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SRI LANKA: The Comments of S.N Silva

FOR PUBLICATION
AHRC-ART-004-2013
January 6, 2013

An Article by the Asian Human Rights Commission

SRI LANKA: The Comments of S.N Silva - the archenemy of rule of law

Basil Fernando

Sarath Nanda Silva is heavily quoted in SLBC programmes trying to criticize the Supreme Court judgment relating to the question on the interpretation of law referred to it by Court of Appeal. He says that the Supreme Court has not properly interpreted the words “or standing orders” as found in Article 107(3) of the constitution. As usual, the great trickster, who misinterpreted law to shroud the government he supported, is trying once again to come to the rescue of this government - which he was not long ago condemning vehemently.

Silva ignores the following paragraph of the judgment:

“In a State ruled by a Constitution based on the rule of Law, no court, tribunal or other body (by whatever name it is called) has authority to make a finding or a decision affecting the rights of a person unless such court, tribunal or body has the power conferred on it by law to make such finding or decision. Such legal power can be conferred on such court, tribunal or body only by an Act of Parliament with is “Law” and not by Standing Orders which are not law but are rules made for the regulation of the orderly conduct and the affairs of the Parliament. The Standing Orders are not law within the meaning of Article 170 of the Constitution which defines what is meant by "law"”.

It is no surprise that Silva is excited because he is fully aware of the manner in which he fooled Sri Lanka in order to safeguard JR Jayawardane’s tomfoolery with the constitution, to serve his political bosses Chandrika Kumaranatunga and Mahinda Rajapaksha. He was shameless enough to admit this himself when he was publicly stating his regrets regarding his misinterpretation of law in the case now known as the Helping Hambantota Case.

Silva understood JR’s tomfoolery with the constitution, done to safeguard his power. Having understood this, he proceeded to use the same warped logic to serve his own political masters. The great damage he did to the rule of law in Sri Lanka has not yet been fully exposed to the Sri Lankan public. That he managed to survive without a severe assault from Sri Lanka’s legal community is also a matter that still remains to be fully discussed. However, in order to have his way, the manner in which he bullied lawyers and clients is quite well recorded in the memory of lawyers.

Silva’s record as a bully is well borne out by the case relating to Tony Michel Antony (Tony) Fernando. That case will remain to challenge any claim by S N Silva to be an expert in law. It is only a coward who uses his official position to take his revenge; he wrongly convicted and sentenced a layman who requested that he should not hear a case, for contempt of court, sending him to jail for one year, and even refused his appeal by hearing the appeal himself.

Such souls are destined to be reborn again and again to repeat their follies. His reappearance in television shows that are blatantly used to attack and undermine the judiciary is no surprise. The same man who twice sentenced two persons (Tony Fernando and SB Dissanayake) for contempt of court is now taking part in media shows which are deliberately staged in contempt of courts for political purposes.

# # #

About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia, documents violations and advocates for justice and institutional reform to ensure the protection and promotion of these rights. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.


ENDS


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