19 June, 2019

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Ignorance Of The Law

By Niresh Eliatamby

Niresh Eliatamby

The President has insisted that the Cabinet halt the proceedings of the Parliamentary Select Committee that is inquiring into the Easter Sunday bombings, at an Emergency Cabinet Meeting on Friday night, according to media reports.

Once again, the President appears to have demonstrated his inability to grasp the very fundamentals upon which our democratic system is built upon.

In the system that is called democracy, which Sri Lanka pretends to have, there is a widely accepted principle called ‘Separation of Powers’. What that means is that there is separation of the powers of the Executive (President, PM, Cabinet); the Legislature (Parliament); and the Judiciary (courts). The reason is simple. None of the three branches are deemed to be completely supreme over the others. But the areas that they operate in are different, and therefore depending on the relevant topic, one would be more powerful than the other in that particular area.

The legislature’s duty is to make laws and control the way public money is spent by approving national budgets for each ministry. The Executive’s job is to oversee the day to day activities of government institutions (other than Parliament of course), and to come up with long term policies and strategies to develop the country, including the development of infrastructure, education, health sector, etc. The Judiciary interprets and applies the law with regard to cases brought before it, either by the state or by private individuals and institutions.

For example, if a man is being tried in court for murder, the judiciary is supreme. Parliament cannot jump in and stop the courts from acting. Neither can the President decide that the man is guilty. However, once the man is convicted, the judiciary’s role in the process is completed, and the matter comes under the authority of the Executive, and therefore the President could pardon him or commute his sentence.

However, in extreme cases, such as the Easter Sunday attacks or the Bond Scam, Parliament has the power to investigate through the setting up of a Parliamentary Committee, which is what is going on now.

The President’s reported insistence that Parliament stop investigating the bombings is apparently due to his personal dislike of the evidence that is being revealed at the PSC. However, the fact is that this does not come under his authority. Neither does it come under the authority of the Prime Minister or Cabinet. It is a matter for Parliament, which has acted in this instance upon the national outcry and general dissatisfaction with the way the matter of the Easter Sunday bombings has been mishandled by government institutions such as the Police, Armed Forces, Ministry of Defense, etc.

The President’s reported statement that he would not allow certain security and intelligence related officials to give evidence is also a clear abuse of power. Parliament and its Committees have the power to summon anybody. If that person refuses to go before Parliament or a Parliamentary Committee, then he or she would be guilty of contempt of Parliament, and could be dealt with under the law. Thus, any official who heeds the President’s order not to attend, if the President were to make such an order, would be answerable. The President’s order, if such an order were to be issued, would in fact be an illegal order.

The President’s ignorance of the law is sadly a continuation of politicians and public officials simply ignoring the fact that laws do exist in any civilized society, which Sri Lanka is struggling to become. The Prime Minister’s assertion on global media shortly after the Easter Sunday attacks that Sri Lanka had no laws to deal with Sri Lankans joining ISIS and returning home was another glaring example. So was the Army Commander’s statement the day after the bombings that the armed forces needed a State of Emergency before they could act. Then there was the Secretary of the Ministry of Policy Planning & Disaster Management, who made a disaster out of policy by telling the entire population of Sri Lanka, more than 20 million people, how to dress when they enter a government institution, only to be pulled up by the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka!

The latest howler was the came when the President demonstrated a strange dislike for chainsaws and proclaimed that he would ban all saw mills and carpentry sheds in the country! The fact that such a ban could easily be challenger by every simple carpenter in the country appealing to court that they have a fundamental right to work in their chosen profession which is carpentry, does not seem to have occurred to him.

Sri Lanka has laws, enough and more of them, to deal with almost every requirement (a notable exception being in areas where advanced technology such as the Internet has expanded the frontiers of human civilization). It is simply a matter of officials and politicians being ignorant of the law, abusing their authority, or abusing the law by applying it only on certain people, gender, religions or races, that is the problem.

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Latest comments

  • 14
    0

    Is the President only ignorant of the Laws of Sri Lanka ??

  • 24
    0

    Why on earth, this political idiot was given this leadership to SL. He has damaged the country more than what Praba did for SL. This man has damaged the reputation of the country more than 30 years of war has done. He has damaged Sri Lankan economy more than 30 years of war did? as long as people are uneducated in politics, these idiots will ruin the country.. so sad to see it.

  • 12
    0

    only a pambaya like ranil will put up with him instead of maintaining the power of parliament

  • 10
    0

    What an ignorant fool is President Sirisena.

  • 11
    0

    Ranil is an extremely inept, incompetent and incapable person. Though he has a law degree he never made a name for himself as a lawyer. In politics too he has been a failure. Summing up, he is a ZERO! He will probably make a good Ceremonial President but not an Executive President.

  • 1
    0

    Niresh quote “What that means is that there is separation of the powers of the Executive (President, PM, Cabinet); the Legislature (Parliament); and the Judiciary (courts). The reason is simple. None of the three branches are deemed to be completely supreme over the others.”

    But Constitution

    4. The Sovereignty of the People shall be exercised and
    enjoyed in the following manner :–

    (c) the judicial power of the People shall be exercised by
    Parliament through courts, tribunals and institutions
    created and established, or recognized, by the
    Constitution, or created and established by law, except
    in regard to matters relating to the privileges, immunities
    and powers of Parliament and of its Members, wherein
    the judicial power of the People may be exercised
    directly by Parliament according to law ;

  • 2
    0

    If it is only Ignorance of Law, Attorney General together with additional PCs could be consulted, but there seem to be much more, which needs continuous monitoring.

  • 3
    0

    I have heard : IGNORANCE IS A BLISS. All this while I have been trying to understand the TRUTH of this and also to examine whether there is any “BLISS” in it. HALLELUJAH ! I found the “TRUTH” and “UNDERSTOOD” it. How? Our “PRESIDENT” (MY3) has taught me both of it by PRACTICE and EXAMPLE. So Mr. President: Thank you. “Theruwan Saranai”. God Bless you. Please don’t give up We learn more and more from you on a “Daily Basis”.

  • 1
    0

    Niresh, I have to disagree on this. In my opinion may be some politicians may be ignorant but most are thinking violating the constitution, the very first opportunity they get, than following it.In MS case, he is so confidant he could violate as he likes and still continue to be the president. That is exactly he did last year, and then kept police under his preview and now ordering service personal not to participate in any judiciary hearing. Remember the words of Trump when he said “I could shoot some one and still get away” , though he may be joking he would have loved to have those powers. Where as our politicians are able to actually fulfill such wishes. The constitution is only worth when it can be implemented to its letter.Ours is not even worth the paper it is written. Every PM/President has either violated or tried violating during their tenure. So I will not be surprised if MS really managed in stopping PSC and all other inquiries which may reveal the truth.

  • 1
    1

    NILESH ELIYATHAMBI: Palrliament is Some other Scum. You are from the media side (You are not the only one). How about Penthouse Ravi escapes even the bond scam prosecutions. Who does not LAW. Why there are so many corrupt politicians and corrupt bureaucrats in the system.
    You talk about LEgislation. 1978 constitution and amendments are to screw up Srilanka.
    How about All the politicians and NGO -Dollar Kaakkas are not talking about Generosity, Patience, they accommodate, Instead Politicians on purpose remind Sinhala, Tamil and Muslims. In which country in the world, Groups are reminded that way ?

  • 2
    0

    If the cabinet cannot call a spade a spade, hesitate, it only shows incompetence. Get rid of the devil who is plummeting the economy of the country.

  • 2
    0

    Niresh Eliatamby through {“Ignorance Of The Law”} has added one more article on the ‘tragedy’ that was the Lankan 2019 Easter Sunday.
    The contents is ‘argy-bargy’ and presentation resembles a sermon.
    Niresh says {“However, once the man is convicted, the judiciary’s role in the process is completed, and the matter comes under the authority of the Executive, and therefore the President could pardon him or commute his sentence”}
    The ‘Executive’ must follow protocols and precedence. For example: Was due diligence exercised by MS in the ‘pardon’ of BBS-Buddhist Gnanasara Thero, the Maheson Balakaya thugs?
    .
    Niresh in last paragraph: {“Sri Lanka has laws, enough and more of them, to deal with almost every requirement”}
    How will laws help in near absence of ‘Law & Order’?
    Niresh continues {“(a notable exception being in areas where advanced technology such as the Internet has expanded the frontiers of human civilization)”}
    Internet is being used to propagate ‘Fake News’. For example: The infamous tweet yesterday “Moon is part of Mars”!
    .
    There is no doubt that radical Lankan Muslims may have to carry the blame for the 21 April ‘tragedy’ was 2019 Easter Sunday. Lankan Muslims have.
    Food for thought Niresh: In this context is Gnanasara a ‘Hero’ or ‘Terrorist’?

  • 0
    0

    ” If that person refuses to go before Parliament or a Parliamentary Committee, then he or she would be guilty of contempt of Parliament, and could be dealt with under the law. “

    May I know where this is defined in Lankawe; is that in the constitution or in Penal Code or in any other criminal statue? Is there any punishment prescribed to Contempt of Parliament; if so then what it is?

    The president is executive and none of his action can be investigated other than FR violation under 19A. He is not responsible for any mistake committed in his tenure. During the Coup, President ordered the Parliament Security Public Administration official not to work with Karu. Parliament could not be opened; Karu never bothered about it. What is legal implication on President, Parliament Public Administration officials and Karu, who failed to punish them?

    After the 19A, the provisions of the Constitution are not black and white. Even the Chili Powder Canon rocket firers are not punished. President cannot have beyond defense and Mahaweli ministries, (the meaning of that is to use president authority only to Sinhala colonize the North East with the heavy hand of Military.) But the President is having Law Order (Dept.) and Media. Is there any contempt of cabinet guilty on President?

    According the constitution president has unlimited power to convene and prorogue the parliament. Then what is this sub show called PSC in that?

  • 1
    0

    Let us not play silly b*****s.
    The President has done nothing out of ignorance of the law.
    Each unlawful action was a deliberate move in full knowledge of the law, designed to bend or breach the law to serve his interests.
    He has plenty of advisors to guide him on twisting the law beyond recognition.

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