Ex-CJ reported to Sri Lanka Supreme Court over statute violation
ECONOMYNEXT – Former Chief Justice Sarath Silva was reported the Supreme Court over his "wilful violation" of the constitution by acting as legal counsel to former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, a deputy minister said yesterday.
Social Empowerment deputy minister Ranjan Ramanayake addressed a petition to Chief Justice Priyasath Dep drawing attention to an August 17 incident at the official residence of the former president where Silva formed part of former leader’s legal team.
Ramanayake said the action of the controversial former Chief Justice was in violation of Article 110 (3) of the constitution which stipulates that retired judges of the superior courts should not engage in the legal profession without written permission of the President.
The Deputy Minister said he was not aware of any special exception granted to Silva and wanted the incumbent Chief Justice to investigate the conduct of Silva and take appropriate action.
“The constitution does not provide for punitive action. That is why I have asked the Chief Justice to take any action he deems appropriate,” Ramanayake said.
“I believe the conduct of the former Chief Justice in providing legal counsel to the former president would tarnish the image of the highest court of the land and give rise to suspicion about the independence of the judiciary in general and in particular the judgments pronounced by Mr. Sarath Silva at the time he occupied your chair.
“I earnestly appeal to you to cause an investigation into this matter and take any action you may consider appropriate,” Ramanayake said.
The former top judge had once asked for forgiveness from the people for giving politically-motivated judgements when he was head of the judiciary. Ramanayake played a video clip of Silva’s apology before reporters on Friday.
When the former president was questioned in connection with the abduction and torture of journalist Keith Noyahr, Rajapaksa had obtained legal advice from Ali Sabry, Jayantha Weerasinghe, P. Ganesh, G. L. Peiris and Sarath Silva, according to court records.
The CID officers had reportedly stopped professor Peiris intervening as he had no standing in the case. Although he is a professor of law, Peiris has no license to practice law.
In the case of Sarath Silva, out of respect for the previous office he held, the CID did not stop him, but reported the matter to the Mount Lavinia magistrate. Proceedings during the August 17 questioning were also tape recorded with permission from president Rajapaksa.
During an otherwise cordial meeting, the former president was seen restraining Silva. (COLOMBO, September 1, 2018)