1 December, 2020

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Morality In Sri Lanka’s Constitution: What Our Court Failed To See

By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Prof. S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Sri Lanka’s 1978 constitution kept the existing immoral foremost position for Buddhism and introduced a strong presidency that every government promised to abolish  but once elected, never did. It  allowed the Rajapaksa family – Mahinda, son Namal, brothers Basil and Gotabaya – to  do egregious wrongs. Mahinda had a deal with the separatist Tamil Tigers to prohibit Tamils from voting in the 2005 presidential elections. The then Election Department under a Commissioner failed to declare the low-turn-out elections in Tamil areas void. Mahinda became President. His family held most key offices in 2005-2015.

By civil war’s end in 2009, the UN estimated that 40,000 minority Tamils were disappeared. White vanning disappeared the Sinhalese opposition too. Looting of state coffers and disappearances increased. The tired people turned out the Rajapaksas in the 2015 elections with the help of Tamils and Muslims.

The Constitution was amended through the nineteenth amendment introducing independent Commissions including the 3-person Election Commission, EC, replacing the Election Commissioner. Removal of EC members was made difficult, requiring the same process as removing a Supreme Court Justice. Presidential term limits were restored. It prevented Mahinda contesting. The age limit was increased to 35. It blocked Namal from succeeding Mahinda. Dual citizens could not be President or MP, stopping the two brothers. The new government also agreed at the UNHRC to prosecute soldiers for war crimes. However, because of what the ICJ calls Sri Lanka’s “Crisis of Impunity,” underscored by the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (Chaired by Justice P.N. Bhagwati) withdrawing from observing Sri Lankan human rights trials citing “lack of political will from the Government of Sri Lanka to support a search for the truth,” international participation in war crime prosecutions was agreed to.

However, the new government was weak and riven by rivalry between the President – Maithripala Sirisena, a former Rajapaksa Minister –  and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. It feared taking on Sinhalese communalism as Buddhists targeted Muslims and Christians. Corrupt practices continued.

The Rajapaksas working with the President dissolved Parliament in Oct. 2018 ahead of the 4.5 years when it could not be. The EC by majority decision agreed to hold the illegal elections to a new parliament. My fundamental rights petition, joined by others, was key in getting a unanimous  verdict nullifying dissolution from the full-bench Supreme Court. It was a rare high moment for our judiciary.

Gotabaya was elected President in Nov. 2019 after renouncing his US citizenship. Tamils Districts gave him barely 20% of the vote. President Gotabaya wanted early parliamentary elections despite COVID as the Economy was sinking. Two of us on the EC held that it was dangerous because of COVID  to hold elections on 25 April 2020, Gotabaya’s date. The Supreme Court allowed us to set a new date, 5 Aug. 2020. As the campaign raged, Rajapaksa ministers publicly threatened to remove me once elected. State newspapers created interviews with the EC Chairman that he never gave, saying I should be removed.

The Sinhalese, seeing the Rajapaksas and the Army as saviours for routing the Tigers  despite the carnage of Tamil civilians,  returned the Rajapaksas with nearly 2/3 of the seats. The government withdrew from the UNHRC Resolution promising war crimes prosecutions.  Crossovers ensured the necessary 2/3 to change the constitution, concentrating more powers in the President through the 20th amendment.  Commissions, the Chief Justice, Supreme Court Justices, the Attorney General and others. would be appointed directly by him; no more through compulsory recommendations from a politically neutral Constitutional Council. The Audit Commission and the Procurement Commission were abolished, readying us for looting again.

I went to court gain. There were 38 other Petitions. But by now the 20th amendment was a certainty. The government had 2/3, and 50%+1 at a referendum was easy for a government seen as the saviour of the Sinhalese. It was not surprising that  Court allowed all the proposed changes except removing the president’s duty to create conditions for free and fair elections,  removing the right of citizens to sue the President, giving the President the power to dissolve Parliament after one year, and making it no longer an offence to violate regulations set by the EC. That was tokenism. After saying that EC appointments and to the judiciary could be made directly by the President, it is pointless to argue that we can sue the president for abusive discretion. Few judges will rule against a man who will appoint future judges and determine their own promotion to Chief Justice. He has already made many illegal appointments outside his purview – for example before the 20th amendment the President could not hold a ministry but Gotabaya appointed the defence secretary and ran the ministry.

The apex court’s determination was announced to Parliament on 20 October. With committee-stage amendments purportedly addressing court concerns, the bill was passed on 22 October. There was no time to study the decisions or seek court’s opinion on the amendments. It is the new Sri Lanka.

However, can fundamental rights be removed by the majority, by 2/3 or 2/3 plus a mere 50% +1 vote? The right to life, and the rights of 40,000 executed or disappeared, cannot be derogated by a referendum. Even without the amendment, the EC has been already asked by the army for voters’ lists which we have refused. The next Commission might not be so serious about privacy. Every general refused a US visa for war crimes, is now a high Sri Lankan official. The EC Chairman broke tradition meeting the Prime Minister in his home (instead of in parliament) without the other two.  The President quietly pardoned a soldier convicted of killing a Tamil child.  I can be removed for pressing charges – as I have – against the Minister of Justice for threatening Muslims with a thrashing if they did not vote for Gotabaya. The Attorney General is not moving on EC’s cases on election offences. To cite just one example, a case has been stuck because the AG called for the file from court and has not returned it for a year for the case to proceed. The EC wrote many times  to the AG with no reply. Another example is that even after the 20th amendment, by the Interpretation ordinance, Commissions go on till their original terms end – we on 12 November but others for a year. Government has said we go out of office as soon as the 20th amendment is certified and new members appointed. Unfortunately, few dare to challenge that. These two examples depict the new Sri Lanka.

Laws must be moral, not just approved by the majority. Or the slaves who were lawfully owned would not be free today. No referendum can justify immoral laws.  Hypothetically, say, our Parliament with a 2/3 majority passed a constitutional amendment saying all Tamils and Muslims must be lined up and shot unless they became Sinhalese-Buddhist, and then the people approved this in a national referendum. Would our Supreme Court approve the change? Under our constitution that would be fine. The way the country is changing and the way and the people for whom the Sinhalese are voting, this is very much in the realm of possibility. Certain rights are nonderogable. It is unfortunate that the Supreme Court could not see our existing rights to an independent Election Commission and judiciary in this light. There is nothing now, with these bodies being expanded, to stop stooges from being appointed to the EC or the Supreme Court. We will then have an even greater deterioration of our badly flawed constitution.

The world should not save a government through loans to tide over debts when it reneges on its UNHRC commitment after murdering its own citizens. The world must not help kill an old democracy.

*The author is on the Election Commission of Sri Lanka. Among his books is Ethics for Professionals: A Human Rights, Internationalist Perspective,  Cognella, San  Diego, CA, 2019.

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Latest comments

  • 15
    6

    Covid virus did not originate from China, but from Rajapakshe families. Let the mahanayakes and 69 lakhs of voters find a cure.

    • 13
      5

      Dear Prof. Hoole,

      World is today well aware of the JUSTICE system prevailing our country.

      So how can we expect SUPREME court to be fair ? Now with Ranjan Ramanayaka who revealed the inside ground realities of the srilanken judges and their judgements in general, being shortly before him being thrown into jail, but in the same time, murderers … convicted murderers but close allies of the incumbent president, make every hopes to come out of the jail…. this MIRACLE of asia.
      :
      Hiru TV Owners brother; Duminda SILVA will be released in the weeks to come, pleasing the TV channel owners hopes…. but very same SO CALLED powerful people’s hero ( or better said, HERO of the modayas) have failed sofar not being able to achieve even what POLONNARUWA Gamarala succeeded within previous govt s first 100 days….. With this being the ground reality, but THOSE backlickers of the incumbent govt, with their faces being lost, nevertheless move forward though scratcing ears and others parts. …. this is shameless acts of those srilankens. This is rock-bottom.

      • 2
        5

        leelagemalli,
        Ranjan Ramanayake’s recordings showed how ‘Yahapalana’ Government turned into ‘Jadapalana’ Government by intimidating judges.

        • 6
          0

          Eagle [edited out],
          .
          To me and other men who had some sanity, YAHAPALANYA introduced whole lot of good things than the bad… but for the last year since CRIMINALS are back to power, we only heard – the worst of worst… come with constructive arguments if you would want to stand against our thoughts, [edited out] MEDAMULANA cave will ruin the country, making it another Greece in Indian ozean.
          :
          Just question, as to why [edited out] stoped that city rail tram system, even if the interest low loans were offered by JICA ? The most acceptable reasons is that would not overflow the pockets of Rajakashes and their henchmen, apart from that the CHINESE would not be happy, if Rajapakshe s slavery – aka SRILANKA would put JAPANESE above the Chinese.
          You the kind of [edited out] would not get it, but even 10 year olds would not take long to grasp it.
          .
          If YAHAPALANYA continued under RW but stoning down Gamarala and MaRa TO THE MANNER Saudi arabian laws worked on criminals, we would have gone that far – saving and developing this land. To me, looking back RW and CBK are the good leaders that could balance the world and develop this country, but in the same time, VARIOUS extremists forces and cultural forces wihtin the country would never allow any GOOD souls to do their job.

          • 3
            0

            EE, ultra racist of our donkey race !

            If YAHAPALANYA continued under RW but stoning down Gamarala and MaRa TO THE MANNER Saudi arabian laws worked on criminals, we would have gone that far – saving and developing this land. To me, looking back RW and CBK are the good leaders that could balance the world and develop this country, but in the same time, VARIOUS extremists forces and cultural forces wihtin the country would never allow any GOOD souls to do their job.

    • 1
      6

      Ad,
      “Covid virus did not originate from China, but from Rajapakshe families.”

      At the moment there are 14 dumbos who like what you say and believe your stupid statement.

    • 2
      5

      it originated from your butt with your anti rajapaksa comments hehehe

  • 11
    32

    ok boss, resign from the Election commission and join this Morality Commission. We have had enough drama from you and your daughter.

    • 7
      3

      Just come off it, anonymous a14455. Professor Hoole has been a “failure” it is true, but he has made noble efforts to stop blatant cheating. Why do you want to keep playing politics?
      .
      Hasn’t he told you that he, and the other two who are members of the current Elections Commission, will cease to function in ten days’ time – on the 12th of November 2020? It is a catastrophe for us, the people of Sri Lanka.
      .
      What have you got against his daughter? Have you read this?
      .
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/elilini-hoole-defamation-by-several-news-outlets/
      .
      The facts are all there. Elilini had quarantined at a huge cost. Rs 175,000/=, and a certificate was obtained. You will find that I have said in comments even there that taking her to the elections office in Rajagiriya was “unwise”. Please try to be fair by these people. There was more written, and more comments by me:
      .
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/hooles-car-searched-at-every-checkpoint-pro-gota-newspaper-makes-false-claims-about-daughters-quarantine/

      .
      I shall add this. At the time I made those comments, I had not met Elilini. I have, subsequently. These are decent unassuming people with whom you can get on.
      .
      I can tell you more, if it will help clear your mind.
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe aka “Sinhala_Man”

      • 5
        1

        Dear S-M
        Hope you are well
        Well said. Panini. I can not understand why these guys are hell bend on attacking the very people who are fighting to main some sort of semblance in these challenging and hard times in SL. Bad enough the Covid 19 why add fire to the fuel. If a1 …. is serious about his remarks he/she should, I feel take off his shield or his/her mask. That would be the manly think to do
        I must state here neither do I know the Prof or any of his family members

      • 0
        1

        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

        • 3
          0

          Dear DIMWIT a14455 / November 3, 2020

          Thanks making it short. You finally got it… get well soon !

    • 7
      3

      a14455

      As the new b***s carrier to Mahinda Family is it true Basil the master crook is going to be sworn in as an MP and then as the Chief crook in charge of Finances and later as the prime minister due to rapid deterioration of mother/father/grandfather/ grandmother … of all crooks?

    • 3
      0

      This is an uncalled for nasty personal comment.

    • 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

    • 5
      3

      a14455 / November 2, 2020-

      What an idiot you should be, if this Gentleman was not there as one of the powerful members of the EC, medamulana rascals held the elections already in end of APRIL. They did not care much about the containment of the virus within the country but focused only on grabbing power, ….. focusing lot more you the kind of moadayas across the country.
      :
      Today, this is more than clear to the very same voters whose universal franchise brought the racals back to power. Now those voters are speechless… and struggle for their 3 meals.. not a single pledge made to them are fulfilled even if it is now a year gone since ballige puthas elected to the office.
      :
      Even if our dogs lived in the US, – one of the civilized countries of the world today,… they would have learnt it better, but SINHALAYAs of your nature, as asylum seekers up there seem to have learned nothing… Get well soon ! Best would be contact your brother,.. who is said to be medical graduate and try to learn the facts ABOUT the ground realities of current day srilanka under CFRIMINAL Rajakshes.

  • 10
    5

    Dear Prof. Hoole
    “The world must not help kill an old democracy.” This last line is very poignant, in that it touches the raw nerves of readers
    Yes the country is bankrupt; this is no news and all and sundry are aware of this fact. There is no funds even to service the loans, mainly brokered by China. Even the expatriates’ remittances mainly from the Middle East has all but dried out. The poor housemaids in those man dominated countries still manage contribute something to the exchequer. But this not sufficient to balance the trade deficit .
    SOEs in SL is a big drain to the country’s economy
    The anticipation of obtaining a loan from the US, I believe is somewhat tied to the signing of the
    maritime security pact with the US. As we all know there is so much opposition to to the signing of the treaty. One gathers that Saffron brigade and Weeravamsa are in the forefront

    “Money is the root cause of all evil”, here one refers to the Mighty Dollar. Uncle Sam
    SriLanka badly needs investments in development projects. But Condition must be made favourable for any investor, be it , individuals, institutions,. multi nationals or foreign nations

    • 3
      2

      “There is no funds even to service the loans, mainly brokered by China.”
      *
      RN, do you have any idea of what the loans that need servicing are and who the lenders are?
      *
      Kindly check the facts before declaring to the effect that this country is choked by Chinese loans.
      The largest part of the country’s foreign loan portfolio is today in dollar-denominated international sovereign bonds, estimated to be nearly 50% of the total debt. (http://www.ft.lk/dinesh-weerakkody/Sri-Lanka-s-debt-ridden-independence/5-672066)
      *
      Any borrowing for purpose other than economic development is bad. But private lenders are very dangerous. It started in a big way when the government was strapped for cash during the war.

      • 2
        0

        SJ
        My facts are cast in stone. You don’t loose sleep over it. I know its too much to ask from you. The last think any one needs lecture from you on finance is yourself. Please try some else of your calibre to mess around. Please, I suggest do not waste any of CT readers time
        Have a nice day

  • 11
    4

    ” Hypothetically, say, our Parliament with a 2/3 majority passed a constitutional amendment saying all Tamils and Muslims must be lined up and shot….”
    ================================
    Prof. S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole – in which planet ate you living?

    1. Ths racist Sinhala politicians don’t need constitutional amendment to incite racial violence against the minorities. This being happening since independence.

    2. if they are short of 2/3rd majority Tamil MPs likes of Arvind Kumar, Anjagan Ramanathan, Pilayan etc and the Muslim MPs will vote for it in return they are not only spared but richly rewarded as well.

    • 2
      5

      Rajash,
      Tamils try to convey the message that it was Sinhala politicians who incited racial violence against Tamils in Sri Lanka after Independence. Sinhalayo were not that stupid to attack or kill Demalu for fun. Before 1958, there were many Tamils living and working in Sinhala areas without facing any problem. In 1958, Tamil thugs incited by Vellala politicians attacked Sinhlayo in Yapanaya forcing Sinhalayo to flee from Yapanaya.
      The truth is it was racist Vellala Tamil politicians who promoted ‘Sinhalaphobia’ among Demala people and incited violence against Sinhalayo. All ethnic conflicts after Independence were started by Malabar Vellala Tamils. Nobody can deny that.

      “Ths racist Sinhala politicians don’t need constitutional amendment to incite racial violence against the minorities.”

      • 2
        1

        Eagle Eye you certainly don’t need any encouragement, never mind constitutional guarantee, to pedal lies after lies after lies here in CT.
        None of your post are worth reading and every one here discount it.

      • 2
        1

        EE,
        demented man who may have lived his life, but with few more years to go, still being rotten in ultra racism…. you the kin dof men are the cancer to sinhala nation…. i know it very well, not almsot everyone would support Rajapakshe rascals… keeping them above altar…. however thes born stupid, that would not care much about anything woudl do….

        If you are honest to you – it was sinhala extremists did it not the tamils. In the same manner, sinhala extremists did lot more harm to JVPrs as well. This is also no difference in terms of Muslims and srilanken burghers. I am born to sinahala race but I would not stay silent further, if our bitch sons would continue lying the minorities on and on.
        :
        Even today, your hero men just abuse TAMIL and MUSLIM politicians for their political surivival… this was not different at the very begining of such disputes, when you would please look back.
        :
        In contrary to what you or the like RACISTS have all along been saying, truths lie aside…. anyways, PACHAWAHINIS in place the propaganda would work only to spread lies and keep the STUPID as their supporters. ..

  • 15
    2

    Referring to the subject, may be better we first look into “Morality In Sri Lanka” itself, before moving on to the Constitution. To the vast majority, morality is an unknown or pliable concept. The new thinking is amass money or power by any means, and you can get away with anything. When Vasu Weerawansa Gammanpila Wijedasa Vidura and Gevindu expressed strong reservations on the Dual Citizenship issue, and then accepted it whimpering that it was agreed that it will not be in the New Constitution within a year, where is the morality in that. So it is ok for a year, but not after that! In the new age of Relativity Theory, that is called relative morality.
    So can we expect moral considerations in Constitution making in “Sri” Lanka. Unlikely. It is an insult to word SRI which denotes purity.

    • 8
      1

      My view,

      Morality would not be a definition to them at all even if their lovely ones would have been gunned down on the broad day light.. I wonder how could we further continue calling srilankens as ” predominantly buddhists” – as I know it from Californian and european buddhist centres, buddhism is the most tolerant religion (though it is actually a philosphy) -however srilankens are regulated by jathaka stories of the buddhism, while civilized world focus its meditation and abhidharamya part. That distinquishes a lot.

  • 12
    1

    When it appears that the Judges in most of the courts do not act morally, how can the Judicial System be moral? President appointed a MP who told the Muslim Community “if you do not support Gotabaya, you will get AMBANDA”, as Minister of Justice alone raises the question of morality of the President. We have a PM who is said to have been saved by a former Chief Justice (in his own words) who had to go to prison and in return this former Chief Justice gets an ambassador post. When Yahapalana Govt was in power, the cases filed against MPs with evidence supported by AG, have taken a different turn the same AG files defective statements when Govt changed and the accused have been sent free. Where is morality in Sri Lankan Judiciary?

    • 1
      0

      Thanks, Buddhist1.
      .
      I may not have made a point of stating this earlier.
      .
      I don’t know who you are, but you do a world of good by giving us your sincere views. Your comments are always sound, constructive and generous.

      • 2
        1

        Dear SM,
        .
        I am t in full agreement with you.

        Buddhist 01 is unbiased and honest…The kind of srilanken citizens are the assets fo this country. I love his comments on and on..

        • 3
          0

          Dear LM (leelagemalli)
          I concur with you on this matter and many other issues
          Will add more later. God bless you all peace loving souls
          This goes to our Buddhist1. and SM. Thank the lord ,we need unbiased and fair minded people like you all
          Ratnam Nadarajah

          • 2
            0

            RN,
            .
            thank you. We fight for our srilankenness than being stuck to any races or religions. I was born to a SO CALLED sinhala buddhist family, but my thoughts and minds were unique to a small group of sinhalese that always tolerate the thoughts and minds of the others. This nature was generated in me, from my childhoold on. I wish I could see lot more senior srilanken citizens of Sinhala Man nature would come forward to shine a voice against the current day racial politics of the island nation.

            Look as the performance of incumbent minister of Justice reacts today. He is the most known traitor to their muslim communities in the country. Nevertheless. there seems to be nothing coming against him yet today. I think minorities should see it right let alone today, i mean fighting more for their rights. If anyone born to lanken soils, should be entitled to be able to fight for their own rights.
            :
            To tell you, our srilanken in general would stand against not only their minorities but also their own people. There are whole lot of examples if you would please google on it… look at what Muruthettuwe CHewaradariya has been uttering today ?

            • 2
              0

              Dear LM
              I appreciate your time
              Our families have lived and still living among Sinhalese people for many generations in the hill country Nuweraelia. Growing in Up country never blossomed hatred for our fellow countrymen. It was not in our blood
              We have Sinhalese blood relations . In trouble times its the Sinhalese friends who gave us protection. We have no axe to grind.
              Yes we know of noble Sinhalese friends whom we could trust with our life
              Yes these petty minded souls from all spectrum have only hatred in their blood in them. Little realising that hatred alone will speed up their journey to the grave
              Thank you for your candidness . God bless
              R N
              PS
              I used to write articles in CT, but stopped for the past year or two due to silly and little minded jokers wasting CT readers with stupid comments.
              Will write in the near future, These fellows can not stop my freedom of expression. They say “you can not win ignorance “.. Let them live and die in peace
              Ignorance is Bliss

          • 1
            0

            See RN,
            how beautiful if people would only focus on srilankenness rather than … race based cultures..
            .
            So vibrant..
            .
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ef0P_-tcX2k

            I hope not only YOUTUBES .. but in real world them becoming closer… leaving all aside .. to see that is my dream… I really do.

      • 2
        1

        Sinhala Man, Thank you. I truly appreciate your comment.

    • 3
      0

      My Dear Buddhist 01.
      Srilanken justice system and the reactions judges and lawyers are clear to the masses of this country – the best example is given by minsiter of JUSTICE of incumbent govt. :::: by name he is ALI SABRY….. who is this man ?
      :
      let s look at incumbent minister of Justice – who was then the defending lawyer of Gotbaya – for the last 4.5 years… even for high crimes including that WASIM THADJUDEEN killing by Rajapakshe family – .. wasim thadjudeen was a most known rugherite- in the age group of Rajakshe bastard sons…. to their lawyers incl. Ali sabry, his death occured by an accident, even if all the evidence revealed thaht to be a killing akin to that of Jamal Khashoggi….. the satakaya worn by Rajaakshes are soaked with blood… that is a known fact.
      :
      One behind the other, ALI SABRY defended GOTABAYA…. whose profile was public secret to the many in the bananna republic. It was the most known synonyme for ” murder”. Gotabaya = Murder… not just one single high crime, but a plethora of crimes were reported by local and international journalists incl. thefts on MIG flight purchase, AVANTGARDE and various others….
      :
      Who killed LASANTHA WIKRAMATUNGA – FORMER editor of the sunday leader…

      • 3
        0

        Leelagemalli,

        Sabry whom I like to call “Ambanda Sabry” is changing his policies faster than G L Pieris. When he was campaigning he came on TV and at meetings he said Muslims should be allowed to be buried if they die of Covid. He has now changed his mind. See what happens to “Money Politicians” when they are slaves of a single person or family.

        “Allah looks not at your figures, nor at your possessions but he looks at your hearts and deeds”.
        – Prophet Muhammad

  • 7
    6

    The writer has shot himself in the foot by saying “Presidential term limits were restored. It prevented Mahinda contesting. The age limit was increased to 35. It blocked Namal from succeeding Mahinda.”
    The first move is justifiable as it concerned someone serving more than two terms as intended the 1978 Constitution.
    The other two sound vindictive rather than based on sound political principle.
    If that was the purpose of the 19th Amendment, its nullification is all the more valid.
    *
    In fairness to the authors of 19A, thankfully, the writer was not part of the drafting team (I hope!). They need to give sound reasons rather than petty personal considerations.

    • 2
      0

      SJ@
      “They need to give sound reasons rather than petty personal considerations.”
      Except for the Constitution that was in place till 1972 (even this was somewhat partisan) both subsequent Constitutions and any Amendments, have been very much based on personal considerations.
      It is unlikely that in the foreseeable future, a real plural nationalist, Sri Lankan identity based Constitution will be in place.
      Instead of agreeing to share the cake, everyone is trying to grab a piece quickly.
      Weep for me, Sr Lanka.

      • 2
        0

        MV
        I dealt with explanations given by the writer for certain clauses of 19A.
        If they are the bases for the clauses concerned, they are bad in both law and morality (apparently the theme of the essay).
        *
        I do not think that any constitution or amendment was drafted so daftly as to open itself to the charge that it targetted someone. Here we have an advocate of 19A claiming that it was designed for such purpose.
        Had anything like this been uttered before 20A, it would have been a trump card for its authors.

  • 6
    1

    Error
    I missed pasting
    “Dual citizens could not be President or MP, stopping the two brothers.”
    after “It blocked Namal from succeeding Mahinda.”

  • 2
    2

    Dear Prof. Hoole, you are talking about a national matter (not a regional northern province matter). Leave all national matters to masters of SL. They always make these decisions regardless. Just like India where Hindis make all national decisions. In Malaysia Malays make all national decisions. Just pointing out to the elephant in the room.

    • 4
      1

      G
      If your advice to the author is on what he is entitled to talk about, you yourself should refrain from commenting on any national political issue.
      You are surrendering to fascisn even before it has seized power and want others to follow suit.

      • 1
        3

        Please leave national issues to national leaders! Period.

        • 4
          0

          G
          Facism is still not here, so your command can wait.
          Do not jump the gun!

  • 4
    2

    There were courts under the LTTE rule too. Were they learned and independent ?

    Would it have been better for the Tamils of the North had Prabakaran and after him his son, ruled the North ?

    • 1
      0

      Learned or not, they delivered justice efficiently in civil matters I understand. It was something that quite a few Sinhalese commented favourably on at the time.
      Why should one object to an elected military man and his kith and kin ruling one community if they are willing to tolerate it for the whole country?

  • 1
    1

    The author is of some standing and a learned individual. This article reduces his image to that of a cry baby. True independence of institutions is achieved through manning them with independent minds. Constitutional guarantees only support that and is ineffective if the holders of respective offices sell the independence. When the Prime Minister of then Ceylon wanted passports not to be issued to certain persons, the then Controller of Immigration and Emigration refused the request and advised the PM to change the law if he wanted to have his way, resulting in the Citizenship Act. Was the position of C/I & E deemed independent under the then Soulbury Constitution? NO. He had the grit and the guts to call a spade a spade and that gave him the independence. Phone recordings reveal that a lady judge is seeking promotions from a politician after a verdict pleasing the politician is delivered in a romantic voice. That is in spite of the fact that 19A was operative at that time, which the author is full of praise. Is the judge independent? OH! NO! NO! NO! Then where do constitutional guarantees come in? They go to the cesspool.

    • 3
      0

      Just to clear a confusion.
      The CI & E refused the request and advised the PM to change the law if he wanted to have his way, resulting in the Citizenship Act.
      So the Law was on his side till 1950 when the Act was passed.
      Hence the C/I & E was deemed independent under the then Soulbury Constitution.
      But since 1950 we have seen the gradual erosion of the independence of public servants, made real by 1972 constitution and made worse by 1978 and finally fully gone by 20A.

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    “By civil war’s end in 2009,”
    “Rajapaksas and the Army as saviours for routing the Tigers despite the carnage of Tamil civilians”

    Is Hoole deliberately sending a wrong message by using the term ‘Civil War’?
    There was no civil war in Sri Lanka. There was a terrorist campaign launched by the descendants of Dravidians (Tamils) brought to Sinhale by Portuguese to work in their tobacco plantations in order to grab a part of the Land of Sinhalayo and Vedda Eththo to establish a separate State using a bogus claim ‘Traditional Homeland’. There was no Sinhala civilians killing Tamil civilians or Tamil civilians killing Sinhala civilians.
    The Government launched a military operation to eradicate Tamil terrorists and they did that. There was no carnage of Tamil civilians by the Armed Forces but there was a carnage of Tamil civilians by Tamil terrorist who shot civilians trying to escape from the human shield to protect Prabhakaran. Sri Lanka Armed Forces liberated about 300,000 Tamil civilians kept as a human shield by Tamil terrorists.

    “murdering its own citizens”
    BS!

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    I believe SJ is the vindictive Sivasegaram. My apologies if he is not. He was predictably a programmed, nonobjective critic of Prof. Hoole. For some time, he has not criticized Prof. Hoole and I assumed that SJ had reformed.

    But no. Here he is saying that raising the age limit for keeping out Namal and denying dual citizens the opportunity to contest for president is vindictive rather than based on sound political principle.
    He adds that the authors of the nineteenth amendment need to give sound reasons rather than petty personal considerations.

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      JU
      Just stick to the merits of the argument.
      The criticism was that the explanations for certain clauses of 19A weaken 19A.
      Nothing was said about the author or his intentions. .
      Read the author’s text carefully and then the response in context; and then pounce on anything you like.

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        JU
        I do not indulge in character assassination or abusive personal comments or for that matter in idol worship.
        Please do not get personal. It is cheap and ugly.
        Respond to arguments after understanding them, and prove me wrong if you can; and I will heartily thank you.

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