Stripping the opposition of civic rights a dangerous trend – SJB

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s main opposition party is accusing President Gotabaya Rajapaksa of taking over the functions of the judiciary by dismissing criminal charges against his ministers and beginning the process of stripping the civic rights of opposition politicians.

Eran Wickramaratna, a Member of Parliament for the main opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) told reporters on Sunday January 31 that the “current problem of the country is nothing with the laws and Statutes but with the governance where the executive has taken over the functions of the judiciary.”

“This is a dangerous trend and changing the democratic government system whether it is through a gradual militarization of the public service or the executive taking over the function of the judiciary is dangerous and a threat to Asia’s oldest democracy” he said.

Wickramaratna a former Minister said that the Presidential Commission of Inquiry on political victimization saw the judges playing the role of inquisitor.

“On the contrary in a judiciary a judge is considered to be neutral and he plays the adversarial role by being like a referee between the litigants,” he said.

“The recently concluded Presidential Commission on the Political victimization has not emerged with any truth as required by its law. It has made recommendations to exonerate and release certain politicians against whom the judicial inquiries are underway after the indictments were served by the Attorney General following the police investigations,” he said.

“We see that those who have been in the suspects in the past and presented to a court of law have now been released as per the report. Basil Rajapaksa, Udaya Gammanpila, Nalaka Godahewa, Yoshitha Rajapaksa, Pillayan, Jaliya Wickremasuriya, Rohitha Bogollagama and many others have been basically released by the commission report from the charges made against them.”

He also pointed out that the commission has also named other people whom they accused for breaking the law and various violations.

Among them is Ranil Wickremesinghe, Champika Ranawaka , Mangala Samaraweera, M. A Sumathiran, Sarath Fonseka, Anura Kumara Dissanayake, the politicians and some prominent officials like Shani Abeysekara and the Deputy Solicitor General Asith Mudalige and various others.

The MP said that SJB vehemently object to this whole process of Presidential Commission system which is politically driven under this government.

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He said that the problem in this country that there is no lacuna in the laws but it is the leadership and the management.

During the last 15 months this government has really messed up from Covid to keeping their hands on the Judiciary in terms of management.

He pointed out that the judiciary has to be independent of the executive and the Parliament has to be independent of the executive and these three pillars of the democracy has to be safeguarded. (Colombo February 1, 2021)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana

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