He didn’t listen to me” - S. B. Dissanayake comments on Ranjan’s verdict…

13 January 2021 03:43 am - 10     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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  • Another politician who faced similar penalties was former Minister S. B. Dissanayake who in 2004 was jailed for two years on charges of Contempt of Court. Dissanayake was an opposition MP with the United National Party (UNP) at the time
  • According to Article 89 of the Constitution, no lawmaker can be qualified as an elected member of parliament for seven years, if imprisoned for a jail term of more than six months. However, brushes with the law are no barrier to political careers in Sri Lanka

 

“I will not withdraw my comments, I will not apologize,” actor-turned politician Ranjan Ramanayake said as he was handcuffed and escorted away from court. The Samagi Jana Balawegaya parliamentarian was sentenced to four-years Rigorous Imprisonment for Contempt of Court by the Supreme Court yesterday.


The Attorney General filed Contempt of Court charges against the parliamentarian for remarks against the judiciary during a media briefing in Colombo. Addressing media following a meeting with the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at Temple Trees, Ranjan Ramanayake on August 17, 2017 was alleged to have stated that the majority of judges and lawyers in the country were corrupt.

"I honestly feel sad for him. Ranjan may have many weaknesses. But he is a good human being with noble qualities. This is something I say often. Ranjan gives away all what he had earned to the needy, he doesn’t have a house, doesn’t have any vehicles"

The case was heard before a three-judge bench comprising Justices Sisira de Abrew, Vijith Malalgoda and Preethi Padman Soorasena. The complaint stated that Ramanayake insulted the judiciary and thereby undermined public faith in the judiciary. 


The Supreme Court ruling means that Ramanayake would have no means to appeal his sentence, while the ruling would also have serious implications on his political career. 
The charismatic parliamentarian is no stranger to encounters with authorities. The outspoken former silver screen artiste is often seen as a harsh critic of the government with a huge following on social media. Following yesterday’s verdict, a seemingly unapologetic, Ramanayake was recorded saying that he is not afraid, nor will he be withdrawing any comments on corruption that he has 
made in the past. 


The laws on contempt in Sri Lanka are based on Common Law, guided by the British Law. According to Article 89 of the Constitution, no lawmaker can be qualified as an elected member of parliament for seven years, if imprisoned for a jail term of more than six months. However, brushes with the law are no barrier to political careers in Sri Lanka. Another politician who faced similar penalties was former Minister S. B. Dissanayake who in 2004 was jailed for two years on charges of Contempt of Court. Dissanayake who was an opposition MP with the United National Party (UNP) at the time he was imprisoned during the tenure of Chief Justice 
Sarath N. Silva. 

S. B. Dissanayake


Interestingly former Minister Dissanayake who allegedly made the offensive statement against the Supreme Court and judges at the time, was granted a presidential pardon and released in February 2006. The incident attracted controversy as the penalty for Contempt of Court was unusual at the time. 


The Daily Mirror spoke to former minister S. B. Dissanayake on his thoughts about Ranjan Ramanayake’s verdict.  “The Supreme Court arrived at this decision not because Ranjan spoke against corruption. He harshly criticized the judiciary,” he said.


“Ranjan was a deputy minister of mine. I told him that this allegation was serious. He could have made a public apology and settled matters. However that’s not what he chose to do. I told him repeatedly that this was a serious matter as it was a charge made against all judges of the country. I don’t think that charge was fair. I even requested him several times to apologize, but he didn’t listen to me, even when I told him that he might face serious repercussions,” Dissanayake recalled. 

"The Supreme Court arrived at this decision not because Ranjan spoke against corruption. He harshly criticized the judiciary"

Former Minister Dissanayake said that Ranjan did not believe him, despite his constant warnings. “I honestly feel sad for him. Ranjan may have many weaknesses. But he is a good human being with noble qualities. This is something I say often. Ranjan gives away all what he had earned to the needy, he doesn’t have a house, doesn’t have any vehicles. He is that kind of a man, but he wasn’t prepared to settle this matter either. I’m honestly sad that it he was brought to this situation. But I did expect this outcome,” he said.


Compared to other countries, our Supreme Court and judges are impartial, Dissanayake said. “We wish to see an independent judiciary and we have that in our country. Therefore I believe Ranjan was responsible for his actions.”
Recalling his own tussle with the law, Dissanayake said that the situations are not comparable. “Ranjan’s charges against the judiciary weren’t fair. In my case, I made charges against the Chief Justice. Even today I will make the same charges against Sarath N. Silva. Not only that, I was acquitted in an international court.  Supreme Court judges of 13 countries, as well as the Indian Chief Justice at the time my case was heard. The court ruled that I was to be compensated by the Government of Sri Lanka. I stand by my statements even today.  But that was a different case; it doesn’t involve a particular judge. Ranjan made an allegation against the entire judiciary, which isn’t appropriate,” Dissanayake opined.

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  Comments - 10

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  • Brumpy Wednesday, 13 January 2021 04:43 AM

    There is no doubt, absolutely no doubt that the entire Judiciary in Sri Lanka is corrupt more so damned corrupt. The put it bluntly the entire public administration of the country stinks like a cesspit and is damned corrupt. To Hell with them all.

    Sunil Thenabadu Wednesday, 13 January 2021 05:53 AM

    Too harsh the verdict.....

    mp Wednesday, 13 January 2021 06:10 AM

    He is behaving as if he has done a great job! He will never learn a lesson.

    Jim Banda Wednesday, 13 January 2021 09:43 AM

    I honestly feel bad for this guy, but also feel Like he had it coming. Nobody messss witj ස

    idiot Wednesday, 13 January 2021 01:06 PM

    in my opinion Ranjan is a honest Person and you sinibole you are a oppertunist and dishonest.

    Upul Abeyrathne Wednesday, 13 January 2021 05:10 PM

    There is no doubt general public do not believe in our court system. In fact, there are many corrupt judges as revealed by several incidence. We need to criticize our judiciary with fact and figures. We have to appreciate the braveness and nobleness of the man. Rally to reform very structure of judiciary, law enforcement bodies including Attorney General Department. The behaviour of the office for last years has shown that is not acting upto the normative expectation of the democratic society but a person who dance to the tune of politicians. The dancing of judges according to the tune of the President can be seen in the future as a result of 20th amendment to the constitution. I am wandering whether our judiciary and judges have abdicated their responsibilities for democracy in the context of degenerated political culture of patron client politics.

    Ranaweera Wednesday, 13 January 2021 10:41 PM

    Ranjan has what " noble qualities,". I wonder what . Is the recording of private conversations and keeping it to be discovered a noble quality.

    BuffaloaCitizen Thursday, 14 January 2021 11:08 AM

    It is common public verdict that Sri Lanka judiciary is similar to a brothel inclusive of pimps. They will do anything

    Sirilal Janawaram Monday, 18 January 2021 06:35 AM

    We are with you Ranjan - we need people like you. Go to jail and come out - we will be with you Ranjan. Most of the leaders today gone through this experience! You are a strong Mann - what you said will not disprove by many people - even judges know it - how can they drink fire water without such behaviour.

    Jamis Friday, 22 January 2021 04:20 AM

    The comments by some supporting his imprisonment shows why SL is in such a miserable state. Yes, this man has technically made a mistake. But the sentiment he expressed is true. SL is fundamentally a corrupt place. The idea that there are people (sycophants) who actually enjoy this guy being imprisoned is unbelievable.


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