13 July, 2024

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Democracy Is Founded On Elections: Lawyers Collective Condemns Range Bandara’s Statement

The Lawyers Collective condemns the statement of UNP General Secretary Range Bandara, made on 30th May 2024, suggesting at a formal press conference at the head office of the United National Party, that by a public referendum the term of this President and this Parliament be extended for two more years in order to “save the nation”. This was followed by vague statements from the President, the leader of the UNP and members of the UNP merely dismissing such statements as the personal views of their own General Secretary.

It is in the context of a democracy deficit that such statements are made. The mass people’s uprising, Aragalaya, of 2022 was a recall of the mandate given to all parliamentarians, particularly the members forming the two-third majority in parliament. The people signaled a complete lack of public confidence in the head of the executive and the government of the day. The current President having taken office in this context is duty bound to uphold democracy and surrender to the sovereignty of the people. One of his key tasks ought to have been to restore legitimacy to these institutions of government without delay. Instead, the President refused to hold local government election in 2023 and is steamrolling a legislative agenda that is repressive and authoritarian with the support of a legislative majority that has lost its legitimacy.

Article 30(2) states that the office of the President shall be for a period of 5 years. Article 62(2) states that the term of any Parliament shall be 5 years. Any change to the Constitution to extend the terms of one or either of these organs of the State requires a constitutional amendment. Such a constitutional amendment would no doubt require a two thirds majority in Parliament and a referendum of the People because it seeks to change the way in which the sovereignty of the people is expressed. It would be an amendment to fundamentally change the basic structure of the constitution.

The danger in the statement made by the UNP General Secretary is the suggestion that any one President or any one Parliament’s term is extended because they are necessary to ‘save the nation’. Such a proposal completely undermines the sovereignty of the people, is made in bad faith and in ignorance or deliberate dismissal of the Constitution. It is a proposal whereby the power of the two thirds majority in parliament, which the people have rejected, is being abused.

The proposed extension also goes against the spirit of our Constitution, expressed in its Preamble which refers to ‘immutable republican principles of representative democracy’ that assure to ‘all peoples freedom, equality, justice, fundamental human rights and the independence of the judiciary as the intangible heritage that guarantees the dignity and well-being of succeeding generations of the People of Sri Lanka’. A question that can be raised is whether a two-thirds majority in Parliament and a 50% plus one majority of the People can make ANY amendment of the Constitution. Is not the amending process governed also by the principle of ‘constitutional morality’?

Democracy is essentially about people endorsing or rejecting the policies of any one President or Parliament. Presidential, Parliamentary and local government elections are fundamental to the People of Sri Lanka giving expression to their grievances, aspirations and their will. All interferences with this expression must be categorically rejected and condemned, and seen for what it is, an authoritarian move to undermine democracy.

On behalf of the Lawyers’ Collective;

Mr. Upul Jayasuriya, President’s Counsel

Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne, President’s Counsel

Mr. Dinal Phillips, President’s Counsel

Mr. Saliya Pieris, President’s Counsel

Mr. S.T. Jayanaga, President’s Counsel

Professor Deepika Udagama

Mr. Upul Kumarapperuma, President’s Counsel

Mr. Jagath Kularatne, Attorney-at-Law

Mr. Harshana Nanayakkara, Attorney-at-Law

Mr. Srinath Perera, Attorney-at-Law

Mr. Akalanka Ukwatta, Attorney-at-Law

Mr. Susantha Dodawatta, Attorney-at-Law

Ms. Ermiza Tegal, Attorney-at-Law

Mr. Manoj Nanayakkara, Attorney-at-Law

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Latest comments

  • 7
    6

    Now is the time for lawyers to speak out!
    .
    Many members of the public are in the habit of joking – e.g. – “What have lawyers and Arabs got in common?” – Dates!
    .
    Now, please do your duty by this country. Please don’t leave it to us to march on the streets.
    .
    Panini Edirisinhe of Bandarawela (NIC 483111444V)

    • 3
      0

      S M ,

      ” Please don’t leave it to us to march on the streets . ” Take my friendly
      recommendation SM , stay calm and relaxed at your age spending
      rest of your life looking after your self , giving it a breathing space . You
      should be able to sit back and watch painfully what is unfolding right
      in front of your eyes everywhere you turn thanks to what your past
      generations and your generation did and the future generation
      undoubtedly going to do to keep the flow continuing . Do not let Ranil
      teach you that Streets are not for his opponents to take Tear Gas
      Shower .

    • 2
      0

      ‘Now is the time for lawyers to speak out!’

      They will, if they are paid enough.

  • 4
    3

    “One of his key tasks ought to have been to restore legitimacy to these institutions of government without delay.” – 😆 dream on lawyers’ collective. He ain’t gonna do anything like that EVER! To beging with there’s nothing legitimate to his appointment to the Parliament or subsequently to the position he holds now. So how could he do anything about legitimacy?

  • 12
    3

    The heading says it all. I am amazed that Ranil got away without holding LG elections even after the SC determination.
    Despite that I find many Colombo folk rooting for him.
    This why in my ethics class I emphasize the research finding now in textbools that voter choices are based on indentity.
    Ranil is Colombo. Ranil is Anglo.
    So I find many Anglos especially from Colombo are asking us to vote for him. His policies do not matter. His communalism does not matter. His corrupt cabinet does not matter. His identity is their identity. So they will vote for him.
    We are called to be thinking voters. Not tribalists going only by identity like Trump’s followers.

    • 6
      5

      Jaffna Man, Bravo!
      I have the same feelings as you do. But, I wouldn’t have been able to muster the courage needed to say it in such strong terms. Kudos!!

      • 2
        0

        JF, often class differences override racial differences. But I’ve given up all hope of justice and equality from Ranil, even from AKD. Instead I enjoy this Tamil girl singing in Sinhala https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XztgOqEhQkA If only the Sinhalese Buddhists realised that Tamils are their own people, that burning a library is burning your own heritage. But they have been brainwashed and I don’t see them ever waking up.

        • 9
          14

          ” But they have been brainwashed”

          But not brainwashed enough to generate suicide bombers. That requires a unique mindset.

      • 0
        0

        This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy. The key to maintaining the website as an inviting space is to focus on intelligent discussion of topics.

        For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

    • 8
      2

      “We are called to be thinking voters.”
      Explains why we returned GR with a thumping majority.

      • 0
        2

        Because Siri Ma O is dead. No longer there. That is why.

        How you call all these dishonest dramas?

    • 10
      3

      “I find many Anglos especially from Colombo”


      That explains! …… Why I saw a man in a bowler hat and a 3 piece Savile Row pinstriped suit carrying an umbrella in the sweltering midday sun ……. board the 153 bus to Bnadarawela.

      Phew! …….. Thought, I was going nuts!

      Only mad dogs and Englishmen …….

    • 1
      1

      Jaffna Man ,

      ” His policies do not matter . ” Spot on JM . There are countries where
      even animals like cats and dogs have policies . They eats only what is
      given to them by their masters from super market shelves , made for
      them . They are trained and disciplined . A cat will catch a mouse , kill it ,
      play with it and kick it out and never try to eat it . Our cats ? Ours have a
      policy of not let it go . You throw the bone and the rest is needless to say .

    • 5
      2

      Jaffna Man

      “Not tribalists going only by identity like Trump’s followers.”

      If not for Tribal Loyalty why did the Tamils boycott the 2005 elections in the North and East?

    • 0
      2

      Dear Jeevan & Nathan,
      .
      Please look at this latest rot from Ranil:
      .
      https://english.newsfirst.lk/2024/06/01/according-to-the-constitution-buddhism-should-be-given-priority-president
      .
      It sounds as though all Members of Parliament (but hopefully not us citizens) are “obligated” to “accord priority to the Buddhist doctrine” within the country, even if they be Hindus, Muslims, Christians or simple Agnostics.
      .
      Even where Buddhists are concerned it is none of the State’s business to “obligate” priority for Buddhism. All that they should do is what they are doing now – just hold on to their views privately.
      .
      On this, I’m getting confused, but I feel that Ranil will not even contest any more elections. AKD will probably win the Presidency comfortably on the first round with over 50%, with Sajith second.

      • 6
        3

        SM,
        “Please look at this latest rot from Ranil:”
        Why don’t you display the same outraged virtue when the JVP seats Buddhist monks in the first row at their meetings?
        A little inconsistency creeping into the usual incontinence?

        • 2
          0

          OC,
          I told u SM’s general knowledge is highly questionable 🤔. Ironically he became old in SL.
          .
          He might be good at bold texts and heroworshiping for no good reasons, but to discuss above mentioned topics??????.looking back Thisahamy ‘s was not one sideded.

      • 2
        1

        this fellow ranil cannot quate Buddhism, he is the first person to bring in thugs into politics (gonawala sunil who was a rapit and on life sentence) and make a killer a JP, he is a thug nothing less

        • 2
          1

          Roger,
          .
          Is he a thug what talks about Mahendra Percy Rajapaksa?.
          .
          Saith Premadasa ?
          .
          Anura K Disanayaka?
          .
          Champika Ranawaka?
          .
          Dilith Jayaweera?
          .
          Dammika Perera?.
          .
          And etc?

  • 12
    4

    This Range Bandara is a POLICEMAN turned “Politician”. Doesn’t that provide ample proof of such PHOBIC behavior?

    There are very many such “Peoples’ Representatives” in the present Legislature who must be kept away from society and isolated in a SAFE HOUSE fully funded by the taxpayers’ money. It is a valuable expenditure in the context of public safety.

    I propose the above to a NEW Government that would be established in the coming months.

    • 5
      0

      I second that.

      • 1
        0

        Ruchira: Thank you.

        • 0
          0

          Douglas, most welcome.

    • 5
      1

      “This Range Bandara is a POLICEMAN turned “Politician”. Doesn’t that provide ample proof of such PHOBIC behavior?”
      It is wrong to put the blame on Ranga because he is only the secretary of UNP but who is the head of UNP? It only comes through him by the UNP party Head who is a President from Rajapaksa family.

    • 3
      1

      Douglas

      “This Range Bandara is a POLICEMAN turned “Politician”. Doesn’t that provide ample proof of such PHOBIC behavior?”

      Please clarify.
      Do we know where was he between 1987 and 1992 and as policeman what were his achievements during that period?

  • 7
    2

    What an idiotic statement by Range! UNP is a party which was kicked out of the Parliament and Ranil crept into the Parliament through the back door. Such a party which was clearly told by the voters to

    Imagine guys like Range and Vajira who want to extend the life of the Parliament coming back to the Parliament again. What more stupid things would they do?

    Kick UNP out of the Parliament again for good and out of the Presidency.

    On another point, Ranil is supposed to be an independent candidate, but he is directing the UNP election plan. Does Ranil think we all are fools just because he is a fool?

    • 2
      1

      ” Does Ranil think we all are fools just because he is a fool?”
      Ranil is not a fool. But his thinking that all others are fools looks true.
      Just, look at Sampanthan, Sumanthiran, Wigneswaran, Sitharthan. They all said Ranil is good man. He talks friendly. He is better than others. They said if I vote, I will vote for Ranil. When Aragalaya was in full power to remove Rajapaksas. He and His sponsor USA was with “Aragalaya”. After he got it, What happened to Aragalaya and What happened to Rajapaksas. Who was in front to bring Ranil. It was Douglas who was a Tamil Minister.
      Don’t forget, SLFP had only 8 seats when UNP JRJ won taking 140 out of 168. Federal Party becomes Opposition. If Ranil wants to win in this election he needs the support of Rajapaksas including Weerawansas new group. In other words, those who wish to vote Ranil indirectly votes for Rajapaksas. Ranil made it clear that he cannot do anything to Tamils without the permission of Parliament where it is impossible to get a two third majority in Sri Lankan parliament. That means it is an indirect say to Tamils.

    • 2
      0

      it is not ranga bandara’s statement it is ranil’s statement to feel the reaction. He is obviously affraid of an election.

  • 6
    0

    Did this Ex;Cop Range Bandara [ he has assaulted public officers while he was serving at Puttalam] express this view on his own or was he persuaded to do so on behalf of Ranil to feel the pulse?
    No doubt Ranil deep down knows only too well……..
    Enna paata honda nah ne?

    Sinhala Man.
    Apart from the dates there is a well known saying down south of the country about Lawyers. Ginni Kanne Minisu.
    ONE Guinea was equal to Rs.10.50 many many decades ago.

  • 4
    1

    You may call me a cynic, but I will not put it past Ranil Wickremesinghe until the date for the Presidential Election is formally and officially announced.

  • 5
    0

    Lawyer is another name for a street pick pocket. I can vouch for it. The street pickpockets have better qualm and respectability. Mr. Lee Kuan Yew chained down the lawyers of Singapore by getting the Law Society of Singapore to ensure by closing gaping holes to stop plundering their captive clients. He said he being a lawyer himself knows “how the lawyers think”. I wish we have similar laws in Srilanka too to protect the innocent, hapless and helpless.

    • 5
      0

      Hello HP,
      .
      Not only legalized pickpockerers with lawyer titles, medical doctors, channelling specialists, university lectureres, school principals, other higher degree holders in mostly in public services are like parasites.

      Most of them are parasites or working with parasites for their hidden financial revenues. Ironically, most of them are wearing ” pirith noole” around their wrists. Sometimes they are thicker than their waist belts..
      .
      They are so oppotunists. Pharamacists are real criminals and uneducated bastards.. I have noticed some serious patients being given wrong medication just because of illegible receipts issued by medical consultants. Doctors should be made responsible for their illegible hand writing.

      • 4
        0

        cont.
        I think banking sector is somewhat different towards positivity, however all other fields are highly infected by ramphant mafia style corruption.
        Lately, my close attention drew on more doctors and surgeons at pvt hospitals. Most of them have no human value as stood out 3 decades ago. Europeans are much better in that regard. Thanks to medical insurances we are held above whenever patients go to see doctors. Not just medical insurance, general psyche of the people in general are less-corrupted and biased.
        . Doctors and other graduates dont wear their titles on their foreheads as is the case in srilanka even today. I know many Professors in Germany, France and Switzerland dont care about their academic titlesin their normal life.
        I notice some of my graduate colleagues back in home country make every effort to stand out just because they are medical or engineering graduates.

    • 5
      1

      hanchopancha

      “I wish we have similar laws in Srilanka too to protect the innocent, hapless and helpless.”

      Even the Americans have found their former president guilty of a few things, and more to come.

      Forget what new laws this country may require or doesn’t require don’t we have plenty of Legal Eagles both in the state and private sectors. When will the state lawyers take our former presidents to task.

      Are our state paid lawyers still looking for their b***s?

  • 6
    0

    The Lawyer’s Collective complain as though they are the last bastion of honesty. The lawyers of Sri Lanka are the most successful crooks in the country.
    https://www.dailymirror.lk/opinion/Did-BASL-misappropriate-monies-sent-by-JICA-for-anti-corruption-programme/231-283121

  • 8
    2

    Several lawyers in this list also are dirty
    One guy was helping Ranil one time to amend the constitution for his benefit.

    Another guy was appointed a diplomat in Australia and claimed refugee status there saying he is a human rights lawyer under life threat in Sri Lanka !

    Another guy always eyes Government appointments , as a Corporation chairman made commission money and moved from his tenement house to a mansion ! He got caught to President Sirisena asking for bribes from a foreign investor and was sacked !

    But In old Sri Lanka they continue to ride high making high sounding statements like this !

    • 4
      0

      DS,
      Don’t u know that all these Lawers are born and raised in sl?.
      .
      “But In old Sri Lanka they continue to ride high making high sounding statements like this”.
      .
      Srilanken s are used to overestimate them from that day on. Not even Z genzers cross question why?
      .
      🙂🙂🙂🙂🙂?

      • 2
        2

        Leela how true, these Sri Lankans are so full of themselves , when everything in the country shows how foolish they really are !

        They should learn from you , helping Europe progress, yet so humble about it !

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