Lawyers for Democracy has condemned President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s task force to create a “virtuous” society saying it is an affront to the constitutionof Sri Lanka and democracy.
“The promulgation of a task force with wide powers which override Parliament, Prime Minister and Cabinet, Judiciary and the Public Service is an affront to the constitution and democracy,” the statement signed by Lal Wijenayake on behalf of LfD convenors noted.
Lawyers for Democracy raises concerns that the Task Force has been directed to report to President Rajapaksa all delays and defaults on part of the public officers in following the instructions of the Task Force. “The task force under these provisions will be vested with super powers to oversee the public service and other institutions, even the PM and the cabinet of ministers,” LfD said.
The Task Force tasked with building a lawful society was a serious admission of the failure of the existing institutions such as the legislature, judiciary and the executive to create a secure, disciplined, virtuous and lawful society, the LfD noted.
See full statement below
“Lawyers for Democracy” views with deep concern the appointment by the President a Task Force with wide powers composed of eleven personals from the tri forces and two senior police officers.
It is said to be to build a secure country, disciplined, virtuous and lawful society. Further it states that it is to take necessary steps to curb illegal activities, take necessary measures to prevent entry of drugs, to take legal action against antisocial persons conducting activates located in other countries, to investigate and prevent legal activities in and around prisons.
This is a serious admission of the failure of the existing institutions such as the legislature, judiciary and the executive to create a secure, disciplined, virtuous and lawful society.
This is an indictment on the Prime Minister, the Cabinet of Ministers, the Public Service and the Judiciary. This will amount in fact to a proclamation of loss of confidence in the institutions established under the constitution to administer the country.
If any changes are necessary to the existing laws on the issues stated or the constitution it should have been by legislation passed in Parliament with a certificate of constitutionality of such amendments by the Supreme Court.
The promulgation of a Task Force with wide powers which over right Parliament, Prime Minister and Cabinet, Judiciary and the Public Service is an affront to the constitution and democracy.
Further it is stated that all government officers and heads of other institutions should provide all possible assistance to the Task Force and provide all information called for by the Task Force. Further it directs the Task Force to report to the President all cases of delay or default on the part of any Public Officer or officer of any Ministry, Government Department, State Corporation or other similar institution in the discharge of duties and responsibilities assigned to such Public Officer or such Institution.
The Task Force under these provisions will be vested with super powers to oversee the Public Service and other institutions and even the Prime Minister and Cabinet of Ministers.
There is no doubt that this is a long step forward in the process of militarization of the state and to create institutions outside the constitution.
“Lawyers for Democracy” calls upon all those dedicated to democratic rule under the constitution, the protection of human and fundamental rights, rule of law and independence of the judiciary to see that this move is defeated.