22 May, 2019

Blog

Hoole Responds To Colombo Telegraph On Elections Commission’s Request

In response to two news articles published in the Colombo Telegraph over the Elections Commission, its member Prof S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole has sent the following response, under Right of Reply, to Colombo Telegraph.

Election Commissionors

The Election Commission

Colombo.

12 Nov. 2018.

The Editor

Colombo Telegraph.

Dear Uvindu,

Right of Reply (on Election Commission request)

Two of your recent stories bear inaccuracies and require corrections:

1. Story titled “No Election Until Supreme Court Gives Green Light: Mahinda Deshapriya” dated 9 Nov. 2018

This is incorrect. After the Commission meeting on 10 Nov. the Commission on a vote of 2 to 1 with the full quorum of 3 decided to ask the Commissioner General of Elections Mr. M. A. P.C. Perera to make preliminary arrangements to hold the elections. You have the copy of the instrument delegating that authority.

2. Story Titled “EC Mahinda Deshapriya Makes Shocking Move To Duck Controversy Over Unconstitutional Dissolution: Attempts To Transfer Commission’s Power To Commissioner General” dated 11 Nov. 2018.

Is this an attempt to cause grief within the Commission? The article incorrectly states that Mr. Mahinda Deshapriya is putting pressure on both the other two members to resign and is trying “to emasculate the commission and revert to the old system. [It] has given rise to the strong speculation that he was operating in sync with Sirisena’s unconstitutional agenda.”

All three of us agreed that the dissolution of Parliament was unlawful. Where we disagreed was whether elections had to be conducted on 5 January 2019 as in the gazette proclamation dissolving Parliament. I was clear that we cannot follow an illegal order while my two colleagues felt that the conduct of the election ordered by gazette is a must.

Mr. Abeysekera wanted to resign even at the beginning of the 11th of Nov. meeting of the Election Commission saying the dissolution was illegal. Had he resigned, it would have led to chaos as the Commission needs a quorum of three on a membership of three to operate. Further, on that resignation, the Constitutional Council would need to recommend a replacement to the President which process would take a minimum of 2 weeks and probably a lot more. Worse, after his resignation, for day to day operations with Mr. Deshapriya and I being on somewhat different pages on conducting elections, it would have led to crisis after crisis. Envisaging the immediate resignation of Mr. Abeysekere, Mahinda Deshapriya therefore drafted the letter delegating the authority to Mr. Perera. (He is the Commissioner General of Elections. The Commission is like a Board while the Commissioner General executes the directives of the commission). This would remove an immediate problem but worse would follow as Mr. Perera planned to retire on 26 Nov.. In that case Mr. Deshapriya and I would lack a quorum to recommend the next Commissioner General to the Constitutional Council. 

As such Mr. Deshapriya in delegating the authority, of whatever value it is, to Mr. Perera, was only making a temporary band-aid to avoid a calamity for the nation. He was not “ducking” any responsibility. Even this arrangement is challengeable since the Commission has to supervise says the constitution, the exercise of that delegated authority. How is that done y a Commission of two?

Mr. Abeysekere’s claim that he cannot in conscience conduct an unlawful election raised new problems. If it is unconscionable for him, can it be within the conscience of Mr. Perera to do what Mr. Abseysekere finds unconscionable while he gives that job to Mr. Perera? More importantly, can Mr. Deshapriya and I, the two remaining members of the Commission, do what is unconscionable for Mr. Abseysekere? Later the same afternoon Mr. Deshapriya and I discussed if we should both resign with Mr. Abeysekere and agreed to discuss it further. On the 11th evening I told Mr. Deshapriya that I would not resign but go for a fundamental rights plaint against the proclamation. 

We, Mr. Deshapriya and I, knew that once Mr. Abeysekere resigns the Commission just could not go on. Contrary to your piece, many including Mr. Deshapriya worked on Mr. Abeysekere to rethink his resignation. Mr. Deshapriya therefore far from pressuring either of us to resign, constructively worked on persuading Mr. Abeysekere not to resign at least for a few days so that we could make stop-gap arrangements for the country to move on while having a quorum of three. One example was our decision to hire  a lawyer from the private bar to represent us in the ongoing cases because the Attorney General is duty bound to represent the President whose views we do not share.

Finally, at the meeting today, 12 Nov., Nalin Abeysekere said he will not resign. I am glad for the Commission and the Nation. Nalin Abeysekere was indeed the first person to want to resign and deserves the credit for it. 

Some may say that Mr. Deshapriya shows signs of being the Commissioner of Elections that he was rather than Chairman of the Commission that he is. If there is any truth to it, it is by old habits formed as Commissioner and by people sucking up and asking him to do things as if he is the Commissioner, Head of Commission etc. rather than the Chairman he is. However, at heart he is an out-and-out liberal, giving us full freedom. For example, after I filed my FR Petition against the proclamation and it was claimed at the Commission meeting today (12 Nov.) that I should resign for having done that, Mr. Deshapriya asserted that I have the freedom to do what I did. 

He also had recorded our unanimous opinion that when papers on the ongoing cases are served, we would not oppose the granting of any relief prayed for in those petitions.

As grownups we may have different opinions, but at the end of the day we function as a team.

Please let readers know the true state of things.

S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 66
    2

    Hats off to the three gentlemen who have nothing but the well being of the Nation at heart. I am proud of you.

    • 25
      1

      Dear Colombo Telegraph,
      .
      Thank you very much for publishing what amounts to a full explanation by one member of the (very Independent) Elections Commission, which clearly indicates that this team of three adults is working harmoniously together in the teeth of all sorts of contradictions in what emanates from the Legislature and the Executive.
      .
      What idiot could have drafted legislation that a Commission of three cannot make any binding decision unless three elderly people are present (i.e. make up a quorum)? I remember an article in which Prof. Hoole voiced his concern about this and numerous other anomalies which were to be found in the regulations relating to the setting up of this Independent Commission – which promise was one of the reasons why Maithripala Sirisena got my vote, which, with the votes of many others, has ended up in My3 becoming a deranged de facto Dictator.
      .
      I’m just “recovering” from circumstances that made it difficult for me to comment in detail. I, therefore, tried to summarise what I have concluded to be the “nature” of these three very fine men, without taking it on myself to “interpret” their actions.
      .
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/no-election-until-supreme-court-gives-green-light-mahinda-deshapriya/comment-page-1/#comment-2225852
      .
      My sincere thanks to all three for not allowing two “two power crazy individuals to wreak long -term havoc on this island” by pretending to be exponents of perfect democracy by allowing elections to be held when the other “Sinhalese Party” is in disarray owing to the need to carefully select a replacement for the inadequate Ranil. Please let me expand on this later.

      • 12
        0

        Sinhala_Man,
        .
        Indeed Jeevan’s letter here is a truly honourable act on several counts and my sincere thanks and my most appreciative “hats off” to Jeevan for this letter and action. Most worthy!
        .
        Jeevan could have easily taken full credit and personal glory for single handed bravery as CT had previously somehow implied, but Jeevan acted wisely, objectively and gentlemanly letting the public know in no uncertain term the value of the three-person committee, its co-ordination and commitment towards common national interest despite conflicting opinions among them, which is indeed how it should be. Difference in opinion is critical for effective progress, but the common commitment to advance should trump such differences. It seems that is exactly what took place, and so Jeevan, thank you for not just objective and committed participation but for following up straightening the record seemingly misrepresented by CT.
        .
        Sinhala_man, previously you had asked me specifically what good has come out of my relentless criticism of Jeevan in the past. I am sure you will notice that the purpose and character of Jeevan’s current writing has now practically morphed from issues of narrow selfish interest, unfair and worthless criticisms based on religious, racial, or other ethnic differences and other such weaknesses, to one of objective, honourable piece – addressing issues of public interest sans racial, religious, ethnic and other biases or of self-glorification. I will let you be the judge as to whether that morphing was helped more by your unreserved reverence to whatever Jeevan wrote or my relentless challenges to his past flawed perceptions and writings.
        .
        I do sincerely wish, as many have commented, that Jeevan would continue to provide his exceptional intellect in helping discuss, sort out and guide solve challenging issues of public interest sans biases and frivolity.

        • 0
          0

          Yes, Kumar R.
          .
          This comment of yours is most welcome. You have voiced unqualified approval for this action of Prof. Hoole.
          .
          Yes, I have excused Prof. Jeevan’s peccadilloes: it’s just that I always said that his virtues were so great that on balance I used to say that he is a good man. Those aberrations of his were sometimes harmful, and I’d be surprised if they didn’t resurface!
          .
          I was closely following the Maldivian Presidential Elections in September 2018. I was at first puzzled a little by this report:
          .
          https://raajje.mv/en/news/41255
          .
          I’ve checked this out with some Maldivians; the disagreement did indeed come from Prof. Hoole, but it is not as though he was supporting the claims of the man, Yameen, who will hand over to Nasheed’s proxy n the 17th – 3 days from now. Apparently, Hoole had said that while all that they saw on the three days that they’d been there was acceptable, one had to consider how many key figures had been sentenced to jail on dubious charges before the elections, and how many possible candidates were not allowed to contest. There was just one article on this in CT:
          .
          https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/nasheed-requests-sri-lankan-government-to-engage-robustly-in-transition-of-power/
          .
          You will be able to judge from that just how closely I was following events there; had Yameen succeeded in his efforts to rig the elections, I’m sure that Jeevan would have been the only observer to speak out. I’ve not seen him boasting anywhere about the courage he displayed there.

      • 5
        0

        Sinhala Man,

        “What idiot could have drafted legislation that a Commission of three cannot make any binding decision unless three elderly people are present (i.e. make up a quorum)?”

        All legislation comes from the fine lawmakers we choose to send to the Parliament.

        “I remember an article in which Prof. Hoole voiced his concern about this”

        So do I.

    • 19
      1

      Dear Prof. Hoole,
      Hang in there, Sir. All 3 of you are desperately needed by our country. This is a critical hour. How else are we to rescue this beautiful country? From being gang-raped by organized criminals hiding behind so-called “political parties”?
      Cheers!

    • 0
      0

      Ow…..What a mess!! The whole country’s future has been left in the hands of three old men who seemed to want to want to run at the first sign of trouble.
      What is the intended independence of this commission if they make decisions that are only for the Supreme court to make?

      If the parliament is functioning despite the dissolution of parliament being gazetted but stayed by the SC what is preventing the EC not to follow the same whatever their personal opinions are.

  • 38
    1

    Nation needs more like you sir.

  • 41
    2

    Dear Mr Ratnajeevan H Hoole Sir,

    You have done a invaluable service to the nation in this crisis time.

    Thank you ,the other two members Mr Deshapriya and Mr Nalin . What three of you have agreed will go down nations history for saving the Democracy in the aftermath of an unconstitutional action amounting to a Coup .

    we salute the three of you Hands up.

    May the blessings of the noble be with all of you .

    Gayan G ,

  • 5
    35

    Excellent reply by Mr. Hoole. This shows , as saying goes every newspaper, media institution has a political line , though they vehemently deny it & CT is no exception. CT is 100% pro-UNP , & againt Rajapakse’s going by all what CT publishes.

    • 22
      1

      Romiyal,
      “CT is 100% pro-UNP , & againt Rajapakse’s going by all what CT publishes.”
      Maybe you should read the pieces by Dr. DJ, Laksiri Fernando or even Mahinda Rajapaksa and see whether they are pro-UNP.
      After that you can try reading the Daily Noise. There are degrees of partiality. Be happy you get even this.

      • 0
        8

        100% or not, CT is partial to the UNP.
        It views the world through tinted glasses.
        But it offers a more open forum for discussion than many others.
        Being better than any given newspaper need not make CT good enough.

        • 3
          0

          SJ

          How about the old ‘Kamkaru Mawatha’ Revolutionary Communist League?

        • 1
          0

          SJ,

          Our open forum is not perfect but do we have alternatives? Let us make it better together!

        • 2
          0

          SJ:
          “100% or not, CT is partial to the UNP. It views the world through tinted glasses.”
          Quite unfair inference given the space in CT columns occupied by the likes of Dayan Jayatilleke (and, more recently, a transformed Laksiri Fernando). But there is truth in the (potential) argument that “the more I read Dayan, the more UNP I am in danger of becoming”, if that is the point you are making.

          But methinks there is a bit of dislike of CT for the space it provided for exposing bad behaviour at Jaffna University.

      • 1
        1

        oldcodger

        You have forgotten HLD M, Malinda, …………

      • 2
        0

        “CT is 100% pro-UNP , & against Rajapakse’s going by all what CT publishes.”

        This is dead wrong ………… the fact CT continuously publish Dayan’s insane vitriol against Ranil shows that CT is one of the very few impartial media organizations still left in SL.

        Anyone wants to compare CT’s record with all the other “Rajapakse bias” media outfits? ………Bring it on!

        CT is one of the few unbiased open forums left ………. don’t sully it’s reputation for some petty political advantage

        Just observe how “unbiased” rest of the media became during the brief recent tenure of the Rajapakses

    • 0
      0

      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

    • 0
      0

      Romiyal, “CT is 100% pro-UNP?” Oh Yeah? Not even UNP is 100% pro-UNP. That is how all this trouble started.

  • 21
    1

    Wow! what a great man you are, thank you Sir. We, the common man, the voter are certainly assured by this article.

    I hope CT will make note not to just publish without proper authentication. The article referred in point 2 herein did unnerve so many readers as well as those who received the link via social media.

    Just as CT review the comments as per your “Comments Policy”, CT should also have a policy for articles and its authenticity and validity. The articles mentioned herein were written out as facts and not as an opinion, thus risking the credibility of CT and its content published.

    Bias opinion is one thing, false news is dangerous. Hope Uvindu will be more cautious in his statements of facts going forward.

    • 12
      0

      Splendid job Mr. Hoole.
      What is important is that the mistaken version about the Chairman of EC is now cleared and the initial doubt in the minds of CT’s bloggers dispelled. All’s now normal

  • 16
    1

    Bravo gentlemen. Your names will be etched in golden letters in our political history, for the forthright decisions made.

  • 14
    0

    Thank you for your honesty and integrity. One day you can be proud.You have done what you really have to do for the nation. Hats off .

  • 14
    0

    All three , Gentlemen par excellence. Salute you’ll !!

  • 11
    0

    Thanks CT publishing all the views.

  • 14
    3

    On that racist website, LankaWeb, one of its main contributors, Shenali Waduge, has posted an article castigating Rajan Hoole (sic), the mathematician & human rights documentalist & activist, for submitting a petition to the SC, both in his personal capacity & as a member of the Elections Commission.

    Although she identifies the petitioner correctly at the beginning of her article, she titles it with his brother’s name & proceeds to attribute to engineer Prof. SRH Hoole all his brother Rajan’s attributes.

    A subsequent posting on the same site makes the same error.

    I wonder how much more false information is churned out by LankaWeb.

    • 4
      0

      Too much time is given to the tripe written by Shenali Waduge. We have read enough of her to know that she will never let facts, and decency, get in the way of the foul-mouthed, hate-filled, vituperous language that is her stock in trade.

      LankaWeb exists for the delectation of Shenali and her ilk, and to annoy, and test the patience of the rest of us.

      • 2
        0

        Spring Koha

        Shenali Waduge must be one of the most unhappy person ever to be born in this island next to Dr Gunadasa Amarasekara.

      • 1
        0

        S.K,
        Just try getting a comment past Shenali’s gatekeepers at LankaWeb.
        The CT editor ought to invite her to contribute. But she is too much of a coward to agree.

    • 2
      0

      Where is she domiciled, in UK?

    • 1
      0

      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 5
    0

    Salute!!
    .
    “For example, after I filed my FR Petition against the proclamation and it was claimed at the Commission meeting today (12 Nov.) that I should resign for having done that” –
    .
    Commissioner General ?

  • 6
    2

    Your honesty would have reflected even sharper had you resorted to courts when the PC Poles were abruptly postponed by Ranil. Thus disenfranchising the people’s sovereignty.

    • 2
      0

      We have far too many elections in this country, which is simply a waste of valuable time and money. We don’t need more and more administrators to rule over their people, since so much corruption takes place behind these facades. All that money could be well spent if a proper plan of action is developed and implemented, without a waste on State level elections.

  • 0
    1

    Further to the disappearance of Waduge’s article of today from the LankaWeb site, I am now unable to open the responding article by C Wijeywickrema which refers to her article.

    However, I was able to access it by googling Rajan Hoole in a Hole, which is its title.

    • 0
      1

      At 16. 45, Wijeywickrema’s article citing Waduge’s has totally disappeared from LankaWeb.

      However, a new version of Waduge’s article about this subject is back on the site, with SRH Hoole’s name in the title, & all the incorrect claims confusing him with Rajan Hoole eliminated.

      • 0
        0

        Manel,
        So it seems there are CT readers at LankaWeb too. What next?

  • 4
    0

    We, the people of Sri Lanka Salute all three of you for your bravery and steadfastness in guiding the nation in this gravest juncture! Hat off to all of you! These three upright and honest gentlemen are going to be the survivor of the nation and it’s people from these perils and lawlessness. We the people of Sri Lanka expect the same from the learned and honourable judges of the Apex Court too.

  • 2
    0

    We the people, appreciate your good intentions to exercise your authority in an honest, open and fair manner. Your effort to develop mutual respect, trust and understanding with colleagues is highly commendable. Our country’s clarion call is to have more people like you, to stand up defiantly for what is right, than get sucked in for money and bow down to might. A breath of fresh air.

  • 4
    0

    I have the greatest respect for the 3 gentlemen. But what use are they when idiotic legislation mandates a quorum of 3 with only 3 members? Mr Abeysekera is this the fault of the LD? Or was the law drafted by some hapless legislator who is living in cloud cuckoo land? Even with the best efforts the commissioners cannot fix our broken polity.

  • 2
    0

    You and your team are our last bastion of hope to obtain a free and fair result at the next hustings, if there is to be one in the near future. Already MR has invaded your turf by ridiculing your effort to get a verdict from Courts, by saying ‘Where in the world do you have an EC file Court action when they are called upon to conduct an election?’ It certainly looks like, if only he could have his way (former glory days), he would have kicked you out unceremoniously and replaced you with another of his stooge henchaiya. Such is the only way he knows how to rule the country. Thankfully, there is still some hope to save this country from that despicable authoritarian rule..

  • 2
    0

    Esto Perpetua Nalin Abeysekera!

  • 5
    0

    Three Men of Excellencies, needed by the Nation, at this critical Period, against two Men void of any character for Power Mongering who could not wait for another 18months!

  • 1
    0

    S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole,

    “As grownups we may have different opinions, but at the end of the day we function as a team.”

    Thank you for being able to do that.

    “Please let readers know the true state of things.”

    Thank you Uvindu.

  • 1
    0

    Whatever crisis they face the 3 commissioners should stand together and face the crisis. For them, nation and impartiality comes first

  • 1
    0

    Dear Sinhala_Man,
    .
    Indeed Jeevan’s letter here is a truly honourable act on several counts and my sincere thanks and my most appreciative “hats off” to Jeevan for this letter and action. Most worthy!
    .
    Jeevan could have easily taken full credit and personal glory for single handed bravery as CT had previously somehow implied, but Jeevan acted wisely, objectively and gentlemanly letting the public know in no uncertain term the value of the three-person committee, its co-ordination and commitment towards common national interest despite conflicting opinions among them, which is indeed how it should be. Difference in opinion is critical for effective progress, but the common commitment to advance should trump such differences. It seems that is exactly what took place, and so Jeevan, thank you for not just objective and committed participation but for following up straightening the record seemingly misrepresented by CT.
    .
    Sinhala_man, previously you had asked me specifically what good has come out of my relentless criticism of Jeevan in the past. I am sure you will notice that the purpose and character of Jeevan’s current writing has now practically morphed from issues of narrow selfish interest, unfair and worthless criticisms based on religious, racial, or other ethnic differences and other such weaknesses, to one of objective, honourable piece – addressing issues of public interest sans racial, religious, ethnic and other biases or of self-glorification. I will let you be the judge as to whether that morphing was helped more by your unreserved reverence to whatever Jeevan wrote or my relentless challenges to his past flawed perceptions and writings.
    .
    I do sincerely wish, as many have commented, that Jeevan would continue to provide his exceptional intellect in helping discuss, sort out and guide solve challenging issues of public interest sans biases and frivolity.

  • 2
    0

    Kumar R

    “I will let you be the judge as to whether that morphing was helped more by your unreserved reverence to whatever Jeevan wrote or my relentless challenges to his past flawed perceptions and writings.”

    What if Jeevan like most others has quite simple been too busy with the acute crises in our country? I am sorry if I disrupted any omnipotent dreams you may have had about your role.

  • 2
    0

    Dear Professor Hoole,

    Please read the “Divaina” news paper editorial today, 14 November 2018. It has given some analysis of your status taken on this matter.

    I also checked the Election Commission web site to understand the duties and functions of the Election Commission members.

    However, these matters are under the consideration of court. We will wait until the court decision.

  • 2
    2

    Hoole: Before anything, explain how an American citizen (you) is in the election commission?????????

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.