Jan 21

We recollect reading a press report some years ago which stated that the then President Chandrika Kumaratunga had told a UNP delegation led by Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe that she could prove which Supreme Court Judge had taken a bribe in a fundamental rights case.  It was also revealed that the Supreme Court had called upon the Editor of the newspaper which had published the report to tender an affidavit as to the authenticity of the story.  Eleven Judges of the Supreme Court are believed to have then written to the President to have their names cleared but, to the best of our knowledge, she did nothing, leaving a permanent stain on the good names of the SC Judges of that era, some of whom are still on the Bench.

Now that former President Kumaratunga is no longer protected by the so-called Ablanket immunity that is supposed to apply to incumbent Presidents, could some legal expert tell us whether there is anything to prevent the Supreme Court from compelling her now to provide proof in support of her allegations or, failing that, to offer the Supreme Court an unconditional apology for her allegation?  Otherwise members of the
public who go to the Supreme Court for justice and get a negative decision could have a lingering doubt in their minds as to whether they got a fair hearing from whoever was on the Bench to hear their case.

As we hardly ever get any replies to the letters we write directly to various officials and organisations, we are compelled hereby publicly to call upon the Attorney General and the Bar Association of Sri Lanka to tell us how they view this matter – particularly, as to whether or not it is their duty to safeguard the honour and integrity of the Supreme Court.  Silence on their part would be very revealing to the public at large regarding these two important custodians of the standards and standing of the legal profession from which the Judges of the Supreme Court are chosen.