In the afterglow of Christmas on Tuesday, there is a ray of hope of a compromise on the middle path to settle the unprecedented constitutional crisis over the move to impeach Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake.
The UPFA government’s socialist allies – the LSSP, the CP and the DPF which are headed by cabinet ministers, have urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa to prorogue Parliament as a means of settling the crisis which has severely damaged Sri Lanka’s image with growing protests nationally and internationally over the denial of a fair hearing to the Chief Justice herself.
Most independent analysts believe the appeal by the three socialist parties may be a testing of the waters to see how UPFA hardliners and government members of the Parliamentary Select Committee will react. The hardliners probably include the super minister who might become a second king if and when the controversial Divi Neguma Bill is implemented, because there will be no transparency in the proposed Divi Neguma Department, and he will not be accountable to anyone for a department’s annual budget of some 80 billion rupees.
If parliament is prorogued all pending bills and resolutions including the PSC report will lapse. This will help the President and the PSC to save face, while placating Sri Lanka’s judges and lawyers who have launched unprecedented protests against the impeachment process. Such a move will also ease pressure from the international community amid reports of a serious possibility of the cancellation of the Commonwealth Summit scheduled to be held in the Rajapaksa home base of Hambantota in November next year.
When the PSC report - apparently hastily compiled just as the trial was pushed through seven sittings -lapses with the prorogation of Parliament, the socialist parties have asked the President to appoint an independent committee comprising eminent legal personalities or retired Supreme Court judges to probe the 14 charges against the CJ. UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa, who is speaking strongly against the impeachment process, has proposed that the independent committee be chaired by Justice C.G. Weeramantry, former Vice President of the International Court of Justice and a judge with an unblemished record in Sri Lanka and internationally for some six decades. Independent legal analysts say there are many other eminent personalities who could sit on the committee, but they hope former Chief Justices Asoka de Silva or Sarath N Silva won’t be appointed since that will politically taint or twist the committee sittings. Last Friday the C.J. was given a standing ovation by hundreds of lawyers when she attended Footlights 2012 while on Saturday more than 180 judges held their annual sessions with the CJ as the chief guest. The Rajapaksa regime is facing a political tsunami over this crisis and we hope it will humbly and sensibly come to a middle path of accommodation for a resolution of this conflict.
Calistus Jayatilleke Thursday, 27 December 2012 10:42 AM
As usual a thought provoking editorial. But it appears that the government has already decided not to travel this path as confirmed by Minister Yapa. So, everything points to the fact that the President will appoint some of his stooges to this so called "independent" committee which will merely ratify the fundings of the PSC. The so called "leftists" will then sing a different tune like "safeguarding socialism" and vote for the impeachment of the Chief Justice without further whimper. There is nothing more "left" for them.
leel Thursday, 27 December 2012 07:08 AM
I would like to know what was the out come of the petitions challenging the constitutionality of PSC which were filed in high court and which were then refer to supreme court.
leel Thursday, 27 December 2012 07:23 AM
"President to appoint an independent committee comprising eminent legal personalities" you guys are day dreaming. He will infidelity appoint some stooges and comedians to his so call commit who will dance according to his tune this may include comedians Asoka de Silva or Sarath N Silva or may be both.
P.L.J.B.Palipana Thursday, 27 December 2012 12:55 AM
THANKS THE EDITORIAL! 100% YOU ARE CORRECT.
Upul Thursday, 27 December 2012 03:06 AM
That would BE the 'End of the World' as we know it.
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