A major crisis was averted when former Prime Minister D. M. Jayaratne and the previous United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) Government maintained silence and vacated the offices gracefully after the presidential election, former Chief Justice Sarath. N. Silva said in an exclusive interview with The Nation.
Silva said that the way in which Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe became Prime Minister cannot be accepted. “The incumbent Prime Minister should step down or he or she should be removed and then only can a new Prime Minister and Cabinet of Ministers be appointed,” Former Chief Justice Silva said. He also praised the way in which former Prime Minister and Cabinet of Ministers accepted the decision which the country had taken at the presidential election.
He also refuted the ‘null and void’ concept which was brought to reinstate Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake in the post of Chief Justice and to remove Justice Mohan Peiris from the post. “Only a judicial court can declare anything null and void. The President’s executive powers and judicial powers should not be misinterpreted,” the former Chief Justice stressed.
Referring to the new President Maithreepala Sirisena as a law abiding person, he said that he is being wrongly advised by those closest to him. Silva also said that ‘good governance’ means respect for the rule of law. He said he does not wish to see ‘the good governance regime’ fall into cracks which the previous government fell.
He also stressed that public officials must work within a framework which has been authorized by the law, but a normal citizen is free to do anything provided it is not prohibited by law. He also implied that the new government expects his assistance to administer the regime, but said he wishes to enjoy his freedom at home.