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Will Parliament Refrain from Proceeding With Purported Resolution for Impeachment of Chief Justice?

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By S.L.Gunasekara

The Court of Appeal, following the interpretation of the Constitution given by the Supreme Court has quashed by way of Certiorari the findings of the Parliamentary Select Committee.

Many are the statements made by members of the Government as well as by the leader of the purported Opposition, Ranil Wickremesinghe who are possessed of over-inflated egos instead of intelligence, to the effect that Parliament being supreme, no finding or verdict of a Court would apply to it. I have little doubt that Parliament will now proceed to go ahead with the purported resolution for the impeachment of the Chief Justice and dismiss her from office.

That would be a sad day for Sri Lanka for it would herald the murder of the Rule of Law by the Government which is bound and obliged to maintain, sustain and nourish it. It would indeed be comparable to a mother murdering an infant child.

The pronouncements of Members of Parliament that Parliament is supreme are not based on any provision of the Constitution – for there is no provision of the Constitution which provides for the alleged supremacy of Parliament. While the Constitution provides that sovereignty resides in the people there is no comparable provision which vests supremacy in Parliament.

In these circumstances it is evident from the Constitution itself that the framers thereof did not for a moment conceive of Parliament being supreme or vest such supremacy in Parliament. So important a concept as the ‘supremacy in parliament could not, in my view, be vested by implication and/or inference but only by an explicit statement to the effect that Parliament is sovereign or supreme. Indeed, such a concept could not exist side by side with the explicit statement that sovereignty resides in the people.

It is also pertinent to consider Article 12 of the Constitution in terms of which all persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law. This provision applies equally to all citizens whether they are Members of Parliament or not.

It is trite law that where the Court of Appeal quashes a finding or determination by any Court or other body (which includes a purported Select Committee) such quashing renders such finding and/or determination null and void and of no effect in law for all purposes unless it is set aside by the Supreme Court.

Thus, the only lawful means of seeking to nullify the effect of the said finding of the Court of Appeal is to appeal there from to the Supreme Court in terms of the Constitution. However, judging from the aforesaid nonsensical and totally idiotic statements made by various Members of Parliament, it is evident that no such appeal will be made.

The attitude of the Government, abetted as I have mentioned earlier, by the silly statements made by the purported leader of the purported Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe, will be to press on with their stupid and anti-national endeavour to dismiss the Chief Justice by hook or by crook, and that can only result in a state of anarchy setting into the country because it follows that if Parliament which is not vested with any kind of immunity from the decisions of any Court, can proceed to ignore a finding of the Court of Appeal, so also can the people ignore the orders and findings of all Courts.

One can well visualize the absolute chaos and disorder that would result if the people of this country follow the putrid example that will probably be set by Parliament by disobeying the orders of Court on the ground that in their view those findings were erroneous in law.

The only institutions that are vested by law with jurisdiction to determine whether a finding of a Court of law is erroneous, whether in Law or otherwise, are the superior courts and not any individual be he/she Member of Parliament or not.

In these circumstances one does hope and pray (if one believes in prayer) in the National Interest, that wiser counsel will prevail and that Parliament will refrain from proceeding with the purported resolution for the impeachment of the Chief Justice.

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