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Sri Lanka: Supreme Court Verdict Affirms Legal Precedent, Emphasizing Accountability

As we extol the Supreme Court for its dedication to justice, it is incumbent upon us to reiterate our collective obligation to safeguard the independence of the judiciary and uphold the rule of law as the linchpin of our democracy

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On one night in 2022, US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung visited State Minister of Tourism Diana Gamage at her private residence in Thalawathugoda, Akuregoda. [File Photo]

Editorial

“यथा धर्मस्तथा जयः” (Yathā dharmastathā jayah)
“Where there is righteousness, there is victory.” ~ Manusmriti

In a resounding affirmation of judicial autonomy and fidelity to legal doctrine, the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka has once again exemplified its steadfast commitment to the principles of justice and impartiality. The recent seminal adjudication, resulting in the disqualification of State Minister Diana Gamage from her parliamentary mandate due to her non-Sri Lankan citizenship, underscores the paramount importance of the judiciary in upholding the integrity of democratic institutions.

The unequivocal ruling by the apex court regarding the ineligibility of State Minister Diana Gamage for parliamentary office highlights the shared responsibility incumbent upon President Wickremesinghe and every member of Parliament. As the custodian of the executive branch, President Wickremesinghe bears a solemn duty to uphold the constitution and ensure the expeditious enforcement of judicial decrees devoid of any partiality or undue influence.

Similarly, members of Parliament, as custodians of legislative authority, are duty-bound to uphold the sanctity of the rule of law and respect the autonomy of the judiciary. Their adherence to the court’s verdict not only serves to reinforce democratic principles but also bolsters public confidence in the integrity of the legal process. Any deviation from compliance with the court’s mandate would not only undermine the foundational principles of democracy but also erode the fabric of the nation’s legal framework. Hence, it is incumbent upon President Wickremesinghe and all parliamentarians to unreservedly endorse and facilitate the prompt implementation of the Supreme Court’s pronouncement, thereby upholding the sacrosanct principles of justice and accountability that underpin our constitutional democracy.

Championed by an eminent triumvirate of jurists comprising Justices Gamini Amarasekara, Kumuduni Wickremasinghe, and Janak de Silva, the pronouncement of the Supreme Court serves as a beacon of legal certainty for Sri Lankans. It substantiates their reliance on the judiciary’s capacity to adjudicate matters of constitutional import with unwavering fidelity to legal norms and principles, undeterred by extraneous influences or considerations.

The litigious saga, instigated by Petitioner Oshala Herath and adroitly advocated by Counsel Hafeel Farisz, in conjunction with Nishika Fonseka and Shannon Thilekaratne, epitomizes the efficacy of the legal apparatus in holding public functionaries accountable to the exacting standards of probity enshrined in the law. Through their meticulous legal expositions and steadfast adherence to legal rectitude, the petitioners have ensured the preservation of democratic ideals and the subordination of individual whim to the imperatives of legal authority.

Moreover, the presence of Farman Cassim PC, acting on behalf of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya, underscores the broader political ramifications of this judicial pronouncement. It signifies a collective resolve towards transparency, answerability, and the rule of law, transcending partisan considerations for the collective welfare of the nation.

At a juncture when the judiciary confronts unwarranted aspersions and undue interference, both domestically and internationally, this seminal adjudication stands as a bulwark against encroachments upon judicial independence. It reaffirms the supremacy of the Sri Lankan judiciary and its unwavering allegiance to the hallowed principles of justice enshrined in our legal tradition.

It is imperative that all stakeholders, irrespective of their political affiliations or personal predilections, accord due deference to and abide by the mandates of the Supreme Court. Any attempts to impugn or subvert the legitimacy of this pronouncement are not only antithetical to the rule of law but also tantamount to an affront to the citizenry of Sri Lanka and the foundational principles of our constitutional democracy.

Sri Lanka Guardian

The Sri Lanka Guardian is an online web portal founded in August 2007 by a group of concerned Sri Lankan citizens including journalists, activists, academics and retired civil servants. We are independent and non-profit. Email: editor@slguardian.org

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