Impeachment motion: Attempt to wrest complete control and consolidate all power within the family

Press release/ 07 Nov 2012

 Networking for Rights, a net work of journalists and human rights defenders  considers the Sri Lanka governments move to impeach Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, as a flagrant expression of political interference in the judicial system and a  final step towards destroying the flicker of democracy that still remains in the country.

  This is not an issue about an individual but rather about the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary.

 If the Chief Justice must be impeached, then her errors and omissions should be investigated through a well defined process. There must be public debate before the government rushes to impeach her; simply because the Executive is displeased with the manner she interprets the law. The ultimate aim of the present government is to enjoy limitless power; power that is centered only around the Rajapaksa family The government has been at odds with the judiciary for quite awhile now; the assault of the Secretary of the Judicial Services Commission,  the attempt to intimidate  the Magistrate of Mannar and the attack on the Mannar Court House are only a few of the (two) incidents. The biggest quarrel the government has with the Chief Justice is the decision given by the Supreme Court to block the adoption of the Divinaguma Bill, whereby, many of the powers now in the hands of the provincial governments could be taken away and handed over to the Ministry of Economic development, which functions under the President’s brother, Basil Rajapakse. This is a clear attempt to not only centralize all power, but also for the Rajapaksa’s to wrest complete control and consolidate all power within the family. As it is, the President, his brothers and children have control in almost all areas- from the military to controlling the economy.

 By muzzling the media and silencing journalists through every means possible, the present regime has been able to curb dissent. The judiciary, to some extent has been the only bastion that has stood between the people and a dictatorial government. If the regime is successful in impeaching the Chief Justice, then one of the few remaining spaces for seeking justice and redress will be lost to the people of Sri Lanka.

 Networking for Rights is heartened to note that some sections of the population has begun to oppose the government’s actions and calls upon all Sri Lankans to take a stand for the independence of the judiciary in our country.



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