18 October, 2019

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Divineguma Bill Challenged In Supreme Court

By Colombo Telegraph

The Centre for Policy Alternatives and its Executive Director Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu filed a Petition today in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the “Divineguma Bill”.

Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu

Issuing a press statement the Centre for Policy Alternatives says “CPA is concerned with both the process by which the Bill was introduced and its substantive provisions. Whilst the Bill has a wide reach, CPA highlights the two most important issues. The Bill, if enacted, provides wide powers to the Minister in charge of Economic Development to regulate and decide on a wide range of issues including subjects within the purview of the Provincial Councils, with limited checks and balances. The Bill contains several clauses providing for the take over of subjects provided in the Provincial Council list in the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, raising serious concerns not merely of centralisation and the consolidation of power, but also of the political will of the Government in terms of its pledges to implement to the full existing provisions in the constitution on devolution.”

Below we reproduce the full text of the CPA statement;

The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) is concerned about the tabling of the “Divineguma Bill” in Parliament which if enacted will have serious implications for democracy, devolution and good governance in Sri Lanka. CPA and its Executive Director filed a Petition today in the Supreme Court (SC SD 3/2012) challenging the constitutionality of the Bill.
CPA is concerned with both the process by which the Bill was introduced and its substantive provisions. Whilst the Bill has a wide reach, CPA highlights the two most important issues. The Bill, if enacted, provides wide powers to the Minister in charge of Economic Development to regulate and decide on a wide range of issues including subjects within the purview of the Provincial Councils, with limited checks and balances. The Bill contains several clauses providing for the take over of subjects provided in the Provincial Council list in the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, raising serious concerns not merely of centralisation and the consolidation of power, but also of the political will of the Government in terms of its pledges to implement to the full existing provisions in the constitution on devolution.
Furthermore, the Bill if enacted will take away the ambit of oversight mechanisms, especially in the area of financial control and accountability. The Bill also contains provision for officers and servants of the Department established through the Bill to sign a declaration pledging secrecy related to work of the said Department, raising questions as to why such a provision should be included in respect of a Department that is meant to serve and be accountable to the people. CPA holds that any Government institution including departments must be accountable to the legislature and be transparent in their functions especially in the area of finance. Thus, it is essential that all entities receiving and dealing with State funds adhere to the standards set in terms of Chapter XVII of the Constitution.
In addition to the range of substantive issues that are problematic, there are concerns about process. The lack of discussion and transparency prior to the tabling of the Bill and of any known consultation among communities and others who will be affected is extremely troubling. This is a general problem related to the law making process and particularly so in this case, given the implications of such a Bill. CPA hopes that the challenging of the Bill will raise public awareness and generate discussion and debate on it –processes that are paramount in a functioning democracy.
The “Divineguma Bill” can be accessed here.
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Latest comments

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    WHY DO THEY WANT TO GET ALL THE EMPLOYEES OF THE MINISTRY OF THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TO BE SWORN TO SECRECY? THE COUNTRY BELONGS TO THE CITIZENS OF SRILANKA AND WE ALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON IN OUR MOTHERLAND.
    wHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON BEHIND OUR BACKS IN TOTAL SECRECY?
    LOOKS LIKE DAYLIGHT ROBBERY. COME ON YOU SRILANKANS WAKE UP AND LET US SHOW THESE THIEVES WHO WE REALLY ARE. NONE OF US ARE LACKY’S OR BOOTLICKERS TO THESE ARROGANT CHIMPANZIES WHO ONLY KNOW TO SCREAM ON THE PLATFORMS.

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      Good stuff! Way to go Sara! Thanks a million for doing what the opposition UNP that is broken by that stupid dictator Ranil Wickramasinghe should be doing…

      Let’s take the corrupt, power hungry and vile Rajapssa Bros to the cleaners! Civil society must be the change in Lanka at this time!

      And BTW let’s trash Mahinda Chinthanaya their so-called policy document that is only good to wipe Rajapassa’s ass! It stinks! They stink!

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      Siphoning of public funds is very easy ,when they sign a declaration pledging secrecy related to work of the said Departments.
      Nobody will dare to ask questions.
      it very comfortable, when the Minister in charge of Economic Development is a close relative of the chief executive of the country.

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      Thanks! CPA, TI, and civil society needs to promote a culture of Whistle blowing – those with inside information on the regime’s (particularly Rajapassa Bros and sons and Mr 10 percent’s cronies’ – Sri Lankan Ailines Chairman and Rajapassa borther in Law Wickramasinghe, Lalith Weeratunge president’s Secretary another corrupt bugger, Dammika Perera, Nivard Cabraal, Susil Premajayantha etc’s corruption and crimes), should not be frightened of NAMING AND SHAMING the wrong doers.
      Unfortunately, Right now people who know the facts of fraud act very coy – like the two ex- SEC heads – rather than putting out the information they have on individuals involved in dirty deals in the public domain. Given that the justice system is in tatters due to political interferance the court of public opinion is the best way for experts who have inside knowledge to seek accountability while educating the public in a society reeling from filthy political corruption of the presidential family in all sectors – from education, to energy, to attacks on magistrates, to rapes by politicians etc.

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        Well done CPA – keep up the excellent work and please convene an anti-corruption campaign [Edited out] Chandrika was also corrupt – so she won’t do, but Sunethra was always above board and ethical.
        Recently 4,100 corruption probe reports on financial fraud committed by high state officials have been given to that corrupt to the hilt bugger who passes as so-called president of lanka – mahinda rajapassa and his secretary, Lalith, another free riding stooge- who is protecting the thieves many of whom are his family members, cronies and appointees.
        The bugger MR should be exposed for covering up the mountain of filth and corruption that he has cultivated to stay in power and loot sri Lankan. An anti-corruption campaign aimed at Rajapassa family, Nivad Cabral, Lalith Weeratunge, P.B Jayasundara must be launched like the Ana Hazae campaign in India which has damaged Congress which would lose an election according to polsters today.. Maybe Sunethra and Rosy Senanayake can team up for a bi-partisan anti-corruption drive led by influential Lankan women who can and must ‘be the change’ to get rid of the dictator and robber barons running amok in Lanka today!
        We need to start thinking outside the box since the political culture with that power hungry clownish dictator Ranil in the opposition is also useless [Edited out]

        Part of this comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy
        http://colombotelegraph.com/comments-policy/

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      This is why they do not want any Freedom of Information act being passed in the parliament.

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    First the 18th Amendment,vestng all powers- executive, legislative and judicial, assigning the A.G.’s department under the Defence Ministry and now this Bill. All for the good of the country?

  • 0
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    I applaud the CPA and Dr Sara for their courage in challenging the increasingly authoritative Rajapaksa regime’s attempts to gain absolute power. Why are the ordinary people and the political opposition are keeping quiet? Is it fear or is it indifference?

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    I only see the Govt. coming up with so many names after names of various projects that one could print a whole book of them. One has to ask who are the people that are overlooking those projects and who are really benefiting from them. Cannot they be implemented with the same village counsels thereby using the funds to it’s maximum utility …or it is used merely as a way of finding jobs to unemployed for a short period until funds run out. Someone has to come up with a suitable answer.

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    He has taken all challanges when LTTE was in power by gun.Now powerful political icons are behind him of Dr Prasatarahi Sarvavamatha.
    His base on challange of Bill is now of Indo-Sri lankan accord 1987 July,imposed by IPKF of Indain hegemony gunpower.Provincial Councials are one of root cause of corrupation instiuations of modern political history of island, and burden to People including Sinhaleses Tamils and Muslims.Its undermine basic norms of Democracy.
    We have to have so many Masters to RUN COUNTRY, on POOR TAX PAYERS FUNDS ARE FREELY AVAIABLE for PC’S in the Island,its created RAMPANT corrupation through out the island.Bills Dr SP opposed on ground of decline of PC power base,we cannot accpect such argument at all.

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      Ranjith Gunawaradena

      disinforms:

      “His base on challange of Bill is now of Indo-Sri lankan accord 1987 July,imposed by IPKF of Indain hegemony gunpower.”

      I beg to differ. India used Parippu Power and Sapathi floor flying machines to concur mighty Sri Lanka. So get your facts and English right.

      You foolishly acknowledge

      “Provincial Councials are one of root cause of corrupation instiuations of modern political history of island”

      As if there has never been any corruption in the history of Sri Lanka.

      Mighty Mahinda and Terror Gota (together with their terracotta army) are supposed to protect the island from evil doers and wrong doers using legal, not so legal and blatantly illegal policing.

      Why haven’t they stopped all corruptions?

      Could we not expect their brother Basil to cleanse the island?

      Are we awaiting Buddha’s arrival to do the job?

  • 0
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    Ali Baba and the many thieves reborn. If the answer for the country is not served through the ballot, then the obvious has to be resorted, the Bullet.

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    Nice work CPA! THANKS A MILLION!
    There’s no RIGHT TO INFORMATION in Lanka but the regime is building a “communication” satellite with loans from China, and now wants public officials to sigh a secrecy clause!
    Mahinda Rajapassa Chinthanaya policy is good to wipe the mahindas arse!
    And boy does something smell rotten in the miracle of Asia?!

    Delusion in the name of the game – Rajapassa’s delusions of grandeur and ambition for never ending power of a crumbling morally and intellectually and financially bankrupt Rajapassa regime.. They are running scared with all the protests and will soon to history – no worries that people are increasingly fed up with the ROT!

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    We must thank God for still having a few right thinking, straight forward decent men like the CPA, Dr. Sara, Mr Waliamuna, Chandra Jayaratne, Bishop Rayappu Joseph, Duleep Chickera and a few others who want transparency with equality and justice, who cares for the people and the country, with transparency, and the right to live in dignity with peace and justice to all.

    Any fool can can see all these stupid naguma programmes are all fronts to divert and rob public funds belonging to the citizens of this country. These power hungry, greedy goernment goons came into power by rigging votes and its voters, therefore they only want to loot the funds of the masses with various funny names that w have no heard of all our lives. Wake up people because justice and retribution is very soon on the way by the end of this year to all those who are living by the bullet, with torture, killings and mayhem, only the good will live on, the wicked will perish by the end of this year as has been predicted.

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    The whole problem as I see it is our woefully inactive Opposition who are adept at in fighting for power whilst the country is taken to the cleaners by the Government. Like what Pakiasothy Saravanamuttu has done
    the “Opposition brains trust” must take these issues to Court. They must look to organise themselves to Democratically fight the Govt at every level. They must address the indepenency of the Judiciary and fight to remove the strangle hold the Govt has on them, and thereafter take these issues to the judiciary. One cannot expect an uprising at grass root level like what has happened in the Mid East. Our people have just come through a harrowing terrorist war and the wounds are still fresh; before that they went through two brutul JVP uprisings. There is no point in trying to activate them to rise up en masse.The brains trust of the “Opposition”( those who can think organise and fight ) must be activated to use every available instrument at every level to throw this Govt out and bring back stability honesty and good governance to the Country.

  • 0
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    Good response LUCKY I totally agree with your comments. The Govt. still has not understood the coming world economic crisis where all the western countries are talking and predicting about. It is very crucial that Govt. does not take haphazard decisions in every part of life and to listen to opposition parties views when taking decisions. People do not want to see anymore of 1971, 83 or 98 but just want to live peacefully and with less economic burden and political interference.Lack of unity among opposition parties also a major concern.

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    One wonders what INTELLTUALS like Rajiva, Dayan etc have to say,despite the UN request for Right of Information Bill? To
    make all this a joke, SMS complaints can be made in our new Miracle of
    Asia!!!!

  • 0
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    Thank You Dr. P S for your efforts in trying to keep the flame of democracy burning. Very grateful to you.

  • 0
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    Is Ranil and his crew acting in tandem with the government or are they so naive and ignorant as not see the lurking dangers in the bill? voices of wisdom as that of Dr.S.P and a few others with high moral rectitude remain about the only hope for the right thinking people in the country that continue to be besieged by an endless usurpation of their rights by political nitwits.

  • 0
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    Courageous men die only once. Pakyasothy is a living example. He goes on exposing the treachery of politics in the country undaunted by threats and intimidations. Now there are more come out gradually; thanks to the lead given by Paky.

  • 0
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    Gosh what is going on are we all so dumb . Thanks Dr. P.S. What are they trying to do to this country, frightening future for the miracle of ASIA if they are not stopped .

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