The Sunday Leader

On constitutional Rights


Rauf Hakeem
Minister of Justice, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress
What is possible within the powers of Parliament has been carried out. You cannot deny Parliament’s right to bring such a motion. It is in accordance with the determination of the Supreme Court that the Bill could be enacted according to what the government’s intention is.

It might also be a referendum as they already said; not included is the clause that entails the need for a referendum to get the Bill passed with a two-thirds majority. The Supreme Court has required basic majority, it is all within the purview of Parliament to go ahead and entertain the impeachment motion. This is a legitimate exercise within the powers of Parliament.
If there are challenges to the Constitution by the Bill, the Supreme Court will always have the power to announce whether it conforms or not with the Constitution. Depending on the Supreme Court the Government decides whether the Bill is passed by a simple or special majority. It is all decoded, and up to any government to follow the dictates as laid down in any determination.


Sajith Premadasa

MP, Deputy Leader United National Party

As far as impeachment procedures are concerned, there is provision for this in the Constitution provided you have enough facts and information to justify that process. I am in no way going to negate the right of Parliament which represents the people’s sovereignty to ensure due process, as long as substantive issues justify its activation. The circumstances under which this impeachment motion took place clearly point to gross political interference into affairs of the Judiciary.
The Divi Neguma Bill attempts to concentrate political power and patronage in the hands of the Executive, at a time when the Executive is extremely powerful and the surrogates of the Executive have 73 percent majority in the Legislature. In fact, an elected dictatorship is in place in the country, as Lord Hailsham says.


Vijitha Herath

MP, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna
This is a real and direct interference with the Judiciary using the impeachment motion just after the Divi Neguma Bill. The future will be dangerous because democracy is deteriorating day by day and there is a great threat to democracy in the country. The collapse of the Judiciary will harm people and I think this event will affect the democracy of our country and our people.


Champika Ranawaka

Minister of Power and Energy, Jathika Hela Urumaya

As far as the Supreme Court is concerned, appointing judges is vested with the Executive, and in the case of impeachment, the inability to perform the job is checked by Parliament. The constitutional process has started. We are waiting – the Chief Justice has been charged under Section 14, it is up to her to disprove the charges. We are waiting for a committee to be appointed, and a hearing for an open transparent process, and then we can comment. The charges are being framed by Members of Parliament; we do not know whether it can be proved. It will not affect the relative independence enjoyed by the Judiciary. All parties, from Parliament, President and the Judiciary in the Supreme Court should know their limits. If we widen Fundamental Rights and infringe into arenas like the Executive and legislative powers there will be conflict. Consensus must be there unless the Supreme Court or judicial law cannot enact the foundations of the law. They must interpret the law, but cannot create it.

2 Comments for “On constitutional Rights”

  1. Iqbal

    Rauf Hakkim MP and several other MPs who crossed over after got electedwere not mandated by his electorates to join the UPFA government. They joined it in exchange for ministerial portfolios and perks. If they are really interested in serving the people let them prove it by resigning their posts and relinquishing their privileges.

    First they supported 18A to give president powers that were intended to be checked by 17A. Now they propose to support this impeachment motion against the CJ. If they are successful the executive becomes the supreme with the legislature at its beck and call and judiciary subordinate. In other words the president becomes an elected dictator.

    Normally an upper house check or delays motions passed by lower elected house but in this case only judiciary can do it as the legislature has become the rubber stamp of the president. In the last 7 years the parliament has not checked the president in any motion and on the contrary praise and encourage his dictates.

  2. vintage voter




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