Drunk drivers beware

The police have imported 40,000 breadth alcohol test kits to test for intoxication say reports.

About 35,000 drivers are rounded up annually for drunk driving and the police have stated they would be very strict during the festive season. A senior police officer said the scheme is implemented to ensure safe driving and safety of pedestrians during this season.

Await rotten eggs – BBS warns cricketers

Sri Lanka cricketers who, ignore the affection of people in the country and decide to play in IPL tournament in India should expect rotten egg attacks on them at Katunayake International Airport says Galagodaaththe Gnarasara thera. He said Sri Lanka is an independent country and as long as Buddhist Bhikkus live in the country Tamil Nadu would not be allowed to create an Ealam in Sri Lanka.

The thera said this at a meeting held at Pannala in Kurunegala.

However, Kumar Sangakkara, Captain of Sunrisers Hyderabad, said yesterday (1st) that  India is much more than Chennai and Tamil Nadu and the rest of India had been very welcoming of Sri Lankan cricketers. He said, "We are here to play cricket representing Sri Lanka and also on behalf of our franchisee."

Shirani attends BASL convocation as 43rd Chief Justice


Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake attended the Annual Convocation of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka in Colombo on 30th March as the 43rd Chief Justice of Sri Lanka. Mohan Pieris, the 44th Chief Justice, had not been invited. Attorney General Palitha Fernando had come to the venue but had left before proceedings began. Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, foreign diplomat, senior members of the clergy and politicians were among the invited guests. The Minister of Justice Rauff Hakeem was not seen at the proceedings.

Delivering his inauguration speech, Mr. Upul Jayasuriya, who was officially handed over the Presidency of BASL by former President Wijedasa Rajapaksa, said that a political judge or a political Chief Justice can cause more damage to the morale of the judiciary than an unscrupulous politician. He emphasized that it was the solemn duty of the Bar to face these challenges with firm resolve and to stand up to judges acting according to political dictates rather than the judicial conscience. He said they must defend judges who defy political commands at the expense of their civil liberties and sometimes, their very lives.

Retired Supreme Court Judge C.V Wigneswaran delivering the keynote address said, "The powers that be in this Country are missing the wood for the trees, it appears. By interfering with the Independence of the Judiciary they are disturbing the course of Law and Justice in this Country for all time. To them, it appears, what are taking place in Sri Lanka are mere incidents or a series of incidents of inconsequential value. They are like the few trees visible to their eyes. But they do not appear to have any idea as to the avalanche that is to fall and pervade the entire Judicial future of this Country; the dangerous jungle into which we have stepped on. Bigoted and short sighted we are, we do not see the writings on the wall."

He said, "We have seen politicians who fan religious fervour paying with their lives to the extremists they helped create.  I have seen politicians who tried to interfere with the Law and Courts of Justice, later falling prey to their own machinations. It is best to discuss matters of importance regarding any Religious Organization with their spokespersons or leaders rather than resort to violent tactics. So too it is best to allow the Judiciary to carry on undisturbed conforming to the delineations set out by Law for them. If we bend or seek to bend Legal Institutions to suit our whims and fancies however highly placed we are, then we would have to face such activities boomeranging on us."

He said the so-called Impeachment process against Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranaike was legally faulted. Both the Supreme Court as well as the Court of Appeal gave decisions in this regard. So long as Competent Courts of Law have held that the process adopted was faulty, then those who advocated such Impeachment should have gone to the relevant Court or Courts to have such orders or determinations quashed. They did not do so. By not doing so a dilemma arises. If the existing Orders are not reversed by a Fuller Bench and in fact do get confirmed in the future it would appear that all steps taken so far by the de facto Chief Justice would be illegal. Then irreparable harm and damages would be sustained by litigants whose cases were heard by a person who cannot be deemed to be the Chief Justice of this Country under the Law.

He said the country may find it is in an unenviable position of its Parliament becoming the Kangaroo Court arrogating judicial powers to itself.

He said, "It appears that Law and its sanction is based today on force rather than consensus; forced legitimacy rather than consensual legitimacy. It is by conforming to the Law that we could vest consensual legitimacy on the  Law. Lawyers are an integral part in this process. By refusing to give legitimacy and sanction to the Orders and Determinations of the Superior Courts the powers that be are undermining their power and effectiveness. That such derogation is instigated by Parliament speaks ill of our Legislators."


Removal of 43rd Chief Justice is unlawful, undermines rule of law & threatens country's judiciary – IBAHRI

The Executive Summary of an International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) report released on 28th March states the removal from office of Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake was unlawful, is undermining public confidence in the rule of law, and threatening to eviscerate the country’s judiciary as an independent guarantor of constitutional rights.

The Executive Summary issued ahead of the full report 'A Crisis of Legitimacy: The Impeachment of Chief Justice Bandaranayake and the Erosion of the Rule of Law in Sri Lanka finds the legal profession in Sri Lanka to be in a perilous state.

Sternford Moyo, Co-Chairman of IBAHRI states that the report calls upon the Government of Sri Lanka to take immediate steps to reverse the impeachment and replacement of Chief Justice Dr. Bandaranayake and to work to rebuild the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession in the country, as a matter of absolute urgency.’

The Executive Summary states a "high-level delegation, under the auspices of the IBAHRI, investigated the removal of Chief Justice Bandaranayake and the independence of the legal profession in Sri Lanka through a series of in-depth conversations by telephone and via the internet with a range of key players in Sri Lanka, including judges, lawyers, journalists, parliamentarians and civil society activists. The interviews were conducted remotely because authorities would not permit an investigation to take place within Sri Lanka. The delegation found there to be a systematic effort to intimidate and discredit lawyers and others who advocate and promote respect for fundamental rights in Sri Lanka.

In advance of the planning for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka in November 2013, Mr Sternford Moyo stated, ‘This is a critical time for Sri Lanka and international efforts to work towards reform must be intensified. The IBAHRI invites the Commonwealth Secretariat to carefully consider this report and Sri Lanka’s position with regard to respect for the separation of powers, the rule of law, good governance and human rights as enshrined in the Charter of the Commonwealth when deciding how to proceed with arrangements for the forthcoming CHOGM.’

The Executive Summary of A Crisis of Legitimacy includes specific recommendations to Sri Lanka’s authorities, including:

Taking immediate steps to reverse the impeachment and replacement of Chief Justice Bandaranayake, consistent with the Sri Lankan Constitution and extant rulings of the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court;

Drawing up a Code of Conduct for judges as a matter of urgency, taking full account of the principles set out in relevant international instruments, including the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct and the Latimer House Guidelines; and

Repealing the 18th Amendment to the Constitution and taking steps to create a body independent of the President and responsible for the appointment of all senior officials and judges in Sri Lanka;

To the UN, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group and Member Countries of the Commonwealth the delegation’s recommendations include:

Inviting the Government of Sri Lanka to indicate precisely what assistance it requires to put reforms into effect.

Asking the Government in particular how it will facilitate future visits by and cooperation with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, and the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.

Related news: International delegation to assess the rule of law and independence of the judiciary barred from entering country

This is a 'while away the day' only government – Tilvin Silva

The present government is interested only to while away the day says the General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva. He said this speaking at a rally held under the theme 'Just society & an independent human being' at Kegalle Economic Center recently.

Speaking further Mr. Tilvin Silva said, "When the government takes loans the interest and the installment that have to be paid is very high. When we spend one rupee to buy goods, cents eighty five is levied as taxes.

We do not oppose constructing roads, airports and ports. Rs.90,000 million was allocated for the expressway from Colombo to Galle. Are there any factories in Galle? Spending so much money and building an expressway is justifiable then. For, goods produced could be transported to Colombo within an hour. The money spent for such projects cannot be recovered. There is no productive economy in our country. There should be a productive economy to develop our country.  Capitalism cannot do this. The government is in a process of selling natural and human resources that are necessary to build such an economy in the country.

What the government does is to attempt to wriggle out of issues instead of trying to find solutions for such issues. When masses ask for relief the government comes out of some explanation to avoid the issue. All what this government does is to while away the day," said the General Secretary of the JVP.