| A press release issued by the Lawyers Collective
( December 26, 2012, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) It is with shock and dismay that we have observed an organized series of programmes in State electronic media targeting the Chief Justice, the Judiciary and leading lawyers who are challenging the Impeachment. We have particularly noted that Ministers Rajitha Senaratne, Wimal Weerawansa and well known hate campaigners Rajpal Abeynayaka and Hudson Samarasinghe – all persons with vested interest in the impeachment process, are involved in these baseless propaganda programmes, with impunity. Ministers Rajitha Senaratne and Wimal Weerawansa were Government members of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC), who have allegedly uttered derogatory remarks forcing the Chief Justice to leave the PSC. Now they disgracefully display their conduct in public .
Among the false accusations intended to mislead the public, they have stated that the Chief Justice has fixed the benches in the Court of Appeal. It is common knowledge that the Chief Justice has no role to play in arranging any bench whatsoever in the Court of Appeal. Their insinuation that the Chief Justice selected a bench to hear her case is an insult to the dignity and integrity of the Judges of the country’s higher judiciary.
These few Ministers and the State media falsely accuse that the Chief Justice has become an active politician and that the members of the Bar Association are conspirators. It is abundantly clear that these are not isolated attacks but meticulously orchestrated attacks coerced and carried out at the behest of highest in authority. These are clearly intended to pressurize the Chief Justice to summarily resign, because the Government is well aware that the entire impeachment process is irregular and the Chief Justice cannot be lawfully removed from office. We are confident that the Chief Justice will not succumb to pressure, now exerted at a higher pace through the Government’s propaganda team.
The contents of those programmes are malicious and contemptuous and all those who are involved in them are liable to be dealt with for contempt of court and civil defamation. We urge the Ministers concerned to conduct themselves with dignity and caution the public not to be misled by the false propaganda by these unruly and unethical elements, which are unable to justify the impeachment process, except to launch a massive malicious campaign to divert attention from the truth. We, as lawyers reiterate that as a body we will stand by the Chief Justice and would take all possible steps, within the law, to defeat the impeachment.