23 September, 2020

Blog

Independent Judiciary: Asylum For Democracy

By Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

Democracy was rescued only a couple of weeks ago from brink of extinction, threatened by a constitutional conspiracy engineered by President Maithiripala Sirisena and his cabal. It was rescued partly by a combination of calm but resolute opposition from the public and more importantly by the Honourable Judges of the Supreme Court. The president’s immediate disgust at the judiciary, in degrading its judgement and comparing the dispute between him and Supreme Court to one of between a senior Buddhist prelate and a village temple monk deserves utmost condemnation from any lover of democracy. It only shows how ignorant the president is about the intricacies of law.

The President is now taking his disrespect of the judiciary to a dangerous point by undermining the Constitutional Council itself and by pushing his own nominees to the Supreme Court. In this he is apparently in collusion with Mahinda Rajapaksa, his co-loser in the current power struggle. Is the President’s office becoming a den of conspiracies? It is very clear that Sirisena wants dictatorial powers to have only his way all the way and no other way to cross his way. He is certainly on a collision course with democracy and its constitutional protector, the judiciary. An independent judiciary is the ultimate fortress to defend democracy and it is also its ultimate asylum.

People therefore cannot afford to remain complacent and the struggle for democracy has to continue until the Executive Presidency – JR’s evil child – is removed from the constitution altogether. The stand that JVP has taken to move a motion in parliament and initiate legislation to this effect is admirable and should be supported by all those who stood against Sirisena’s cunning manipulations. Ranil Wickremesinghe and his UNP battalion together with TNA, SLMC, ACMC and representatives from all minorities must rally behind JVP to complete the task. The country must go to the next polls only after abolishing the executive presidency and not before it, otherwise NM’s warning of a madman becoming a president will continue to remain a strong possibility.

The economy of the country was plunged into abyss by the president’s earlier action and it is in danger of falling into it again by his second manoeuvre to undermine the judiciary. This will be the unavoidable consequence if the president continues to create political uncertainty and instability. Sri Lanka is an open economy and therefore its fortunes are closely tied to the confidence and expectations that foreign investors and businesses have on the country’s political stability and developments. Never before in the history of Sri Lanka has democracy faced such an existential crisis as now under this president and his co-conspirators. If democracy goes the economy will also go down with it. Already there is a case for impeachment of the President. That case will become even stronger if he triggers another economic crisis.

There is however one more danger that may be deliberately unleashed by the SLFP/SLPP desperados and which may plunge the country into another communal bloodbath. Already, Rajapaksa supporters are pointing fingers at Messrs. Sambanthan, Hakim and their colleagues for holding RW government for ransom. This is total rubbish. In doing so, what the MR mob is trying to imply is that the Tamils and Muslims are manipulating the crisis to the advantage of their respective communities and that RW Government has fallen victim to this so called cunning scheme. One should remember that MR was ousted in 2015 partly because the minorities turned against him, and he carries a grudge against them even now. His supporters are not reluctant to use this trump card if it could bring victory. A desperate Sirisena may even welcome such a turn of events if he sees that he also could achieve through that convulsion a second term of office by default. JVP must spearhead a counter-campaign to expose this dirty manoeuvres and convince the people that the ongoing struggle is not to benefit any particular community but to save the nation from falling into the hands of would be dictators. A strong, dedicated and patriotic leadership from JVP at this critical time will certainly absolve that party from any blame some people may still carry about its past.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 5
    0

    The economy of the country was plunged into abyss by the president’s earlier action ///

    Oppressive rule is contributing to home-grown economic problems. It’s because the political structure After Oct 26 induces those behaviours. failed political balancing act.

    • 4
      0

      Dr. Ameer Ali,

      Thank you for the summary. First things first.

      1. There should be an impeachment motion against Sirisena, independent of whether it passses or not. The main coup conspirator must be taken to task, and punished. He had caused considerable damage to the country, in its reputation and economy.

      2. The 20A to abolish the JR executive presidency that paved the way for a madman to be president must be passed.

      • 2
        1

        Amarasiri, the impeachment motion has to be brought by UNP and not by others like JVP. Sadly Ranil is playing a double game and this has been his downfall all along.

        • 0
          0

          Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam,

          Ranil W does not have the balls to bring the impeachment motion If not no impeachment motion It will be very interesting to see who will vote for the impeachment motion, who will vote against it and who will abstain

          After all there was one NCM against Ranil that did bot pass

          There were 7 NCM agaist the Fake PM, Mahinda, that passed but the coup conspirators did not vote They broke furniture instead.

          Ranil W certainly have rotten balls and teams up with Ravi Penthouse

    • 1
      0

      Dear Dr. Ameer Ali,

      Constitution Article 3
      In the Republic of Sri Lanka Sovereignty is in the people and is inalienable.
      Sovereignty includes the powers of government, fundamental rights and the franchise.
      .
      The 19A has no provision to hold Parliament accountable for 4 years 6 months of its tenure either to the Sovereign People or the Judiciary or the Presidency.
      .
      What democratic mechanism is available to check a rogue Parliament from plundering the People’s wealth during this period as they did with the CB, EPF and ETF?
      .
      Have we won Democracy or have we surrendered it?
      .
      The Constitution is not understood by the ordinary people as it is couched in complicated language which even the legal profession has difficulty in understanding, as evident by their diverse interpretations.
      .
      Let’s examine the original 19A. What was it like?
      It had RTI and the CC (the sugar coat)
      It also had in clause 26 paragraph 104B(5)(c) a dastardly and undemocratic attempt to GAG both the State and Private Media. In Clause 11, the PM (RW) made a surreptitious attempt to usurp the powers of the President for himself (the poison).
      .
      Luckily for Lanka the SC struck these down by stating it required approval by the people
      at a referendum.
      .
      But the Question is, why would a Democratic govt even contemplate such draconian undemocratic laws? This is the time Ranil’s slip started showing but it went unnoticed by the protector’s of Democracy.
      .
      The first SC ruling is available here
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/SC-SD-4-to-19-of-2015.pdf
      .

  • 5
    0

    Could you also write an article about how MR supporters worship MR forgetting the fact 90%of his representatives are currupted and how UNP supporters are optimistic and assured about the Party for its skillful, authentic representatives but condemning the actions played by Ranil.w.

    • 1
      0

      Who was responsible for the biggest robbery in the history of Sri Lanka – the Central Bank looting?

  • 3
    0

    Most of the political commentators and Civil communities highlights the dangers faced by Mahinda Rajapakse & Co (including Sirisena) to the national welfare, peace, stability and economy. The recent political coup created a significant impact on economy and stability. Fortunately, Judiciary saved the Nation temporarily. Even after the Judiciary declared that Mahinda & Sirisena’s actions are illegal and unconstitution, they are free to involve in undemocratic violence to disturbe the peace, stability, economy through riots against Tamils and Muslims and still they have control of defence and law & order. This means judiciary become powerless when it comes to minority communities. There is no significant difference between SLFP & SLPP. They are Mahinda Rajapakse Political Party or Maithiri Rajapakse Political Party (MRPP).

  • 5
    1

    “A strong, dedicated and patriotic leadership from JVP at this critical time will certainly absolve that party from any blame some people may still carry about its past.”

    The above words well describe, that the JVP is shedding its past, and becoming an inclusive party for all ethnicities and communities. It’s the time for all to support them, instead of the UNP and SLFP who lost the touch with the people. They should emmolulate the Chinese and Vietnamese where the communism is only to govern the country but for business and other human endures they are more capitalists than the western capitalists, and currently, in the world, they are the champions of neoliberism. China is leading the world for free and open trade and Vietnam is in the forefront for the Trans Pacific Free Trade. They are well aware that neoliberalism, open and free trade, brought more prople out of poverty than any other isms in the world, and they are the biggest examples for it. Due to these policies, billions of dollars of investment is pouring into their countries and it’s changing the lives of their people.

    • 1
      0

      Siri.
      Spot on.
      The promotion of a “Market Economy” is the key & way to go if the life of S L’s is to improve rapidly; the various ISMS are only distractions and a thing of the past.
      S L has a long way to go; it is a very poor country, sadly, affected by its colonial past.

  • 3
    1

    We need more Mussies in the Constitution Council Ameen Ali, Is that what you are saying?
    No, we don’t need more of them like Mustapha in public life. Just shut up!

  • 3
    1

    If Sirisena is not thinking in terms of the people and the country more than his and his new found friend MR’s self interest, then there are only two options left to bring them to their senses, first to go the court to remedy to the situation, and the second, people power, let the people come on the streets, and compel him to do what’s right and good by the country.

    • 1
      0

      R.
      This will never happen; a) the courts function at snail’s pace b) S L’s are a passive lot; all talk and no action.
      Good luck.

  • 2
    2

    JVP is only solution to all political ills of Sri Lanka.. It will take some time for people to know… UNP and SLFP managed to fool public for a long ti,me .. Yes, JVP did some mistakes in the past.. but JVP of today is a different political party today. People should read it in this present context. not in the back drop past history. Now, JVP should make a little bit flexible politics. It must or should make a political apology for its past mistake. Why not they do it ? Can any JVP member in this new paper tell me why they do not do it.

    • 0
      0

      JVP’s political “medication” for the “ills” of Sri Lanka will be like taking poison to get rid of the suffering!

  • 2
    1

    critical thinking

    Even at this critical juncture AKD is trying to kid everyone who study him closely.
    He too wanted to sit on the fence in case if he has to jump to other side and join the crooks as Somawansa did many years ago and learned a lesson from Dr Mahinda by losing half of its membership and party.

    AKD has to do a lot to change the party.
    People don’t trust the party.
    It is finding it difficult to come out of its past and shed its stupid pronouncement about minorities especially the up country people.
    It also claim to have diagnosed the fundamental problems facing this island according to Rohana’s world view, and then unilaterally decide its own solutions without any constructive engagement with the minorities.

  • 0
    0

    Among some very important topics they discussed about their investment since 1948, One discussion was UK and European Union were willing to supply, Because Sri lanka had Ample rains, A shipload of Tractors and Insecticides. Insecticides may be useful if the Rural people and struggling Colombo Middle class want to forget the RS 200 worht dollar. Ranil says I know even that. but,first vote me. International Community would say a haaha, We even discussed rthat.

  • 1
    0

    Ameer Ali: Our version of democracy does not possess the ‘spirit’ of democracy which is “All citizens are equal”. It is propped up by ‘elections’.
    After granting asylum, should there be intensive re-education?

  • 2
    0

    RW will never allow or support impeachment of MY3, even if UNP back-benchers want it. Also it is advantageous for UNP to have MY3 until next Prez Elections. But managing and keeping him powerless and not a hindrance to UNP plans for this short period is a challenge for UNP (that is, IF UNP still has any plans to do something good for the country during this short period of time)

  • 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

  • 1
    0

    Thanks Ameer. It is really admirable people like yours contribution in the discussion of Sri Lankan politics. I wish more capable people come out and play their part in the process of building the country.
    Democracy in the country has been badly damaged by the previous governments during the past decades. Supreme court did what they have been assigned to do. In this instance we appreciate their noble work. I am not going to dig in to the questionable court decisions made during the past.

    Come back to the democracy, it is highly visible before and after the court decision there is no any single change in the law making body. They are back to the routine. Fighting for the opposition leader,ministerial positions and number of the cabinet.Is this the democracy?Democracy is not only selecting the parliament through votes but the true commitment of the peoples representatives.I think following areas should be discuss in broader manner to strengthen the democracy.

    1. How to educate voters to take rational decisions?
    2.What standers should there be to be a parliamentarian?
    3.How to remove if a minister not working properly?
    4.Give priority (top urgent) to court proceedings regarding the cases against ministers?
    5.Any convicted minister should be expel for at least 10 years or for good?
    6.Should media be more specific and impartial?
    7.Should Government media be independent?
    8 Executive presidency should be removed?
    9.Any minister who break discipline should be removed?
    10.There should not be any postponement of parliamentary proceedings due to misbehaviour of ministers?Any one who behave over control should be expelled? What damage they do to the voters and tax payers hard working money.
    11. How much value of a car be given to a minister? And other benefits?
    12. Should we wait for borne leaders or have a good mechanism to create leaders?
    13 JVP should continue their disciplined way of doing politics ?
    14. Encouragement for good works and constructive criticism for wrong doing?
    15.National Peoples Movement has a big challenge?

  • 4
    1

    Dr.Ali,

    It is very clear that Sirisena wants dictatorial powers to have only his way all the way and no other way to cross his way. He is certainly on a collision course with democracy and its constitutional protector, the judiciary. An independent judiciary is the ultimate fortress to defend democracy and it is also its ultimate asylum.

    ” The word asylum is sacred to those who are persecuted in their country of birth ( for number of reasons) and you cant claim Asylum from within and you have to flee to a safe third country to caim Asylum. . You can be persecuted because of your ethnicty , religious belief or political belief.
    An agent of persecution is mostly the state and you are right in that sense when you cant avail yourself to the state for protection. Even the LTTE were cosnidered NON STATE AGENTS of persecution.
    So dont confuse yourself and in the process confuse others.

    “An independent judiciary is the ultimate fortress to defend democracy and it is also its ultimate asylum.”

    *** Judiciary is not the ultimate Forthree because as MS is trying ( Just like TRUMP ) he can appoint RAPISTS ( Judge KAVANAGH) , KILLERS and anyone he likes to interpret the law to suit the agents of Persecution. So Judiciary is only a partial saviour.
    If Mayhem breaks out the ultimate Fortress is Foreign Intervention.
    Dont despair Sri Lanka is within Indian Costal Waters ( 200 miles) . If MR is elected he will be a LAME DUCK PM and MRs wings have already been clipped. There is not going to be a Race War. If it does start it will be over in seconds this time. There are Naval ships surrounding Sinhala Lanka Sleep tight.
    INSHALLAH

    • 0
      0

      Kali,
      .
      Sirisena had all these powers that you write about until he gave it up on his own!
      .
      Nobody could have stopped him, if he decided to be another MR. A fact that had even escaped even the Good doctor.
      ,

      • 3
        0

        Perera,

        You are missing the point.

        Sirisena had all these powers that you write about until he gave it up on his own.

        “He hasnt given it up. That is what I meant by MS is trying. If there are no checks and balances he will succeed. Intervention by the Judiciary is only temporary. But the electorate at large is behind MR and after the election MR will sweep to Power and it will be back good old days. But help is on hand let me tell you he will be a LAME DUCK PM.
        .
        Nobody could have stopped him, if he decided to be another MR. A fact that had even escaped even the Good doctor.

        *** He decided to be more than an MR but he was stopped in his tracks. If in doubt ask Bert he is not million miles away.
        ,

        • 0
          0

          Kali,
          .
          You have got your chronology wrong and has come to a wrong conclusion.
          .
          If Sirisena flexed his Constitutional muscle before 28th April 2015 and decided to become another MR, he could have done so with ease. If Sirisena was interested in holding on to power his SLFP could have easily defeated 19A in Parliament to prevent it ever becoming law.
          .
          Sirisena’s powers before 19A was greater than that of JR and equal to that of MR’s second term.
          .
          He could have sacked RW at anytime
          Appoint MR as PM to eliminate the threat of an impeachment
          Dissolved Parliament after one year
          Stuffed the SC with his own people and chosen his own CJ
          .
          The SC and Parliament would have been helpless onlookers without any Constitutional means of challenging Sirisena.
          .
          This is a Fact lost on ALL, who don’t pause to think.
          .

    • 0
      4

      Kali, Thats not true.Please do not, do not compare that dictator sirisena with President Trump. Sirisena and Rajapaksa violated the constitution of the country. President Trump never ever violated the constitution and and is always fighting for the rights of its citzens. Judge Kavanaugh is a decent man. Never raped innocent women like rajapaksa. That was something started by Democ-rats to destory his image before he was nominated to the supreme court.These are facts. Please do not hood wink innocent SriLankans eith fake news.Thank God we have an independent judiciary in the US, where even the President is not above the law.

  • 3
    0

    Bert,

    Dont stick up for TRUMP. He is the WORST President US has ever had. . If in doubt ask all those who have left his administration. He is an out an out RACIST. You may be a Republican and that is your choice. But for me he doesnt have any decency. If you want to ask me I will tell you America is a land of Immigrants and so is TRUMP his current wife and his in laws. Who is he to deny those who are seeking to enter US to better themselves. Dont try to teach me History. A Little English goes a long way. Judge Kavanah is a bloody liar. He molested her but he got away with it because he is a Good ACTOR and shed tears infront of Camera.

  • 1
    0

    Ameer Ali, JVP has the potential to restore democratic governance. But, there is a hitch. JVP has a regrettable past. There is distrust of JVP in the minds of the public, particularly from the minority communities. JVP has to grow up. It has to openly declare that it regrets its past. (There may be some opposition to it from within its politburo. AKD has to use his personal clout, persuasion, and charm to overcome that hurdle.)
    .
    Once AKD takes that gutsy move, the country would endorse JVP. Thereafter, there would be no difficulty for TNA and SLMC to extend support. That would be a winning combination. United we stand; divided we fall.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 7 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.