IT’S PEACEFUL -- TOMORROW, AND
Tomorrow, the Speaker the Hon. Chamal Rajapaksa is scheduled
to make his address to the Parliament over the order made by the
Supreme Court with regard to the Parliamentary Select Committee
(PSC) probing the conduct of the Chief Justice. Indeed, all
indications are that he will read the riot act.
The fundamentals of the system as it were, are at stake. No
court can be allowed to go out on a limb and criticize the
supreme legislative body of the country. This is why it has
already been stated by responsible ministers of government that
the judges who issued the ruling that PSC proceedings are
invalid are liable to be brought before the Privileges
Committee, in the well of the House.
Wimal Weerawansa the Minister of Housing and Construction has
said so yesterday, and it is clear that the Speaker while
reiterating his earlier ruling will dwell on this aspect of
flagrant contempt of Parliament.
Contempt it is, as the recent court ruling on the PSC has
ignored the constitution, pure and simple, and this is an act of
subterfuge against the people of this country who are sovereign.
The people’s sovereignty is reflected primarily in the
To misinterpret that constitutional document by yards is an
act that is aimed against the people, and when it appears to be
done for the mean advantage of securing the power of the
judicial branch and its embattled head -- it becomes a
frightening pantomime that would have been recreational, had it
not been invested with the potential of having such adverse
repercussions on the country …
It is also a fact that the ruling has been made in the teeth
of a decision by a former Speaker who declared unequivocally
that no writs shall be passed on Parliament.
As is usual, sections of the privately kept press have gone
to town on the court’s verdict, but this is predictable since
what most of the screamers in this section of the media have
been predicting for the last few years has never come to pass.
This time, they have opined editorially about all types of
doomsday scenarios, not taking into cognizance the fact that
once the President delivers his address impeaching the Chief
Justice she stands impeached, constitutionally -- irrespective
of what any court has said.
Constitutional procedure is to appoint a PSC, investigate,
debate the report, and remove the Chief Justice upon an address
by the President to Parliament. This procedure has been followed
to a tee, and it is constitutional to boot. Any contrary opinion
by the court in this context is a mere sideshow that has no
value in the face of the constitutional act of impeachment.
The dire prognostications in some newspapers have all the
hallmarks of opinion-makers’ hyperbole to spice up what would
otherwise have been a dull Sunday mornings reading! The fact
remains that by and large the folks on the street are not
sensitized in this way the newspapers keep nattering on about,
as they would have shown their reactions unmistakably if they
were. On the contrary the people seem to have the gut feeling
that the Chief Justice – the Loku Nadukara Hamuduruwo -- cannot
be involved in some hanky-panky that can be excused from say the
Grama Sevaka, the Pradeshiya Sabhikaya or the Mantrithuma, even.
It is also difficult to keep the man on the street from
discerning that there is an elite conspiracy to dislodge the
elected government. They are mature enough to know that the
fundamentals of the system cannot be shaken by the courts just
because they want to save the skin of one their own.
One thing that can be said clearly is that a court cannot in
such cavalier fashion ignore articles of the constitution, and
ignore parliamentary decisions taken by the Speaker. A four year
old should be able to understand that, as any reading of the
court judgement makes it clear that some constitutional
provisions have been ignored wholesale as it were, to come to a
judgement that is prejudicial to the impeachment process, for
reasons that do not have to be gone into here.
In fact, the merits and demerits of the impeachment aside,
procedure needs be followed. The integrity of the governance
structures cannot be compromised. The fact that in this
impeachment, there is a great deal of substantive material
against the CJ, makes it all the more clearer that there is
something other than an above-board motive among those who are
acting against the Speaker’s clear decision that court notices
and writs cannot be issued with regard to the PSC process.