WHAT'S OVER IS OVER
The match is slowly but
surely drawing to a close with regard to the impeachment drama
involving the Chief Justice of the country.
There is unanimity among members of Parliament - opposition
as well as government - that the debate on the Parliamentary
Select Committee (PSC) report on the CJ will take place on the
10th and 11th of this month, with the vote to be taken on the
11th. No better proof is required of the fact that the
Legislature has closed ranks with regard to Parliament being the
ultimate arbiter on the issue of the impeachment of judges of
the Supreme Court.
This puts the anarchist brigade that predicted that there
will be calamity with this situation of Legislature 'at odds'
with the Executive, at sixes and sevens. How does that view
square with the reality that the Legislature, despite
differences on the details, essentially closed ranks on the fact
that it is the Parliament that has the right to debate on the
issue of the removal of the Chief Justice, and take the vote on
The entire question in effect is settled. There is no
confrontation. It is unanimously decided by all of the people's
elected representatives that the Judiciary cannot override the
Legislature on this matter, and the best reflection of this
incontrovertible reality will be the vote and the debate.
Once the Legislature has agreed in this way, the rest is of
no consequence. There has been a competent Legislative decision
overriding the courts' view that PSC proceedings are invalid in
the matter of deciding on the Chief Justice's removal.
This view has been agreed to by the opposition in the face of
concerted opinion from among all of the heavyweights of
government that the Supreme Court and Appeal Court decisions
represent a fiasco. Several legal luminaries have already stated
that the Appeal Court and Supreme Court decisions on the matter
are judgments essentially made 'in their own cause.'
This view has been repeatedly dinned in to the media by
Ministers who echoed the sentiment, albeit with their own
separate ways of articulating this reality.
It is in the face of these assertions that the opposition has
closed ranks with government and agreed to the debate, and the
vote that will now take place within the week. This is therefore
an assertion by the Legislative branch that it will brook no
usurpation of its powers from any quarter, particularly by a
besieged/embattled section of the judiciary that is acting, for
all intents and purposes, flagrantly in its own cause with
regard to a judicial matter that has to be neutrally arbitrated.
It is heartening that constitutional tenets have been
reaffirmed at the end of the day, despite the fact that there
have been ridiculous efforts to override and ignore these, and
impose the will of one branch of State on the people,
irrespective of the fact that balance of powers means that there
should be checks and accountability among the Judicial Executive
and Legislative branches, instead of dominance by one pillar of
This is historic. It represents a victory for common sense --
and moreover one for the Sri Lankan state -- in staving off
multifarious threats aimed at it through clever means that came
in the guise of Constitutionality and Good Governance.
This was a Trojan maneuver, executed through one arm of State
from quarters that should have safeguarded the State's
interests, and interpreted the constitution as it should have
been. There is perfect unanimity among the majority of right
thinking persons including legal luminaries that Courts cannot
take over the constitution - - which is precisely what happened
when constitutional articles were 'interpreted' ignoring entire
sections of in the relevant clauses.
The Legislature - - the entirety of it of course - obviously
saw what was coming. Hence, the decision to take the vote, and
assert in no uncertain terms, the rights of the people, who are
sovereign, to be governed by a system that cannot be hijacked at
the will and pleasure of individuals, however highfalutin their
constitutional casuistry may sound ...