By Gomin Dayasri
Constitutional croaks trumpet awesome sayings to mystify simple minds: Presidential Powers are Overwhelming? Parliament is Supreme? Judiciary is Independent? Sovereignty is with the People…Helpless People stuffed on sovereignty, blandly watched a horrid exchange of rapid fire by the Executive- Legislature- Judiciary. Bruised and bloodied… with no soft hands.
Dignitaries stand deservingly devalued and devastated for ungainly conduct; needlessly plunged the country to a horrid depth.
J.R. Jayewardene predicted President’s omniscient was such, except on switching sex; all other gimmicks were on board. Present incumbent meekly tried to shunt the impeachment on an Opposition plea and pleads for an independent panel to seek advice on a conclusion foregone. Looking sheepishly slippery instead of being majestically regal, a baffled President gives a bewildering impression: could be a ploy to quell opposition than to swap positions. A good case badly presented.
Is there apprehension, an irked Supreme Court may fix him with the blessings of the Election Commissioner on the eve of an election – 17th Amendment worked anti-clockwise? That’s a tricky doosra.
Overpowering Presidency is stricken by parliamentary antics. Who is the conductor twirling the baton in this orchestrated political symphony engaged in a command performance?
If the acceleration of ‘due inquiry’ is to sync with the speedometers maintained at a Formula One Grand Prix, make a pit stop at a Parliamentary Select Committee rather than pitch for night races. A rush to reach judgment erased the notion of a fair trial and impacted the value addition to Supremacy of Parliament. Justice- delayed or hurried- is justice damned. Lack of due process could originate multiple attacks across seas. With cryptic comments on NGOs, who are acting foot loose looking for a regime change?
Mourn for absence of stalwarts like Lalith Athulathmudali, Sarath Muttetuwegama and Anura Bandaranaike on Government and Opposition benches to give respectability and reliability to a committee on impeachment. They managed adroitly a menacing J.R. Jayewardene with aplomb by convincing him the need for a semblance of propriety.
Furrowed eyebrows will be raised- if judges are seen in huddle frequently with lawyers. A suspicion of bias arises when such black coats appear in court before them or enlist their causes for adjudication? Judges must never be excessively obliged to lawyers since it unconsciously disturbs the appearance of judicial equilibrium in court. Need of a lawyer for service is irrelevant, if judicial paws are kept clean with detergent. Judges are entitled to be aggrieved parties if injustice is caused.
Standards are scrupulously exacting for judges on likelihood of bias to keep the judiciary hygienically anti-septic. It is more stringent than actual bias.
Accepting/disbursing favours are in the Forbidden City for dignitaries: they must artfully steer clear of troubled precincts.
Character of a judge is determined by surrounding circumstances like watching from a perch, a family member enjoy benefits, perks and perquisites of public office presented by political authority.
Favour begets favours: avoidance to reach such terrain is easy, if the thirst is quenched. A safe distance is an essential pre-requisite from political authority forever subject to judicial surveillance. No need to be soft and/or hostile after events unfold, if aloofness is observed clinically. Unthinkingly mistakes are made due to lack of experience and wisdom that turn inauspiciously fatal when terminators are on the prowl.
If there is an embarrassing favour on offer, cry loud and clear NO, unhesitatingly. Otherwise less heard on the independence of the judiciary is a comfort to the ear. A firm refusal sure puts an end to speculation: if any other allegations are made of favours accepted. Such is the way presumptions and counter presumptions operate in the public mind.
Those vaulting over the bar through political largeness without being filtered through the judicial process sometimes lack judicial wisdom gained through wide experience. Naturally, they are not toilet-trained from a tender age.
Neville Samarakone, outstanding lawyer with immense experience vaulted to the prime position of Chief Justice on a political appointment in later life, advised by smart slick legal minds, fought his impeachment battle on his private turf with his lawyers in resplendent quiet dignity. He kept a distance away from his former brotherhood- the legal fraternity - that offered wholesome support. None faulted him, as he did not choose to play to a gallery. Presumptions were unanimously in his favour because he acquired by conduct- the repute of a respected judge. There was no divided Bar.
People are attracted to issues that concern them –not those that attract the fiefdom of a President or Minister or Parliamentarian or Judge or Lawyer. Experience has taught that dignitaries struggle to preserve their habitats of power and make it look, as if, it is for a cause… a cause, they try to make out, is for the People. Lets not fool our-selves; their cause is primarily intended in looking after them-selves!
People have ingenious methods of interpreting the constitution and then voting according to their conscience – a gauge more accurate than legal maxims lawyers and judges rely on.
f sovereignty is with the People after the parliamentary debate on impeachment, President should refer it to the People to decide the issue at a Referendum. A process to expensive, eh! Otherwise who did what where and why…it goes on endlessly. Finality is needed to end this fiasco.
Constitution enthralls people with empty cliché: much is meaningless fiction- [“Sovereignty is in the People and is inalienable” –Article 3]. Sovereignty bestowed on the people is like a God hovering above or a nullified Nirvana- an unseen unrevealed uncertainty? Here…They’re…Every-where…No- where? People are placed on a high with hollow expectations.
Though devilishly possessed of sovereignty not even a request can be made for a referendum. No calls are taken on sovereignty on any count. Yet, sovereignty is said to be exclusively with the people: On paper, yes. Cannot be taken away from the people being ‘inalienable’. The pocket is bare with nothing to steal? A tasteless constitutional mouthwash gargled down the throats of an unsuspecting nation.
Come clean - sovereignty means sweet nothing- shows a zero decimal. People have no power including the power to prevent dignitaries from losing their dignity…a myth that has become a misnomer.
Time Mr Dayasiri took some writing lessons, maybe English ones, too. Or, at least got an editor. As a senior lawyer presumably he could afford one
Calistus Jayatilleke Saturday, 22 December 2012 10:28 AM
A very educative essay, Mr. Dayasiri. It is sad but true that the "people" who are supposed to be "sovereign" and "supreme" in a democracy, can easily be misled with false propaganda or bought over for a lunch packet coupled with a dram of liquor and a currency note and when that is done, they dont care a hoot for their powers or rights. This has been the bane of most of the third world countries who boast of practising "democracy" and the crafty politicians know how to manipulate the situation for their advantage.
wasanta Sunday, 23 December 2012 04:52 AM
What educative?...he is a just another government sycophant
anura Sunday, 23 December 2012 07:54 AM
Wasanta have not understood the contents of the article ,may be due to lack of knowledge in English language.
Game Kolla Sunday, 23 December 2012 08:30 AM
This man and S.L. Gunasekara were in the same boat sometime ago. However SLG has changed his direction, but this Dayasri still holding to "demo-cracy" side.
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