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Editorial : Religious leaders say our civilisation at stake

20 December 2012 07:52 pm - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

At Christmas time, Santa Claus might have to give Sri Lanka not toys or teddy bears, but a new constitution where political bears won’t be able to play around with the sovereignty of the people.

At present, Sri Lanka is facing one of the biggest constitutional crises over the move to impeach Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, with an eminent lawyer telling the Supreme Court last week that barbarians are trying to invade the temple of justice.

The CJ, on December 6, walked out of the PSC sittings after the government members in the committee allegedly treated her in an abusive and hostile manner, rejecting her request for more time to respond to the 14 charges against her and denying her the right for her lawyers to cross examine those who made the allegations. In an apparent bid to further harass and hound the CJ, a complaint against her has been made to the Commission to investigate Bribery or Corruption. The complaint relates to the alleged non-declaration of assets, but if the same rules are applied to politicians, most of them would be behind bars. Government leaders in this season of goodwill need to listen to the appeal by the Congress of Religions comprising Buddhist, Christian, Hindu and Muslim leaders.

The appeal has been signed among others by the Ven. Dr. Ittapane Dhammalankara Anunayake Thera, the Ven. Prof. Bellanvila Wimalarathana Anunayake Thera, the Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Nayake Thera, Colombo’s Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, Colombo’s former Anglican Bishop Duleep De Chikera and National Christian Council President Rev. Ebenezer Joseph,. They have endorsed whole-heartedly the appeal made by the four Mahanayake Theras to the President to withdraw the impeachment motion against the CJ.

The Congress of Religions said the Government appeared to have been motivated more by recent Supreme Court decisions, which went contrary to its expectations, than by a prima facie case for impeachment. If that be the case, the independence of the Judiciary –a cornerstone of democracy and the last bastion of Justice for the people – would be in grave jeopardy.

The religious leaders said the speed with which the Government had proceeded to impeach the Chief Justice, gave rise to a justifiable suspicion about the motivation. They expressed concern over the rejection by the Government of the recommendation of the Supreme Court to postpone impeachment proceedings, until the Court gave a ruling on the constitutional competence of the PSC to make a judgement on the charges against the CJ.
The Congress of Religions said it could not help thinking that this move to impeach the Chief Justice was another instance of the breakdown of law and order in the country. They said Sri Lanka’s civilisation was at stake, because of the assault on the independent Judiciary, and urged the Government to act according to time-tested spiritual values of all four major religions.

  Comments - 1

  • Impartial Guy Friday, 21 December 2012 04:14 AM

    I am afraid all this could be a Violine Play to Deaf Elephants. If there is any Scholars, Educators or True Patriots in the Government, Cabinet, or so called Supreme Parliament, no one has to pin point and tell them over and over. The seriousness of this matter, even a Seventh standard student can realize. Already people of this country, specially younger generation gradually started ignoring law and order. This is obvious when a so called Supreme parliament publicly criticize Supreme Court rulings. I personally feel it is high time for the President to intervene and stop this nonsense.

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