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Wednesday, 9 January 2013






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Government Gazette



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 that decision.

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 triumvirate.

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 ...

The enduring significance of the life and work of Comrade Keerthi Balasuriya

The International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) and the World Socialist Web Site today mark 25 years since the death of Comrade Keerthi Balasuriya, the General Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist League (RCL), forerunner of the Socialist Equality Party of Sri Lanka.

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The Human Dimension


The other day, someone brought home some treacle, packed tight in a dried kitul leaf. My soon-to-be fifteen year old son had not seen the packing before; the treacle packed nice and tight in a dried kitul leaf which made an excellent sustainable package that stayed long,

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Impeachment process identical to US Senate process

Even the most ardent supporters of the CJ, including the NGO-wallahs do not appear to want to draw attention to the specifics of her alleged misbehaviour, but rely on the charge she did not receive a ‘fair trial’. In support of their position, they seem to turn, in an extremely vague manner, to the US Constitution and impeachment practice in the US.

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