SC summons won’t deter me says Naganada Kodituwakku



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by Shamindra Ferdinando


Attorney-at-law Nagananda Kodituwakku has vowed to go ahead with his anti-corruption campaign, despite the Supreme Court initiating a disciplinary inquiry in respect of his conduct in the Court of Appeal on May 21, 2015 before the then President of the Court of Appeal, justice Vijith Malalgoda, PC and justice H.C.J. Madawala.


A smiling Kodituwakku, who also holds British citizenship emphasized that he wouldn’t keep quiet, though he has been issued a charge sheet and directed to appear before the Supreme Court on the 26th  of this month. Kodituwakku said so when The Island sought a clarification regarding the impending inquiry, at a media conference at the National Library on Tuesday (Sept. 12).


 Addressing the media and a group of civil society activists, Kodituwakku said that he wouldn’t give up but would instead take up the combined challenge posed by the executive, legislature and the judiciary.


summoned him on the basis of a complaint received from Justice Malalgoda, for what the Supreme Court called improper, insulting, intolerable, unbecoming and contemptuous conduct.


In summons issued on Aug 11, 2017 by the Registrar of the Supreme Court, M. M. Jayasekera, Kodituwakku has been told to show cause why he shouldn’t be suspended or removed from the Office of Attorney-at-Law in accordance with Section 42 (2) of the Judicature Act No 02 of 1978 read with the Supreme Court rules (Part Vll) of 1978 made in line with Article 136 of the Constitution.


Claiming that he had brought the situation in this country to the notice of the international community, Kodituwakku said that he wouldn’t even mind sacrificing his British citizenship to enter politics.


The 19th  Amendment to the Constitution introduced after the change of government in early 2015 barred dual citizens from contesting parliamentary or presidential polls.


Kodituwakku flayed the then President JR Jayewardene as well as the judiciary for paving the way for those who had been rejected by the people to enter parliament through the backdoor. Kodituwakku said that the corrupt practice had caused irreparable damage to the political culture of the country and caused a rapid deterioration of standards.


Kodituwakku alleged that he hadn’t been successful so far in getting the judiciary to revisit the circumstances under which the Supreme Court during Parinda Ranasinghe’s tenure as the Chief Justice accepted a request from Jayewardene seeking its determination on the constitutionality of a distorted 14A submitted in place of  the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC)-approved 14A that made no reference to defeated candidates.


According to records available in Parliament, the 12-member PSC appointed on July 6, 1983 under the then Prime Minister Ranasinghe Premadasa’s leadership hadn’t recommended the appointment of those who were rejected by the electorate to parliament under any circumstances, Kodituwakku said.


Kodituwakku alleged that he had received death threats in the wake of him taking up issues that were conveniently ignored by others. The lawyer displayed a long list of MPs in the current parliament who had sold super luxury vehicles acquired on special duty free permits issued in early 2016. The lawyer also explained the circumstances under which President Maithripala Sirisena and his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa had bought super luxury vehicles on permits issued to MPs after the last parliamentary polls in Aug 2015.


Kodituwakku explained that far reaching constitutional amendments were required urgently, to transform the country. "It wouldn’t be an easy task," Kodituwakku said, declaring his readiness to take whatever risks to pursue his anti-corruption campaign. The lawyer underscored the pivotal importance of tough laws to rein in political parties, their members as well as the judiciary.


Kodituwakku said that he was awaiting a response from the Bar Association of Sri Lanka regarding an inquiry he made about lawyers subjected to disciplinary action.


The following are the constitutional amendments proposed by Kodituwakku. Responding to a query, the outspoken lawyer said that the judicial power of the people should be exercised by the judiciary. "I’m strongly opposed to the judicial power of the people being exercised by parliament through the judiciary." Kodituwakku urged political parties in parliament as well as the civil society to study his proposals.


Article 3  - Sovereignty is in the PEOPLE and is inalienable and includes the power of government, fundamental rights and franchise


Article 4 (c)  - The Judicial power of the people shall be exercised by the Judiciary


16 – The Right to Judicial review will be introduced and Supreme Court will be empowered to declare any law inconsistent with the Constitution


35 – Immunity afforded to the EXECUTIVE PRESIDENT will be completely removed


-          Treaty obligations – All treaties ratified by the Head of the State will be subjected to the approval by the Parliament 


-          Members in the Cabinet of Ministers will be limited to 12


-           The number of MPs will be reduced to 125


          Proportional Representation system will be removed


           Citizens will be empowered to RECALL their MPs for abuse of office


-          Transitional Provision  - All Judges in the Superior Court System shall cease to hold office from the date of the commencement of the Constitution


-          Constitutional Council shall consist of 10 members out of which 9 will be learned people with eminence and it will be chaired by the Speaker


 


-          There shall be a Governor appointed by the President on the recommendations made by the leaders of the political party representing the people in the parliament 


-          All appointments made by the Constitutional Council, including judges to the Superior Court System will take oath before the Governor


-          Urgent Bill provision will be removed


-          Citizens Right to challenge Fundamental Rights will be extended to 6 months


-          Judiciary  - Accountability criteria for the judiciary will be introduced


           No judge will be allowed to take up any appointment whether in the public or private sector after retirement


-          Promotions to entire Judicial Service will be strictly limited to Career judges and given purely on merit


-          Case Management system will come into force with mandatory compliance provisions guaranteeing speedy disposal of cases 


           The number of Judges in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court will be increased to 21 each


-          The Unlawful Court Vacation system will be removed


           Public Interest Disclosure Law will be introduced


-          The Provincial Council System will be abolished


-          The National List provision will be removed restoring due respect and regard to the people’s sovereign rights


-          Sweeping changes in the Political Party System


o   Sweeping changes to the Electioneering process will come into force


o   Banners and posters in public places will be absolutely prohibited


o   A4 size adverts only will be permitted for display within the premises of private properties


o   The use of public transport system for electioneering purposes will be absolutely prohibited


o   The entire campaign will be regulated by the Election Commission with fair time slots allocated to all candidates in the Electronic media


o   All parties will be required to declare election funds with their sources  


-          Political Party Leaders  - All political parties will be compelled to amend party constitutions introducing a democratic party leader selection process 


-          Foreign Service – will be strictly limited to career diplomats only


          Labour rights will be recognized with a chapter introduced in the Constitution under the fundamental rights chapter guaranteeing a minimum hourly rate, maximum hours of work per week, and a guaranteed holiday scheme 


-          There will be a sweeping changes introduced in the Education, Health, Transport and Social Security System


-          Pubic interest disclosure law will be introduced


-          No elected representative will be allowed to interfere with governance in any manner, the violation of which result in the removal of the MP from the parliament


-          There will be a liaison office attached to each Ministry to acknowledge complaints from MPs


-          There will be a regulatory authority introduced for the legal profession.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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