What is right, not who is right
Daily Mirror Editorial
Jan 13, 2011

Self-realisation is the best form of visualization and world history has proved beyond any reasonable doubt that genuine democracy is the only sustainable form of good governance for the common good. This means, in its highest or noblest dimensions, a government of the people, for the people and by the people. Essentially, such a democracy comprises three key factors – the executive power of the sovereign people being exercised by the executive presidency, the legislative power of the people by the legislature or parliament and the judicial power of the people by the judicial service.

Over the past few decades and especially after 1978 we have seen gradual erosion or undermining of these principal factors for a working democracy which will ensure freedom and social justice for all. After the scrapping of the 17th Amendment and the enforcement of the 18th Amendment, the office of the executive presidency has absolute power bordering on dictatorial methods. Again, as history has clearly proved, absolute power corrupts absolutely as we saw in the collapse of the Soviet Empire and in the Arab Spring last year where the Tunisian, Egyptian and Libyan dictators who ruled with an iron hand for decades were gone in months and cast into the garbage dumps of history.

As for parliament which is expected to provide the checks and balances for democracy, we today see the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) having more than a two-thirds majority with indications in many cases that support or, loyalty was bought in a manner that resulted in rampant corruption on an unprecedented scale.

Until 1995, millions of people regarded the judiciary as the last bastion of democracy. They believe that whatever party politicians did or did not do, they could go to a court of law, seek and obtain justice despite some drawbacks and delays. Unfortunately over the past 15 years, we have seen the gradual and dangerous politicisation of the judiciary and the trend this week prompted a courageous judge to speak out strongly about what was happening.

High Court Judge T.M.P.B. Warawewa, who hit the headlines when he gave a strongly-worded dissenting judgment in the Sarath Fonseka case recently, said in open court on Tuesday that judges should not give verdicts in hope of obtaining promotions, privileges or luxury cars.

In a judgment that brought back memories of the famous speech made in the 1980s by the eminent Chief Justice Neville Samarakoon who sacrificed his powerful post to uphold the highest judicial principles, Judge Warawewa said judges should not be revengeful in their verdicts and that a judge’s verdict need not fall in line with the agendas of interested parties.

Essentially justice means deciding on what is right and not who is right. So be it.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka