The jubilation that marked the war end on May 19 of last year has now turned to widespread despondency, a lawyer said. S.L. Gunasekera, speaking at a seminar on the topic “Constitutional Requirements for a United Sri Lanka” on Tuesday said that this despondency has come about due to the breakdown of the rule of law because of the greed for power.
He warned that if such abuses were not checked there will be anarchy in the country with the common man taking the law into his own hands.
He cited as examples of the break down in the rule of law, the recent police baton charge on a peaceful JVP demonstration in Galle and taking into custody Vijitha Herath and another parliamentarian on the pretext that they had assaulted a policeman in the police station, Wimal Weerawansa’s protest in front of the UN compound in Colombo and Minister Professor G.L. Peiris justifying that protest on the grounds that dissent was a democratic right, despite the fact that such dissent obstructed UN officials from entering their premises, while simultaneously the police forcibly removing fasting monks near the Fort railway station protesting against the detention of Sarath Fonseka , as well as the police arresting some spectators for calling Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh a water boy while at the same time turning a blind eye when Mervyn Silva tied a public officer onto a tree.
Gunasekera however said that Article 12 of the Constitution specifies that all are equal before the law.
“Therefore what is the point in having constitutional amendments when they are observed on the breach?” he asked. Gunasekera said that the present Constitution was sufficient to meet the requirements specified in the afore-mentioned topic, ie Constitutional Changes for a United Lanka, provided the rule of law and justice and fair play were observed.
As such there was no necessity to bring in further amendments.
He said that the cause for the present day problems in the island was not due to the different communities that live thereunder, but politicians.
The so called ethnic conflict was made by politicians for politicians.
To have inter communal harmony there first needs to be intra communal harmony.
The danger is when rulers of the day adopt the posture, “I’m the monarch of all that I survey.”
Deterioration first took place when Mrs. Sirima Bandaranaike had a resounding victory in the 1970 elections, made worse by J.R. Jayewardene being elected to power with a 5/6th majority seven years later.
Gunasekera said that the solution was for good men and women to come into politics with parties taking a backseat.
The PR system should be done away with and the people should be given the choice to elect their leaders and not parties.
Gunasekera was opposed to the devolution of police powers to the provinces as ascribed in the 13th amendment.
Constitutional reforms should be there with the hope that those in charge of implementation have a sense of fair play.
He said that the cabinet of ministers should be like the board of a company with the very best being given such positions. But in reality what happens is that such appointments are given to sycophants and as bribes to those who cross over from one party to another.
He said that the reason why Mrs. Bandaranaike became the world’s first woman prime minister was because the rightful leadership of the SLFP which at that time should have had been given to C.P. de Silva, but which was denied to him, simply because he was from the Salagama caste.The seminar was organized to commemorate LSSP leader Dr. N.M. Perera’s 31st death anniversary.
T20 World Cup