasons independently without interfering. Also whenever there are memorandums or appeals from the public, they have to be acknowledged and immediately addressed, may be within two weeks.
Asian Tribune always advocated that People should be given the topmost preference in Government, as well as in the other organs of the government without exception even in judiciary.
I have personally brought to the notice of the earlier Chief Justice in her capacity as Chairman of the Judicial Services Commission about many issues. But to my dismay not only my representation was ignored, but also JSC ignored all those public protests and memorandums sent by the public against a sitting Magistrate.
The newly appointed Chief Justice who had the opportunity to interact with the people of this country in whom country’s sovereignty rest must come forward in his capacity as the Chairman of the Judicial Service Commission to respond to the voices of the people.
Many tends to forget that according the existing constitution of the country, Sri Lanka is a 'Socialist Republic' and the people of Sri Lanka having by their mandate freely expressed, granted, entrusted and empowered their Representatives to draft, adopt and operate a new Republican Constitution. in order to achieve the goals of a ‘Democratic Socialist Republic’ . The Socialist principals enshrined in the Constitution reminds us of the need for the guaranteeing the dignity of the people of the country.
The Constitution in the introduction speaks of amongst other things, of the Independence of Judiciary, which is not just to be considered as a reserved organization that only deals with the independence of judges against the government interference, but as an organization to uphold the dignity and sovereignty of the people.
Therefore the new holder of the highest seat of Judiciary has to come forward to gradually convert the judiciary as an organization that would give topmost preference to ensure the sovereignty and dignity of the people of Sri Lanka in its dispensation of its judicial functions.
In conclusion, I wish to reiterate that Asian Tribune always stood ‘ to end the tyranny of the judiciary’ and for the conversion of judiciary as that rightly belongs to the people of the Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.
- Asian Tribune -