The Lawyers’ Collective held a media conference, at the Nippon Hotel in Colombo yesterday, to mark the first anniversary of the impeachment of the 43rd Chief Justice of Sri Lanka, Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake.
They named the day as ‘Black Friday’. One year ago today the Parliamentary Select Committee report, on the charges set out in impeachment motion against Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake, was accepted.
Attorney-at-Law, J.C. Weliamuna, expressing his views said it was on 11 January 2013 that the Government of Sri Lanka removed Dr. Bandaranayake from her position as Chief Justice.
By doing so, the government eliminated the rule of law and independence of this country thereby denying democracy to the people of this country, he said. “After that most unfair and illegal act of the government, the rule of law and independence of this country has declined drastically.”Weliamuna contended that the lawyer community of this country protested and warned the government against implementing the impeachment of the Chief Justice but the government went ahead with its plans.
Weliamuna point out that this was done purposely to make the Judges of this country act according the orders of the government. By doing so, the government had displayed its undemocratic stance to the international community.
He stressed that, that lawyers community of this country cannot forget that outrages and mysterious act and would continue to fight against it to protect the people of this country from injustice.
President’s Counsel Srinath Perera pointed out that Sri Lanka’s President is the Chairman of Commonwealth Countries Association and he has to follow the conventions, laws and ethics of that association.
“He, as the President of this country has set a very bad example to the world, however, now he has an opportunity to correct himself by restoring the Rule of Law,” he said.
President’s Counsel Jayampathi Wickramaratne said, government went ahead with that outrageous act disregarding the Constitution of the country and two judgments delivered by the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal.
People of the country have now realized that the government has committed a very serious crime by removing the Chief Justice for their personal gains, he said.
Attorney-at-Law, K.S. Ratnaviel, commented that the government displayed its desire to govern this country in dictatorial manner.
It commenced with attacking the Mannar Magistrate and extended it to the Chief Justice.
The people of this country must consider this seriously because they will have to suffer under this government, he said.
Attorney-at-Law, Chandrapala Kumarage, said it was sad to commemorate the incident but the manner in which the government implemented impeachment motion could not be disregarded.
“This gives an indication to the people of this country as to how the government is going to govern the country in future.
“In the history of the world we have examples of Hitler who came to power in Germany and consolidate his political power and how he destroyed the country and world. Therefore, we must constantly fight against this type of blatant disregard of law,” he said.
Even after removing Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake from the post of Chief Justice, the government continued to harass her, said Attorney-at-Law Sunil Watagala.
According to him, the country by now has gone very far in disregarding the rule of law and eliminating the independence of the Judiciary.
“If we go back to the 2013, there were numerous incidents where the laws of the country were disregarded, such as shooting people at Ratupaswala, who pleaded for drinking water, containers with ethanol daily reaching the Colombo Harbour, Prime Minister’s Media Secretary writing letters to release a container of heroine and now a complaint against the Bribery Commissioner.