President shies from taking a stand.
Counsel and President, Bar Association of Sri Lanka, Ikram
Mohammed said the BASL does not intend to issue any statement on
the present controversy involving the Chief Justice "because
there is still a police investigation pending."
BASL has not considered this matter at all," he asserted.
When asked why, he replied, "I really do not know."
on the controversy surrounding the Chief Justice
Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Leader, Rauf Hakeem:
should be two sides to a story. So far the Chief Justice has
denied the allegations and the policemen stand by their
statements. The issue has to be looked into and an impartial
inquiry has to be conducted. He cannot be tried by the press.
matter has to be proven before finding the man guilty of anything.
I know what it is like to be tried by the press. I was tried by
the state media while he is being tried by the private media. I
went through a traumatic period and I feel I should not be hasty
in coming to a conclusion regarding the matter.
question of intrusion in to one's private life also comes in at
this moment. Others involved in the Chief Justice's case have also
being highlighted in the stories. As public figures we can take a
beating, but for others it is a difficult situation.
police have said they will look into the matter, but their
impartiality is in question. However, it is quite difficult when
an issue regarding a chief justice is brought forward, but it is
sad that the nasty tabloid culture is now setting into mainstream
MP, K. N. Choksy:
the joint opposition has submitted a resolution to parliament
calling for the appointment of a select committee to look into the
issue, it would not be fair to make a comment before the committee
in this country looks up to the Chief Justice as a supreme person.
He should be of the highest level since he sits in judgment of so
many people. There should be no doubt about his integrity.
is a very vulnerable situation for the Chief Justice to be in. The
Chief Justice's personal life is not our business but credibility
of supreme persons is very important."
Ceylon National Chamber of Industries, Ranjith Hettiarachchi:
a business chamber, we don't want to get involved commenting on
this type of thing but the maintenance of discipline at all levels
- be it presidential, prime ministerial, ministerial, government
servants or police - is very important.
countries have reached that position due to the discipline that is
maintained. If there is no discipline, the whole system will
prominent lawyer speaking on grounds of anonymity:
is no problem with the Chief Justice of this country having an
affair with a woman. This is his private life and nobody,
including the media, has the right to interfere in his private
life. However, the fact that he has lied to the police and
allegedly doctored evidence is a serious problem as this does not
fit the role of a chief justice."
and writer, Kishali Pinto Jayawardena:
this is in regard to his private life then nobody has the right to
question him. However, the moment these allegations come into the
public sphere, in terms of his public conduct or any other public
official for that matter, there are very clear principles that
ought to be applied and an impartial inquiry should be held."
Centre for Policy Alternatives, Rohan Edirisinha:
entire issue that the Chief Justice has been involved in does not
befit the role of a chief justice. This is the very reason that I
have been arguing for a long period of time that an impeachment
resolution should be taken up in parliament against him.
the UNF government did not take any serious action against him
when they were in power, although they had promised that they
would. Serious action should be taken against him and an inquiry
should be held."
University student, Nishanie Jayamaha:
actions of the Chief Justice totally violate the purpose of a
chief justice. The chief justice is someone who is there to uphold
the law, and he should set an example to the people.
people think the chief justice's personal life and the role of the
chief justice are two, but in this case it was dual. There are
certain rules and a system that the people have to abide by and
the justice system is not the problem, it is the people who are
running the system that should be checked.
are many justice systems around the world that are corrupt but
from any system there are some standards that are expected.
common rule or the common law should be upheld by everyone
including the chief justice. This is why although the system is
fine the people running the system should be checked. And it is
also a fact that people react differently to a situation but no
one should be above the law.
Chief Justice should act more responsibly as his designation
'chief justice' implies what he represents.
the Chief Justice did was totally wrong and reflects badly on the
justice system of the country. One does not expect such behaviour
from a person such as the chief justice who is a person holding a
questionable evidence which challenges the CJ's charge that this
present case is a conspiracy against him, involving minor police
five police officers, four from Talangama Police Station and one
chief inspector from the IGP's command/police information room
join to connive in some bizarre conspiracy that involved the CJ?
If so, why?
these police officers have been in a position to fabricate
evidence given that the Hyundai car they have noted in their
entries is almost brand new and not one that has been in use for
even two months?
would these police officers have been able to implicate the lady
lawyer alleged to have been with the Chief Justice on the night of
July 6? The address they have noted in their statements is that of
her mother's as stipulated in her identity card which is the
address under which her vehicle is also registered. If indeed the
policemen were involved in a conspiracy to fabricate evidence to
implicate the Chief Justice with a woman, would they not have
given the present address at which she resides together with her
husband at Dehiwala?
of the incriminating evidence in the possession of The Sunday
Leader which details how this lady lawyer telephoned the Chief
Justice on his personal mobile number close upon 7:40 p.m. on the
night of the incident and once more after 9:45 p.m.? They did not
speak to each other on their mobile phones during the time of the
police detection. She then telephoned the CJ seven times the
following afternoon, July 7, both on his mobile phone and hotline
at his chambers.
might argue that the spate of calls would have been to find out
what was going on following the news hitting the public that the
Chief Justice was caught in a compromising position with a woman.
However the initial information in no way implicated her but
another woman. But C.D.S. ( the lady lawyer concerned) was not to
opinion by Chairman, Bar Council of England and Wales, Lord
Brennan Q.C. on the matter of Sri Lanka's Chief Justice:
the year 2000, Lord Daniel Brennan Q.C. former chairman of the Bar
Council of England and Wales in a report on Sri Lanka's judiciary,
recommended that the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) should
consider the appropriateness of requesting the Chief Justice to
desist temporarily from officiating as a judge of the Supreme
Court and act as a member of the JSC until the conclusion of the
findings of the special committee of the BASL.
Brennan together with former Chief Justice, Karnataka and Kerala,
Justice Malimath and President, Malaysian Bar Association, Mah
Weng Kwai advised the BASL to appoint a committee of highly
respected senior past presidents of the BASL to investigate the
charges relating to the Chief Justice.
further advocated that the BASL and all branch organisations
should also resolve to not invite the Chief Justice for any
function or event involving the BASL, its branch organisations or
case for impeachment against Chief Justice Sarath Nanda Silva
second impeachment motion signed in October last year documented a
number of instances of misbehaviour on the part of Chief Justice
Sarath Nanda Silva.
first case cited was that the CJ in his capacity as ex officio
chairman of the Judges Institute which also functions as the
official residence of the chief justice had employed as caretaker
of this institute a person by the name of Rohana Kumara, a
convicted criminal against whom several criminal cases are
Kumara it was stated, is a close associate of Nupul Kumara who is
accused of the murder of Ranjith Bandara Wijekoon on February 5,
2000, at Peradeniya Gardens where Rohana Kumara is the fourth
to the impeachment motion, Rohana Kumara had been in constant
touch with the assassin Nupul Kumara and his counsel Dr.
Jayampathy Wickremaratne PC, on numerous occasions before and
after the murder. Also, that Rohana Kumara had telephoned the
Chief Justice, on or about March 8, 2001, whilst he was evading
these facts, contained also in the previous impeachment document,
the Chief Justice continued to permit Rohana Kumara to function as
caretaker at the Judges Institute as well as to use a vehicle
bearing the name tag 'Judges Institute.'
Kumara was eventually taken into custody on December 29, 2001. At
the time of his arrest Kumara had requested that he be allowed to
speak to the CJ, but the officer in charge of the police party,
Sub Inspector Tennakoon had refused permission.
records reveal that at this moment the third accused in this case,
Lakshmi Kusumalatha who had been close by had taken a phone call
to the CJ and informed him of Rohana Kumara's arrest.
Sub Inspector Tennakoon had questioned Rohana Kumara at the time
of his arrest as to why he was evading arrest, Rohana Kumara's
reply had been that he was hiding temporarily on the advice of
Chief Justice Sarath Silva. This fact was reported and made
public, and never at any stage contradicted by the CJ.
case cited is a fundamental rights application case No. 43/2000.
This was filed in the Supreme Court allegedly by
attorney-at-law, M. B. S. Weerakone, on behalf of Nupul Kumara in
connection with another incident.
subsequently filed a letter in court stating that he did not file
the said petition 43/2000 along with 40/2000 and 44/2000 and
complained that his signature on the three petitions are a
this matter was taken up on February 19, 2001, before the Chief
Justice and two other judges, Sarath Silva simply dismissed the
said petition No. 43/2000 and the other two petitions and made no
comment about the fraudulent signature that had been placed on the
the Chief Justice is charged in the impeachment motion with having
acted in a manner unbecoming of the position of a judge of the
highest court in the land apart from the office of the chief
charge is with reference to three fundamental rights applications
referred to the Supreme Court challenging the validity of the
appointment of the CJ. These applications sought a full bench to
hear and determine the petitions owing to the public and
constitutional importance of this matter.
impeachment motion referring to these applications assert that the
Chief Justice more or less threw these applications out of court
where he was a respondent and an interested party by making orders
that were partial to his own interests.
fundamental rights application, case no. 503/99 in which Sarath
Silva was the presiding judge, he had ridiculed and insulted the
petitioner Rev. Rupha Pemananda. The CJ on this occasion has said,
"Buddhist monks should not be employed whilst wearing saffron
and if they so wish to be employed they should disrobe themselves.
They become monks to serve the Buddha Sasana and it is not proper
for them to take employment or become members of any organisation,
since they are provided with dhana. If they do what they want,
they should first disrobe."
the fundamental rights case no. 681/99 on which the petitioner was
a doctor in public service and a member of the GMOA, Sarath Silva
who presided at the hearing had addressed these words to the
petitioner: "Government doctors don't perform any work. They
are not to be found at their stations, they only know how to go on
strike, therefore it is appropriate to punish them."
yet another fundamental rights application filed by Lal Priyantha
Liyanage in which then Minister Richard Pathirana was one of the
respondents, leave to proceed was refused by a bench presided over
by Sarath Silva who told the petitioner, "Minister Richard
Pathirana came to my house and cried.
He told me he never did a thing like this. I know him. He
is not a person who will do a thing like this."
the campaign for the 2000 parliamentary elections many
applications were filed alleging abuse of state owned media to
promote the candidature of the then People's Alliance government.
Silva as Chief Justice constituted the benches over which he
presided and made orders. In the fundamental rights application
filed by UNP Chairman, Karu Jayasuriya, seeking redress against
Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd. and its editors for abuse of
the media for the benefit of the ruling People's Alliance, Sarath
Silva summarily dismissed the application without any reason.
fundamental rights application 578/2000 was also instituted by
Karu Jayasuriya seeking orders against the Independent Television
Network (ITN) for gross abuse of the media for the benefit of the
ruling People's Alliance. Sarath Silva once more dismissed the
application without due hearing.
Jayasuriya was the first signatory to a notice of resolution for
the impeachment of Sarath Silva as Chief Justice. This resolution
was dated June 6, 2001. Jayasuriya subsequently filed three cases
in the Supreme Court.
CJ then constituted benches to hear these cases over which he
presided. In the case against the then chairman of SLRC and SLBC,
the CJ granted leave to proceed but fixed the dates for February
5, 2002 as the date of hearing despite vehement objections of
counsel that this would render the application of no effect as the
general election was scheduled for December 5, 2001.
the FR cases against ITN, ANCL, SLRC and SLBC the impeachment
document states that Sarath Silva purposely engaged in delaying
tactics in order to render the applications non effective despite
the urgency of the matter.
the third application 562/2001 he refused leave to proceed and
coerced the parties to go before the commissioner of elections
without the agreement of the petitioner.
the Supreme Court FR application no. 633/2001 filed by Waruna
Karunatilleke of the Free Media Movement against the commissioner
of elections and the SLRC under the 17th Amendment with regard to
the December 5, 2001 general elections, the CJ behaved in a manner
highly unbecoming of the office of the chief justice, refusing to
give an early date for the respondents to report back to court
despite explicit requests from counsel. He also threatened to
award costs to the petitioner for coming before court and
remarking that the petitioner should turn off the Rupavahini and
switch to another channel if he found Rupavahini to be biased in
his capacity as ex officio chairman of the Judicial Services
Commission, (JSC) the CJ is charged with having maliciously caused
the termination of services of Hiran Ekanayake, Additional Colombo
Magistrate for reasons unconnected with the performance of the
duties of his office.
Chief Justice accused Ekanayake of being biased against People's
Alliance Chief Minister of the North Central Province, Berty
Premalal Dissanayake and partial towards Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Chief Justice is also accused of attempting to influence Hiran
Ekanayake in the performance of his judicial functions in a case
instituted against a lady named Hassan Ali who was charged with
cheating and fraudulent representations made to persons seeking
foreign employment. Ekanayake had refused to bow to the CJ's
overtures. He was later summoned before the JSC on June 2, 2000 at
which meeting the CJ called upon him to resign from office and
hand over his letter of resignation that very day.
in his capacity as ex officio chairman of the JSC the Chief
Justice had summoned magistrate Jayaki de Alwis and questioned her
regarding the reason why she had made certain adverse orders
against Inspector of Police, Umagiliya, the bodyguard of People's
Alliance Chief Minister, North Central Province, Berty Premalal
Dissanayake. He called upon her to resign. Upon her declining to
do so, she was dismissed from service without an inquiry. She was
reinstated after two days and thereafter compelled and pressurised
to tender her resignation.
in his capacity as chairman of the JSC the Chief Justice subjected
magistrate Lawrence Costa to constant harassment on the allegation
that Costa was biased towards the supporters of the UNP in making
his orders as a magistrate. Costa also later resigned unable to
bear the pressure brought on him.
April 1992 and up to date whilst holding the office of Chief
Justice while his marriage to Manorani Silva subsists in law, he
has cohabited and is living in adultery with Damayanthi Shirani
Jayasekera nee Gunaratne.
husband W. B. A. Jayasekera chartered engineer and former
president of the Organisation of Professional Associations
subsequently complained to the JSC against Colombo Additional
District Judge, Upali Abeyratne who he said had handled his
divorce case partially and in favour of Sarath Silva who had been
named as a respondent in the divorce case.
JSC chaired by former Chief Justice G. P. S. De Silva held an
inquiry and ordered that Upali Abeyratne be deprived of promotions
for a period of two years and that he be transferred out of the
judicial zone of Colombo to Moneragala for two years.
Sooner Sarath Nanda Silva assumed office as Chief Justice and
thereby took over as chairman of the JSC he cancelled this order
and transferred Upali Abeyratne to Gampaha and almost immediately
thereafter to Colombo.
impeachment motion further charges that Sarath Silva has hurriedly
reconstituted benches so he could preside whenever petitions have
been filed against the constitution. One such instance was in
relation to the Constitution of the Republic of Sri Lanka Bill of
August 3, 2000. Despite attorney-at-law S. L. Gunasekera raising
an objection to the bench on the ground that Sarath Silva had
previously as attorney general taken an active part in the
drafting of the bill, and also having been a proponent of the
draft constitution at various public fora, Sarath Nanda Silva
persisted in taking up the case before him.
also on this same occasion disregarded the plea of counsel that
this matter of paramount importance should come up for hearing
before a fuller bench including the senior judges of the Supreme
impeachment document further charges that in the case of Anthony
Michael Emmanuel Fernando the Chief Justice sat in violation of
the provisions of Section 49 (3) of the Judicature Act. Sarath
Silva sentenced Fernando to one year of rigorous imprisonment
presiding on the bench despite having been named as a respondent.
Judge Palitha Bandaranayake who
contested the findings of the JSC with regard to his dismissal and
filed a fundamental rights application against the JSC
specifically urged that the three judges of the Supreme Court who
are members of the JSC should not hear his case. Yet, the Chief
Justice who is also ex officio chairman of the JSC presided over
the bench and disallowed Bandaranayake's application.
final straw was when the Chief Justice prevented the attorney
general from fully stating his position in a matter concerning the
distribution of powers on the subject of defence. The matter was
before open court following a reference made by President
Chandrika Kumaratunga purportedly in terms of Article 129 of the
Constitution seeking an opinion of the Supreme Court.
the AG was responding to a question from the bench, the CJ
interjected to disagree with the AG, stating that the latter was
volunteering unsolicited opinions.