|Fire crackers lit in front of CJs residence and leading minsters joined the unruly crowds there (photo courtesy Lankadeepa)|
How parliament killed democracy in Sri Lanka: A brief record of events
1. Black flags were raised in court houses all over the island in protest of the impending illegal Lawyers accuse the government of bullying tactics impeachment to be voted on in Parliament. Sections of the general public also wore black to express their solidarity. Most of the courts were closed throughout the day in protest
2. The Lawyers’ Collective submitted to the Judges of the Supreme Court requesting them not to recognize any person appointed as Chief Justice. Further the Lawyers’ Collective issued a statement expressing their concern for the safety of the Chief Justice and her family in view of the extra judicial methods that were used in yesterdays March. Later in the day, several senior Lawyers submitted a similar letters. The Executive Committee of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, that met in the late evening adopted similar resolution.
3. The debate commenced in Parliament for the second day. Several groups, sponsored by the government held demonstrated near the parliament in support of the Impeachment. Continuous reformatory hate campaign continued in state media with a poster campaign all over the country.
4. In parliament several Points of Order were raised by Opposition but all of them were over ruled by the Speaker. Subsequently at the time of voting a Member of Parliament raised a Point of Order stating that the motion to impeach and vote on the same was not in the Agenda and hence cannot be taken up for voting. Despite this, after a short adjournment the Parliament the Speaker ruled that the vote could go ahead irrespective of it not being provided for in the Order Paper. Around 7.15 a.m. the vote was taken and passed comfortably.
5. When the Parliamentary debate was taking place, Government sponsored mobs moved near the official residence of the Chief Justice. The Chief Justice and the family were inside the residence. Milk rice (kiri bath) was prepared in celebration of the passing of the vote of impeachment of the Chief Justice by the Government sponsored mob. After the voting, several Ministers and MPs joined the crowd and made speeches. In the mean time, the government sponsored groups lit crackers. The mob dispersed around 10.00 p.m.
6. Further, organized groups sponsored by the Government lit fire crackers in several parts of the country, at the announcement of passing of the impeachment motion in Parliament.
Black day in history of Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka’s Chief Justice impeached
Sri Lanka’s Chief Justice has been impeached. The whole process was unconstitutional and
Lawyers hung a black flag as a sign of protest against the government’s impeachment bid outside the Colombo court complex.
Repeatedly institutions, intellectuals, political parties and individuals – at national and international level – requested the Government not to proceed with the impeachment. All such requests were ignored. Even those by religious dignitaries were thrown away. The Highest Court of the land declared that the impeachment was unconstitutional. The Government turned a deaf ear to all this. It proceeded with the impeachment which concluded today.
This experience has tested the conscience of our Nation. It has hurt the very foundation of democracy in Sri Lanka. The damage caused is irremediable.
Our proud judicial history has been tarnished. The ill-advised impeachment mooted by a few politicians was solely to protect their political power.
Hold those responsible for the unconstitutional impeachment accountable. This is our plea to the national and international community.