By Vishwamithra –
“In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche
Dissolution of Parliament is once again being challenged before a fuller Bench. This writer believes in and dedicated to the rule of law and unmitigated justice. The writer also has utmost reverence to those magnificent men and women who preside over the fate and destinies of many a man and woman, many an organization and many a company. Those who sit in eventual judgment on a case firstly look at the facts of a case and secondly the law that applies to those what was revealed as facts before them. Most Honorable Justices of the Supreme Court, more often than not, have almost always delivered their judgments on the right side justice and on the right side of righteousness.
Now the infamous dissolution of parliament will again be argued for and against before the Supreme Court which will consist of seven, instead of the original three. The Attorney General (AG), the Chief Law Officer of the Executive asked for a fuller bench, and he got it. On December 7, 2018 the AG has to buttress his case for dissolution of Parliament. Definitions and intentions of the framers of the Constitution and its Chapters, Articles and Clauses, their validity in relation to the current impasse of governance and the political turmoil, the very act of dissolution as was demonstrated so vividly and in no unambiguous terms by some political ruffians who have been elected to Parliament, will all be argued before a fuller Bench of the Supreme Court. One couldn’t ask for a fairer resolution of the current crisis.
But one must be wiser. One must be more patient and even more accommodating. But that accommodation of one party should not be viewed by the other as a sign of weakness. There is space for accommodation. In politics, everything is possible. But there is no cure for pathological greed. Being avaricious is an intrinsic character of all beings. Humans are not spared of that quality. Yet society, in its evolution from the days of the Neanderthal, cave dweller of prehistoric era, has developed both internal and external safeguards for the greater good of greater numbers against the grisly consequences of such avarice.
Rajapaksas, the former First Family (albeit their claim as the current one too), their close cohorts, some parliamentarians who were elected in the 2015 August General Election and the majority of the media organizations in the country were all on a nauseatingly high ego-trip. Wresting the Premiership from the legitimate and rightfully elected owner of that position has given them some breathing room and they seem to be choking in their own breaths and sighs. Having been in power for more than two decades and their proximity to the obscene luxuries and corrupt and powerful drawing rooms of more corrupt powerful politicos, shedding of that magic from their daily life is exceedingly hard; their natural tendencies to treat their constituents as serfs of that magical potion of power and their regular visits to their paramours have been made irregular and more difficult. These negative effects of defeat at elections have driven them insane. That insanity was so demonstrably manifest in Parliament.
Insanity is a rotten symptom of a more dangerous ailment. Some of these parliamentarians who behaved as if they were nearing their Armageddon of their political careers truly made a sheer mockery of parliamentary traditions. Left unto themselves, they must be utterly obnoxious men and women. What was granted to them, in most conventional and layman-terms was uncommon and illegitimate. Whether it is also illegal and unconstitutional will be subject to the judicial decision of the seven-bench Supreme Court that will sit on December 7. Fraudulent and dishonest acts will have very adverse and nasty consequences, for both sides of any controversy.
The controversy of the dissolution of Parliament has totally gripped the country, its economy, its socio-political life and its Legislature. The resultant inactivity on the part of our government servants has surpassed their regular lethargy and complacency. During these days they are glued to a television screen when Parliament is on session. Conversation is, sometimes exclusively, about who is jumping and who is not and from which side to which depends on the political allegiance of those who engage in such idol conversation. Insanity has set in among all those who are wishfully waiting for the reemergence of an era of corruption and family-rule. The sanity of regular men and women in our society is still intact. Yet that of our politicians of the Rajapaksa-clan is very much questionable. With their intelligence-upstairs ‘to let’, a behavior denoting a severe malignancy of some sort and countenance of that behavior by their so-called leader are all part and parcel of symptoms which are much lesser in strength than the disease. The disease is much more incurable and more impenetrable even for an expert surgeon.
What has happened to our levels of intelligence? What has eaten into our skin that could prevent such demonic conduct, especially on the part of our political leaders? People see the outer reaction and make their initial judgment. I’m sure such judgments are rarely wrong and seldom disputed. Distortion of what could be visible to the naked eye, such as saying that it’s Coca Cola mixed with water that was thrown at Jayawickrama Perera was pathetic. If such dishonest and dishonorable conduct and utterances are really believed by those who committed the original sin, what other word one could describe such inhuman behavior other than insane?
The common man has already made his judgment. He has arrived at a non-nuanced verdict. Devoid of late-night analysis and Monday morning-quarterbacking, the regular common man does not see any shades of uncertainty. He sees insanity as insanity; he sees right as right and wrong as wrong; no doubts and no second guessing.
But the Supreme Court of the land cannot see things as they outwardly appear; they need to go further into the interior, penetrate the outer skin and go into the bone and marrow of arguments for and against and then decide whether the dissolution of Parliament on November 9, 2018 is constitutional or not. It has already suspended that dissolution and given time till December 7 to both parties to the decision to present arguments for their respective positions. Decisions of the Supreme Court are final. There are no appeals from the Supreme Court. There is no Crown above the Supreme Court. It is therefore supreme in every sense of the word.
The country is eagerly awaiting the verdict. It may be that one party of the controversy is the Chief executive of our country, President Maithripala Sirisena. But both the Supreme Court and Maithripala Sirisena must realize that it is not Maithripala Sirisena the private individual whose decision is at stake; it is the ruling of the President of this country and it is his ruling, the President’s ruling that is at stake.
The burden of leadership is so great that only those who dare to carry it without any favor or fervor could carry it to the end. Occupying that lonely abode of leadership should not be treated as a prize won after a competition. It is the weight that people place on him or her because they themselves cannot carry it. Such challenges and harsh burdens are indeed an enormous privilege. Such privileges should be treated as such- privileges and challenges. Greatness has summoned Maithripala Sirisena, the President. If the Supreme Court decides against his decree to dissolve Parliament he must most politely and humbly accede to the decision and leave the matter at the hands of the Legislature. If the Legislature takes the decision, even under the most difficult and unbelievable circumstances, that decision needs to be carried out without favor or fervor.
Therein resides the gravity of the Supreme Court. Annals of our court system have not seen a decision of such magnitude and scope, a decision of such weight and burden and a decision of such historic consequence and legacy. The Justices will be remembered for the decision they render on the dissolution of Parliament. This decision will be their legacy. The decision to make Sri Lanka sane again is one of supreme consequence.
The writer can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org