21 September, 2019

Blog

Perplexity Regarding The Delay In Provincial Council Elections 

By Rusiripala Tennakoon –

Rusiripala Tennakoon

Who Is At Fault? 

When an Act is passed by Parliament it becomes Law. Everyone has to abide by it. The Parliament of Sri Lanka passed the PROVINCIAL COUNCILS ELECTIONS (AMENDMENT)ACT, NO 17 of 2017, which was certified on 22nd September, 2017. This was an amendment to the original Provincial Councils Elections Act No.2 of 1988. This Act was passed by the Parliament following a constitutional amendment  as published in the gazette in October 1987, which came to be known as the Thirteenth Amendment of the Constitution. Thirteenth Amendment came to be in force from 14th November 1987. The main objective of this amendment was to establish Provincial Councils as a means of decentralizing the Provincial Administration. Simultaneously, The PROVINCIAL Councils act no.42 of 1987 was passed in the Parliament in November and this Act was certified on 14th November 1987.

The Objective and the Title states that this Act comes into operation in respect of all or any of its provisions, on such dates as the President may appoint, by Order published in the Gazette, not being a date or dates prior to the coming into operation of the Thirteenth Amendment  to the Constitution. Act No.2 of 1988 was passed in Parliament and certified on 27th January 1988 to deal with the holding of elections to the newly constituted Provincial Councils.

Section 127 of the Provincial Councils Elections Act no.2 of 1988 provides for the Powers of the Commissioner of Elections under this Act.

Under the Title REMOVAL OF DIFFICULTIES it  it is stated as follows;

127 If any difficulty arises in first giving effect to any of the provisions of this Act. The Commissioner may, by order published in the gazette, issue all such directions as he may deem necessary with a view to providing for any special or unforeseen circumstances or to determining or adjusting any question or matter for the determination or adjustment of which no provision or elective provision is made by this Act.  

In this background  let us now examine in detail the proposed amendment to this Act in 2017 which has caused the current imbroglio;

Provincial councils elections Amendment Act no 17 of 2017

A new section to the existing Act no 2 of1988 was inserted as section 3A to the principal enactment, with the following provisions,viz.

1. A delimitation commission to be appointed by the President within two weeks of the commencement of the Act(ie.22/9/2017)

2. The committee shall within 4 months of its appointment submit its report to the Minister

3. The Minister shall within two weeks of the receipt of such report, table it in parliament for its approval by not less than two thirds of the whole number of MPs

4. In the event the Parliament does not approve such report within one month of the tabling of the report, then the speaker shall appoint a review committee consisting of 5 persons headed by the Prime Minister.

5. The review committee shall within 2 months of the Minister having referred the report for it’s consideration and thereafter submit its report to President.

6 After receipt of that report the President shall by proclamation forthwith publish the new number of electorates, boundaries, names assigned to each electorate so created on the report of the Review committee.

The SC, as reported in the Daily FT of 3rd September 2019  says “elections cannot be held without delimitation report”. The news further states that the report demarcating the provincial boundaries submitted by the committee has been defeated by the Parliament. Then the matter was referred to a committee of five members headed by the Prime Minister. However due to the matter being delayed by the committee the President sought the opinion of the SC whether the Provincial Council elections could be held under the old system. President, as reported in the media, also sought the SC’s opinion on whether the polls could be conducted using the defeated delimitation report or the previous Act which existed before being amended in 2017.

The five member bench of the SC has communicated its opinion to the President stating that the elections cannot be held under the new Act as well as under the Old Act.

The net result is that the citizens of the country are denied the opportunity of electing their representatives to a body created under the Constitution. It amounts to the denial of the fundamental right of each and every citizen entitled to exercise the universal franchise.

There are several questions that arise.

1. Why the Commissioner of elections did not seek a clarification on the issue before. At least after two three months delay by the Prime Ministerial Committee to submit its report to the President in accordance with the Act?

2. Why didn’t the President seek the Opinion earlier ?

3. What is the cause of the delay for the Committee headed by the PM to submit its report to the President?

4. Why was the parliament silent on this matter?

5. Why did the parties clamoring for decentralization of power keep mum?

6. Who is to be held responsible for this violation of the constitution?

7. Can any citizen seek redress under the rights guaranteed to citizens under the constitution?

Are we all disillusioned by the proponents of democracy? Let us conclude this impasse by quoting some relevant scripts.

“Democracy itself is prone to focus group pressures as political parties maneuver to get elected, pending to what they think are the popular priorities. WE look in vain most of the time for a political leader who is prepared to state upfront what his vision is for the society, one that goes beyond cozy platitudes about prosperity and fairness. None of them want to offer hostages to fortune in case they might have to deliver or ,worse, fail to win the power to deliver. So they twist and tweak, get distracted by their little local difficulties; complain of unknown unknowns and the impossibility of pleasing everyone. Survival and not progress is what most settle for in the end, to get elected, or re-elected. When we ask why we should vote for them, they reply with a list of programs  and policies but shy away from the main issues: to what aim? To build what sort of society?

If we cannot ever say to ourselves, “enough is enough” we will never be free to explore other possibilities. All political careers end in failure, unless one leaves before the end calling it enough.

Different is more fruitful than more of the same.!

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Latest comments

  • 6
    1

    Roosiri pala.

    You want UNP to lose the Provincial council elections.
    It was pathetic to see you on Satana.

    • 0
      2

      My Dear Sandra
      I have not participated in the Satana program for many years
      You may have mistakenly seen some one else who looked pathetic
      Rusiri and not Roosiri

      • 2
        0

        R.T. – Don’t get offended, I call Medamulana Meeharaka Percy Mahendra Rajapakse as “RajaFUCKsha”.

    • 1
      1

      Same on Sirasa too

      • 3
        1

        Thanks Mr. Rusiripala:
        PCs rejected the MCC land grab project that was presented in the guise of the Development (Special Provisions) Bill in 2016 also to set up 2 Super Ministries whereby MCC could bi pass Provincial Councils authority. This is the reason for the elections delay and debilitation of Provincial Council (PC) , as well as, other local and national governance institutions, and why PCs are important: . Previously, when US citizen Basil Rajapassa was towing the MCC line and the Jarapassa regime was negotiating with MCC as Palitha Kohone revealed at the MCC Pathfinder Foundation discussion, there was the Divineguma Bill for so called poverty alliviation that the MCC claims to do that met a similar fate, rejection by PCs, and this led to and resulted in the impeachment of Sri Lanka’s first woman Chief Justice.
        TNA and SLMC are cats paws for the US project to set up military bases with MCC and SOFA so they will not protest about PCs and this is why the PCs have been debilitated for opposing the setting up of 2 superministries for MCC to by pass local and provincial government powers particularly land powers so US can landgrab for its bases Please see link below
        http://www.dailymirror.lk/article/Why-did-PCs-reject-the-Development-Bill–121425.html

        • 1
          2

          Mr Kalupahana
          Sounds very sensible
          All this is due to the non acceptance of our systems by the neo- liberal subordinatesRT

          • 2
            0

            Mr. Rushiripala: the systematic debilitation of many national institutions and over-sight systems and mechanisms,started with the CBSL bondscam, and is evident in the undermining of the Customs, immigration and emigration Dept. the National Survey Department whose functions were contracted to a Trimble and Company, USA, for map land for MCC’s land bank project, over the last 4 years of so-called Yahapalanaya government, as MCC has been crafting all Ranil’s economic Development policies to debilitate oversight systems, structures and institutions – particularly in the MCC and SOFA targeted sectors of Land, Transport, Energy Security, and Big Data access.
            Recall how Customs Director, Madam Sarojini Charles, was victimized by Mangala Samarawickrama, and only re-instated after protests by civil society and customs officers, and that was before the really rotten garbage containers and mattresses from the British Owned Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), and the US military bass Diego Garcia on the Chagos Islands (which the ICJ in the Hague ruled is illegal under international law), started arriving in the country.

      • 0
        2

        Thank you Mr Gamage
        Lot of others too have told like that
        They have the right to switch off without wasting time
        RT

      • 0
        0

        Mr Pillai
        The current dilemma is even the temporary fix is now gone!
        RT

  • 6
    2

    Srilanken MUGABE Mahinda Jarapakshe should follow.
    If srilanken mugabe would die, then the start for peace and reconciliation boom in this country.
    People lknow it very very all recent anti muslim violations were generated by [edited out] Rajakshe et al. If his sons were killed in that riots, he would have sent the messsage different. Or his murderous wife got killed, things would have been different. But Rajakshe is not careing in eough towards minoriy srilankens.

    ———————————————————————————————————

    Robert Mugabe, the first prime minister and later president of independent Zimbabwe, who traded the mantle of liberator for the armor of a tyrant and presided over the decline of one of Africa’s most prosperous lands, died on Friday. He was 95.

    The death was announced by his successor, President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

    “It is with the utmost sadness that I announce the passing on of Zimbabwe’s founding father and former President, Cde Robert Mugabe,” he wrote on Twitter on Friday, using the abbreviation for comrade. “Mugabe was an icon of liberation, a pan-Africanist who dedicated his life to the emancipation and empowerment of his people. His contribution to the history of our nation and continent will never be forgotten.”

    In August, Mr. Mnangagwa had said that Mr. Mugabe had spent several months in Singapore getting treatment for an undisclosed illness.

    Mr. Mugabe, the world’s oldest head of state before his ouster in 2017, was the only leader Zimbabweans had known since independence, in 1980. Like many who liberated their countries, Mr. Mugabe believed that Zimbabwe was his to govern until the end. In a speech before the African Union in 2016, he said he would remain at the helm “until God says, ‘Come.’”

  • 0
    0

    This shows, as they say that “The law is an ass”.
    Parliament must act, to change the relevant law.
    The relevant minister must table a motion in parliament to “change the law” with assistance from the legal draughtsman, urgently.

    But, MPs are busy with the pending presidential election.
    Will the speaker take up the matter, with the leader of the house.
    But, the speaker too is/maybe a presidential candidate.
    But, this should not deter him.

  • 1
    0

    I fail to understand why Commissioner of elections Gazette the delimitation committee report and hold elections using the power vested with him under section 127.
    Is election Commissioner is also with politicians I wonder

  • 2
    0

    Rusiripala, If you do not know by now let me enlighten you with this statement. “Lankan constitution is not even worth the paper it is printed”. I am sorry to see you perplexed but were you feeling the same when MS staged a constitutional coupe or when Rajapaksas were raping the constitution through out their rule. Pardon my ignorance , I do not remember you raising any concerns during those time. If you did not raise then and if you are now, that alone indicates some part of the constitution is still intact (freedom to speak or write ) The concerns you raise now gives us the impression as though Lanka has been following the constitution and parliament orders , up to now. So lets not kid around with constitutional BS. Lanka seems to have more of experts than the constitution it self.

  • 3
    0

    Just before independence, our leaders let loose the ‘Us&Them’ syndrome. Here ‘Us’ was the Sinhala speakers and ‘Them’ was Tamil speakers. The language-divide led to deterioration in Law & Order and our failing economy.
    The concept of Provincial Councils was one of the temporary fix.
    Will the core issue ever get addressed?

    • 1
      0

      Mr Pillai
      The current dilemma is even the temporary fix is now gone!
      RT

  • 1
    0

    Rusiri, here is something more for you. For years I was perplexed seeing more criminals including murderers, rapist, robbers, mafia ,drug peddlers inside the Parliament than outside. The ones who could not get into Parliament are finding ways into PC,PS and other branches of government. Last week one SLPP PS member was charged with a murder which took place recently in Grandpass, where one group of Mafia murdered another in retaliation. My longstanding confusion got cleared few days ago when I learned GR is nominated as presidential candidate so that he will get immunity from alleged crimes. . That is when it dawned on me that elections in Lanka are for criminals , to get “free passes out of jail.” No wonder “the house is always full”.

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