Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena launched a thinly veiled criticism of the country’s judiciary after it delivered landmark judgements frustrating his moves to sack parliament and install what the largest party in parliament calls a “rogue government.”
In his first public reference to the conduct of the courts, Sirisena told a convention of his Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) that many people had reservations about the recent conduct of courts.
He began saying that he would respect any decision of the courts, but later went on to say that “a section of the people” suspected that the judiciary was partisan.
“Some people think the judiciary is neutral and independent. Another section feels that they are one-sided and partisan.”
He said another section thought that the courts had exceed their authority. And Sirisena illustrated his point by saying that pronouncements of the courts were similar to a “sermon by an ordinary monk instead of the chief priest of the particular sect.”
He also indirectly questioned why the courts had given interim orders that had gone against him.
The Supreme Court on November 13 issued an order suspending the president’s dissolution of parliament and the case is currently being heard with a decision expected by about Friday.
Similarly the Court of Appeal suspended Mahinda Rajapaksa exercising the powers of the prime minister until a final hearing against his controversial appointment to the high office by Sirisena on October 26.
“There have been interim orders, but these are not murders, robberies or rapes,” Sirisena said clearly unhappy with the recent developments.
President Maithripala Sirisena said Sri Lanka’s political crisis will end in seven days and he will respect court decisions as two of the highest courts in the land gave interim ruling against his actions.
“I will respect court rulings,” President Sirisena said addressing a meeting of his Sri Lanka Freedom Party members without specifying how.
“But people in the country have various views on the judiciary.”
Crisis to end in a week
Sirisena pledged that the ongoing political crisis will end in seven days. He did not elaborate.
A Supreme Court hearing on President Sirisena’s dissolution of Parliament is due to be heard at least until December 7, while a Court of Appeal case will be heard from December 12.
Sirisena said the entire crisis was triggered by United National Party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe who was not suited to Sri Lanka.
He said Wickremesinghe destroyed the UNP, the country.
“And to some extent he has destroyed me,” President Sirisena said.
He said he will never appoint Wickremesinghe Prime Minister even if all 225 members of the parliament asked him to do so.