Harim Peiris

Political and Reconciliation perspectives from Sri Lanka

  • September 2012
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Archive for September 26th, 2012

A judicial rebuke to executive excess

Posted by harimpeiris on September 26, 2012

It was the French philosopher and scholar, Baron Montesquieu, who argued in his popular work, “De L’Esprite de Loix, the importance of the separation of powers in a democracy, between the executive, the legislature and the judicial arms of the state.   The executive and legislative powers of the state may be vested in a government, but the judiciary should act distinct from and independent of the government of the day, to dispense justice according to law, a key requirement for a society governed by the rule of law.

Further the powers of these organs of the state vary. It was a well known Indian jurist who commented that the Executive commanded the power of the gun or the use of state force, the legislature control over the state’s finances or the power of the purse. The judiciary on the other hand had neither force nor money, except the trust of the populace that it served justice without fear or favor, often typified by the image of the blind folded lady with the scales. Accordingly it is crucial that the judiciary in Sri Lanka not only dispense justice but be seen and believed to be doing so. Governments’ operate on the basis of the views of the majority. The Rajapakse administration is more than happy to govern Sri Lanka according to the wishes of its core constituency. The judiciary on the other hand must have a much broader and near  consensus acceptance of its integrity by the populace and needs to ensure the executives’ compliance with the rule of law. Read the rest of this entry »

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